Woo-hoo, UK ahead of Europe in this at least – enterprise IT automation

But plenty of tech folk wish management would just leave them alone

IBM's Red Hat has some good news for UK businesses, with a survey putting Blighty's businesses ahead of competitors in Germany, France, and Spain when it comes to enterprise-wide IT automation.

The poll, which quizzed 1,200 IT leaders in large enterprises across the four countries, found that just over a quarter – 27 percent – of UK big businesses reckoned they had already achieved enterprise-wide IT automation. This compares favorably to 18 percent in Germany, 16 percent in Spain and 12 percent in France.

Interestingly, a third – 33 percent – of UK IT leaders in the survey reckoned that without enterprise-wide IT automation, adoption of developing technologies such as generative AI would not be possible. And 36 percent of respondents opined that the top benefit of automating things was to free up the business for more creative thinking.

Unsurprisingly, the IT teams at the sharp end of automation were less than keen to adopt new processes. The vast majority of IT managers in the survey – 92 percent – said their teams would be or were reluctant to embrace change. As for the reason why, almost half – 45 percent – simply didn't have the time. A further 40 percent felt overwhelmed by it all.

And – reassuringly for BOFH fans – 39 percent would simply much rather do their own thing without being told what processes or technology to use.

However, with budget cuts, demands for productivity improvements, and other factors – such as the need for compliance with government regulations – there is a certain inevitability to automation. Naturally, Red Hat has just the thing in the form of Ansible.

Richard Henshall, director of product management for Ansible, Red Hat, explained: "Enterprises today are asking where they can find the right people, how they can upskill them, and how they can motivate wider teams to embrace change. Automation should be a collaborative and agile movement; people need to be enabled and motivated from the start and continuously engaged."

The survey results unsurprisingly support that. According to respondents, 31 percent highlighted the importance of ensuring teams are trained and have the skills to manage change, while 29 percent noted the importance of involving teams in the process and ensuring their voices could be heard.

While Red Hat is keen that enterprises look to Ansible, there are plenty of alternatives for enterprises eager to automate IT processes. Puppet and Chef spring to mind, as does HashiCorp's Terraform. Much depends on the type of automation being sought.

While the UK might enjoy a lead over its neighbors in the field of enterprise-wide IT automation, the survey also offered a clue for a different motive: 27 percent of business leaders in the country said that a lack of talent was their biggest business challenge. ®

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