automationIn the early days of the digital revolution, corporate IT teams traditionally served as the guardians of technology in their companies, while business operations professionals focused on delivering products and services to customers. But this division of labor within organizations began changing as consumers became more tech-savvy.

As people began using digital tools, the trend spilled over into the operations side of companies, with employees fueling the BYOD (bring your own device) phenomenon and demanding self-service options to manage technical assets at work.

At roughly the same time, companies began to realize the value in the huge amounts of data they were creating and storing. The demand grew for resources to manage data and mine it for business insights, and companies expanded their computing power with the cloud.

Meanwhile, IT budgets remained flat or were even reduced, according to a Gartner survey. This stretched IT resources to the breaking point, as technology leaders struggled to do more with less. Virtualization technologies have been the go-to solution to this dilemma, enabling organizations to increase availability while holding the line on costs.

Virtualization assets like VMware deliver incredible benefits to organizations of all sizes. But the widespread use of virtualization also means companies must contend with integration and find new ways to ensure that the native automation capabilities on these platforms integrate with existing business processes. The need for integration across legacy systems and new business apps skyrocketed without a corresponding increase in IT resources. As a result, IT personnel soon found much of their time consumed by memorizing syntax and writing and maintaining code to keep a patchwork of complex systems working together to support business goals.

The nature of code development creates silos by keeping development and operations functions separate. But just as the lines between IT and business operations blurred, the line between development and operations is now also being blurred. Thanks to increasingly intelligent business tools, we’re seeing code-free solutions that feature visual steps to development that anyone can understand.

With intelligent, intuitive automation, companies can now merge development and operations roles by eliminating the need to write code. By using a solution that allows developers to reuse automation assets to streamline tasks, companies can eliminate silos by putting development in the hands of operations professionals, freeing IT resources to focus on more strategic tasks.

A desire for greater efficiency fueled the move toward the cloud, and virtualization is exerting gravity that pulls businesses toward greater levels of automation, both to speed up development and processing and to reduce human error. But while the automation of IT and business processes across servers is a technical function, it also signals a shift in thinking. It signals profound implications for how IT and business operations teams work together.

By teaming up to enable their companies to fully leverage virtual assets and use an automation approach that supports processes across business units and systems, IT and business operations leaders are forming a new partnership. Their collaboration eliminates silos in tactical and strategic thinking and offer new opportunities for innovation as the line between development and operations fades.

[illustration by Brad Jonas for Pando]