The company-wide introduction of IT automation
Beiersdorf IT uses a concrete example to show how open source principles can be used for IT automation. The drivers for end-to-end IT automation are manifold. They relate to processes, efficiency, IT silos and recruiting. On the one hand, complex processes cause long project runtimes and, on the other, manual, repetitive activities lead to reduced efficiency. IT silos also pose a challenge; the automation often practiced today within individual silos does not break down the silos, but merely automates them. Last but not least, the shortage of skilled workers is a key reason for automation initiatives.
The universal and proven open source automation solution Ansible provides crucial support. It supports the automation of processes across servers, storage devices, network devices, services, containers and clouds and even "non-IT functions". Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform with certified, preconfigured modules, automation workflows and extended security concepts has established itself for enterprise use.
The problem, the objective and the solution architecture are therefore clearly outlined. But how can the automation solution be scaled quickly and acceptance ensured? Beiersdorf IT has tested and successfully implemented a new approach - in contrast to a conventional, usually more technically focused implementation of a new software solution.
Beiersdorf has chosen a tried-and-tested open source approach for this and has named it the Beiersdorf internal Automation Community. This community approach defines various roles such as a Community Architect, Sponsor and Strategist, Automation Consultant Engineer and Onboarder. The Community Architect is responsible for setting up and managing the community, monitoring the process and defining the KPIs. A member of management acts as sponsor and strategist - and is therefore responsible for the financial commitment. The Automation Consultant Engineer's tasks include identifying automation opportunities, developing automated workflows and providing cross-team advice on the implementation of use cases.
Following this structural and organizational preparatory work, the company invited all specialist departments to participate and defined the first possible use cases. This showed that Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform supports the community approach, particularly by combining various automation steps in an end-to-end workflow. Ideas are collected, discussed and implemented within the Beiersdorf community. Finally, the ecosystem around Ansible is also growing continuously, so that more and more use cases can be orchestrated and automated, even around topics such as compliance, governance, security or sustainability. Specifically, Beiersdorf has included a number of use cases in the community approach with regard to SAP automation in the area of Day 1 and Day 2 operations such as provisioning, configuration, database management, patching or maintenance.
On the one hand, the example of Beiersdorf shows the performance spectrum of Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform in end-to-end automation, even in SAP environments. On the other hand, it shows how open source principles such as the community concept, real-time transparency for all participants and collaboration can simplify and accelerate the company-wide introduction of an automation solution. Other SAP users facing the challenge of modernization and migration can also follow this example, because open source best practices are never a bad guide.