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ASG Perspectives

Blog > May 2019 > Does Your Enterprise have End-to-End Value Stream Control?

Does Your Enterprise have End-to-End Value Stream Control?

An essential piece of digital transformation is taking a holistic approach to the enterprise—and up until now, the conversation around automation and orchestration has been fragmented. As orchestration becomes more topical in the DevOps and cloud-for-the-enterprise camps, analysts are focused on automation versus orchestration. For example, orchestration is a “higher form” of automation, because it is concerned with the coordination of multiple workflows, whereas automation focuses on individual tasks. At ASG, we think the two should be considered in tandem, rather than in contrast.
 
To control value streams, organizations need an end-to-end view into enterprise workflows. Currently, most content about orchestration focuses on lower-volume activities, such as provisioning a server, shutting down zombie cloud instances or moving an application version from user acceptance testing to production. These are all valid, critical activities focused on the value streams that enable IT infrastructure. Yet, orchestration goes far beyond low-volume activities.

The heart of the enterprise is the high-volume processes that generate value for customers and, by extension, for the organization. In fact, larger-volume activities produce the bulk of enterprises’ value—but they must be supported by lower-volume ones. Servers must be provisioned, cloud capacity must be recovered and new applications must be moved into production to achieve those ends. By themselves, however, they are just trucks idling at the loading docks, waiting for useful direction.
 
The challenge in choreographing and managing these end-to-end value streams is that they inevitably span several systems—from the mainframe to the cloud—even though workload management or job scheduling is specific to each system in question. Without visibility or dynamic flexibility, organizations can’t address issues in a timely fashion. Rather than looking at the end-to-end process and identifying the problem, organizations must go in and assess the performance and capacity for each segment of the value stream. This approach not only takes more time but also increases risk. Today, organizations must ensure that the end-to-end value stream is seamless. They need a view of the value-generating processes spanning every platform, IT stack, cloud services and software package.  

Raising the Bar for Enterprise Orchestration

To run in an optimal and timely way, orchestration—with the support of automation—must check three boxes. First, enterprise orchestration must be sophisticated enough to address both ends of the spectrum. It must have the capabilities to deal with the technical intricacies of task-level workflows. For example, provisioning the software and configurations that fire up a new server, integrating with the APIs of tools for scanning a cloud data center to identify zombie clouds instances, and promoting new applications across software development lifecycles. It also needs the breadth to present views of end-to-end value-generating processes that span several different technology stacks.

Second, at a technical level, orchestration must be able to conditionally select a branch in the enterprise value stream—regardless of the different systems and IT stacks involved—and make it visible and manipulative for the enterprise. With this capability, organizations can target specific pieces of the process based on a mainframe application return code and signify job completion as it is receiving an event from a cloud application API.

Third, at a functional level, orchestration must provide an executive view of the work of the enterprise. Most workflows are nonlinear. They are branching and dynamic, reflecting the business rules of the organization, which requires some conditionality. Enterprise orchestration first choreographs these processes using appropriate visual user experience and, more importantly, manages and monitors them in high volumes day-to-day. By knitting together the disparate technologies, the facile design experience and the automated oversight, organizations can achieve sustainable enterprise orchestration.

These three qualifications illustrate the symmetry of automation and orchestration. Enterprise orchestration must take full advantage of the proven, reliable workload automation in place, whether it is part of the toolset for a given technology stack or it is built into specific packaged applications or cloud services. Moreover, it must be capable of supplying that level of job scheduling and workload automation for the parts of the enterprise value streams that are not already automated. Orchestration, at its best, should present the status of each critical process that spans significant periods of time, technology stacks and conditional branching, alerting the enterprise when obstacles arise.

We at ASG have worked hard to deliver these capabilities with the release of ASG-Enterprise Orchestrator. Our customers are using it today to achieve complex value stream success rates as high as 99.99% and to deliver value to their enterprise customers every day, while maintaining the visibility and control required.

Learn more by reading the full ASG-Enterprise Orchestrator Press Release, check out the Product Datasheet, or register for our upcoming Webinar on how enterprise orchestration reduces time-to-value. You can also read this entertaining blog post to find out How Enterprise Data Center Management is like “The Wrath of Kahn”.