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Blog > November 2019 > How Does the Rule of Three Apply to Enterprise Automation?

How Does the Rule of Three Apply to Enterprise Automation?

As I started this article, I checked Wikipedia just to be sure I was using “The Rule of Three” in the proper context and—Shazam!—was I ever surprised to learn that it has been applied to science, programming, medicine, aviation, economics and of all things, Wicca, as well as writing! Here is how ASG applies the Rule of Three, offered as three questions, to our current state of technology.

1. Time marches on and change will happen—how prepared are you? Business will drive and demand innovation. Let’s be precisebusiness leaders who are personally compensated based on business goals such as share price, market share or EBITA will demand changes to the automation of the value streams supporting of their goals. They will set the pace, control the agenda, direct the investments and drive the discussion, and they speak the language of value streams fluently. Unless you are one of the automation folks, you probably aren’t aware of just how much churn there is in our workload automation business. The EMA market survey conducted just this past summer, titled “The Great Scheduler Migration – IT Infrastructure Tools’ Disruption in the Wake of Digital Transformation and Application Modernization,” directly highlights this. 80% of those surveyed stated that “automation” is a strategy in their enterprise, and 75% have changed to some other automation platform within the last five years. Five years is a long time in the world of IT, but some of these automation products have been around as long as 41 years. Consequently, there is nothing that captures “institutional memory” better than a job scheduling system. When three out of four survey respondents report they have swapped in the last five years, it just proves there are no exceptions, and results are the only thing that matters.

2. Do you know where you are today (literally on the doorsteps of another new decade)? I’m here to help, and I’ll tell you, at this time—right now and for years to come—you’re in the cloud. You and I are there as we speak. Whether or not it has impacted you in any meaningful way, we’re still there. Now, here are a couple of questions for the sake of situational awareness or context: Can you realistically lift and shift everything to the cloud over the course of 2020? How about by EOY 2021? Ever? What about your mainframe? A clue to the answer can be found by listening to these same leaders quoted in the report mentioned above and by asking yourself, “How hard are they hammering the cloud initiative?” And one more clue—unless you hear of a date certain, budget dramas, spending initiatives or other signals that let you know to “get on board, this trains pulling out”—it probably means you’ll be living with a blend of on-premises infrastructure, along with whatever finds its way skyward for years. For us automation folk, cross-system application integration—or stated less romantically, problems with cross-platform interoperability—have always been the bane of our existence. Finally, consider this as a tease for the third rule below… In a recent Gartner piece, “The Future of Apps Must Include Citizen Development” 1, the Gartner Strategic Planning Assumption was that “by 2023, the number of active citizen developers at large enterprises will be at least four times the number of professional developers.” To automation folk, it’s difficult to imagine a four-fold increase in the number of developers throwing apps our way—be they professional or be they citizen!

3. Do you know where you’re headed? This is a rhetorical question and “you” here is your employer and the world of technology. Maybe you do, and while I myself don’t possess a crystal ball, I can authoritatively say, as a vendor, that there are new types of automation and perhaps as many as a dozen X-aaS platforms about to mushroom in the cloud. Things like business process automation (BPA), robotic process automation (RPA) and a wicked array of X-aaS models such as hpaPaas (high productivity application Platform as a Service) are making their way out of the cloud and back to terra firma. These are what the 451 Analyst firm calls “cloud-native technologies and methodologies.” I recommend their 3/15/19 research report for an insightful view on what they call “The Spectrum of Abstraction.” Ask yourself, “Where is this cloud-native, enterprise IT-changing stuff likely to intersect with my world?” Or a little closer to home, for all of us automation folks, how involved are we in the planning, implementation and execution of our company’s RPA project? And is my firm using citizen developers yet? If you’re not involved, chances are the RPA project is being led by citizen developers and it’s only a matter of time before you’re properly introduced.
As I leave, I’ll repeat:
  1. Change has been a part of our industry since Moore’s Law. Nothing is immutable, not even job schedulers and workload automation systems. They are being changed out at an impressive rate for the sake of digital transformation and application modernization.
  2. In the next three years, our workloads will connect on-premises jobs to cloud-native jobs, and citizen developers will grow to dwarf the professional developers we’ve spent the last 41 years getting to know and love.
  3. New types or classes of automation systems, many running on X-aaS platforms, will arrive and we automation folk may or may not be a part of their success.
What do you think? How prepared are you for the impacts of the new automation technologies, and the inevitable impacts they will have on your data center?  Please comment or connect—I would love to hear the thoughts of others!

To learn about ASG’s approach to automation, read about our ASG-Enterprise Orchestrator.
1  Gartner, The Future of Apps Must Include Citizen Development, Jason Wong, Mark Driver, Saikat Ray, October 4, 2019