If You Can't Automate It Then Don't Do It

I spent most of this week listening to enterprise IT trends at EMC World. The biggest trend didn't involve big data, hybrid cloud, mobile or social. Instead, the key takeaway involved IT automation across enterprises and small businesses.

Let's start with the quote of the week from VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger: "It's time to ruthlessly automate every layer of data center management." I certainly won't debate Gelsinger. He's right. During EMC World, a range of IT companies introduced tools and technologies to speed that automation -- allowing you to stand up infrastructure and applications far more rapidly. Among the notable moves: Keep an eye on Puppet Labs...

Big Ideas for Small Business

But do the automation conversations apply to small businesses? Absolutely yes. Puppet's tools can be used to automate IT deployments both on-premises and in the cloud. Small businesses that don't have their own data centers can use the tools too stand up cloud applications far more rapidly.

Not by coincidence, After Nines Inc. is obsessed with automation as well. As Amy Katz and I potentially prepare to push After Nines Inc. in new directions, we keep asking ourselves the following question: "If we build something -- anything -- can it be automated?"

During earlier startup efforts, we sometimes got bogged down in manual labor. Newsletters, revenue-generating programs, multimedia efforts -- just about everything involved lots of human touch points. 

This time around, as we contemplate potential market opportunities that didn't exist a few years ago, we're counting on the machines -- a range of cloud services -- to do the work for us. That automation could potentially free After Nines Inc. up to work even more closely with our clientele. Or to focus even more on some... more... innovations.

It's sort of ironic: We're leaning on machines to free us up to be more human. I hope to explain more later this year.

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