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Workload automation and orchestration to eliminate the risks of homegrown scripts for financial institutions

iStock 1390727080 - Global Banking | Finance

Workload automation and orchestration to eliminate the risks of homegrown scripts for financial institutions

Ryan Dimick Headshot NEW - Global Banking | FinanceBy Ryan Dimick, Chief Technology Officer, SMA Technologies

Credit unions and banks are under increasing pressure to speed up digital innovation as customers seek more convenient digital banking services. This growing demand may necessitate a change in the way organizations operate within and outside core processes. To keep up with rising consumer demands, IT infrastructures within FIs are becoming more intricate every day. While there are automated solutions that can assist with this, many companies still rely on employee-created scripts that are executed using the employees’ chosen automation tools. By using a plethora of custom-written scripts in their IT infrastructures, businesses increase the likelihood of errors that could jeopardize mission-critical operations.

To reduce the vulnerabilities of homegrown scripts, FIs and other transactional businesses are looking to workload automation and orchestration (WLA&O) for its benefits and scalability. IT departments face the difficult task of untangling the complex network of scripts that have developed through decades of operation, written by staff with varying degrees of expertise. Getting rid of these potentially harmful scripts in IT environments helps IT departments better serve their businesses’ long-term goals. It is predicted by Gartner that by the year 2024, 80% of businesses would have adopted different approaches to workload automation delivery.

Protecting Against Errors and Closing Security Holes

In the realm of information technology, custom scripts are highly unstable and prone to human mistakes. Custom scripts can cause problems for businesses if they are not properly constructed. Errors in the code and potential security vulnerabilities are typically missed when using custom scripts because they are designed for unique conditions, often by various users with their own personal tools of choice. Faults can include security flaws uncovered and exploited by bad actors, or a cascade of process issues when a script is orchestrated.

Homegrown scripts are constructed on one’s own intuition, utilizing diverse tools, and across varied skill sets, making it difficult to recognize and repair the error until it has taken its toll on the company. The increased complexity makes isolating and fixing the original problem difficult, if not impossible.

By automatically resolving process failures or alerting IT teams in advance of an incident, the error management systems integrated into WLA&O solutions mitigate the likelihood of such occurrences. Experts in automation who are fluent in the tool’s features and functions back up these solutions, allowing for rapid diagnosis and treatment of problems with minimal disruption to the clientele.

Coordinate Actions Across Multiple Systems

Modern IT processes manage data across a wide variety of platforms, systems, and settings, each of which may have been built with a different set of technologies sourced from a different vendor. These tools and databases have traditionally been kept in the hands of experts who have deep but narrow domain expertise. In the past, these specialists would need to create their own scripts to carry out a cross-platform procedure.

Even with homegrown scripts, IT still uses many inefficient and error-prone human triggers and handoffs. In this age of real-time data, increased customer demands, and fluid organizational goals, manual procedures and customized scripts cannot provide the flexibility and speed that businesses want.

To simplify procedures and environments for end users, a WLA&O platform sits at the top of today’s IT stack. As a result, IT departments can manage operations from a single location, keep tabs on available resources, and organize smaller jobs into more comprehensive workflows without resorting to time-consuming and error-prone proprietary programming.

Bringing to Light the True Costs

There are advantages to using custom-written code instead of a commercial product, one being a lower upfront financial investment. However, constantly creating, testing, and updating scripts may be a drain on internal resources and can add up quickly.

An Informational Week survey found that over half of all IT departments spend more than five hours each week crafting scripts to manage automated processes and workflows. Six and a half weeks a year are spent writing automation scripts; this does not include time spent diagnosing potential difficulties, implementing solutions, or editing scripts as IT environments change. At that point, the entire cost becomes significantly higher.

Keeping Vital Institutional Knowledge Secure

Another issue that frequently arises with custom-written scripts is the loss of institutional knowledge when IT personnel leave the company. Due to workforce trends such as the Great Reshuffle and a persistent shortage of tech skills, this knowledge gap has become commonplace. Just as fingerprints are unique, so are script designers and the knowledge they accumulate while working for your organization. Whenever an actor leaves a production, they take with them the knowledge and uniqueness of their character and the impossibility of ever recreating that expertise again. This then falls on the remaining team members to read and understand what will create the strongest, most coherent result.

Fusing it all together

If IT departments in financial institutions continue to rely on homegrown scripts, the business is taking on more risks than necessary. With the help of contemporary WLA&O solutions, these dangers can be reduced or eliminated altogether.

To stay up with consumer demands in today’s complex and ever-changing IT environment, businesses are diving headfirst into digital transformation, and WLA&O solutions are providing the central points of control they need to manage the resulting explosion in workloads.

About the Author

Ryan Dimick is the Chief Technology Officer at SMA Technologies in Houston, Texas. Over the course of his nine-year tenure at SMA Technologies Ryan has also held positions as Director of Engineering, Director of Cloud Services, Software Architect, and Sr Business Consultant. He started his career at Corning Credit Union as a user of the OpCon automation platform and held positions in IT Operations and Programming.  Outside of work, Ryan loves to be creative in the kitchen by mixing cuisines and creating culinary concoctions with his family. He loves running with his dog, the serenity of growing a garden and producing his own food, and his competitive spirit prevents him from saying no to ping pong challengers.

Global Banking & Finance Review


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