As you know, Workload Automation SOAPs automate manual work and extend the value of traditional job schedulers. They offer crazy visibility into systems and processes, and they’re a game-changer in terms of cost reduction.
At Robert Mark Technologies (RMT), we’ve been reselling and supporting best-in-class SOAPs for 25 years. Workload Automation is all we do, and we do it well.
In this article, we’ll cover the seven basic functions performed by a true SOAP. In other articles, we introduced SOAP AI and its Role in Hyper-Automation, the Workload Automation software that made Gartner’s list, and some tips for how to pick the right Workload Automation solution (and vendor) for your digital transformation.
In the next 3-4 years, Gartner predicts 80% of companies using Workload Automation will leverage SOAPs to streamline operations and drive cost optimization.
The Function of a SOAP? It Makes Life Easier.
What makes a SOAP a SOAP, and why is it the cleanest engine for IT environments? Because according to Gartner, all SOAPs worthy of the name perform the following seven functions.
1. SOAPs automate everyday tasks and orchestrate workflows
SOAPs are like a gift from the gods of productivity! With SOAPs, businesses kiss tedious scripting goodbye and streamline manual processes. Certainly, SOAPs allow a high degree of flexibility. They connect disparate tasks and data sources. They automate IT processes. What’s more, SOAPs can go beyond simply automating tasks; SOAPs can create event-driven workflows, allowing for the documentation and rapid iteration of business processes.
If that doesn’t have you salivating, consider this. SOAP platforms come with self-service administration consoles that have their own role-based access controls (RBACs), so users can easily keep track of their automation workflows. Just give that SOAP genie a rub, and IT operations teams can be more responsive to business needs, at the same time that they track tasks consumed by automation, measure efficiency, and manage life cycles.
Likewise, SOAPs can schedule, monitor, and alert you when something goes wrong. Where? On your smartphone. It’s that convenient. Meanwhile, they’re fully equipped to provision and manage cloud and on-premises environments for Windows, UNIX/Linux, mainframes, ERP systems such as SAP and Oracle, and relational databases like SQL Server and IBM Db2. Finally, SOAPs also make it easy to orchestrate data pipelines for batch processing, automated file transfer, and interactive applications like Hadoop, Airflow, or Spark. As a result, developers have the ability to create scheduled data flows with code — so they can be maintained, versioned, tested, and integrated into other tools.
2. “SOAPed Up!” = Event-Driven Automation with Machine Learning
SOAPs can take automation a step further with event-driven automation. Not only do they let you define your own rules and parameters, but they bring the fun with machine learning and heuristics that can respond to different events for you. This reduces the risk of manual steps and scripting, big time.
Basically, the SOAPs’ power lies in its ability to interpret and respond to data from various sources — think customer databases and social media. For example, with set thresholds for when certain events should occur (or not occur), automated responses significantly speed up intervention times, as compared to the speed of mere mortals.
For instance, SOAPs can be used to detect a sudden surge in customer service requests and automatically scale up infrastructure to accommodate the demand. This can happen without any manual effort on the part of employees. Furthermore, the SOAP can use predictive analytics/machine learning algorithms to analyze historical data and real-time inputs from customers to identify patterns and anticipate needs before they arise. Trust us, it feels good to have your needs anticipated for this purpose.
3. SOAP Nirvana: Self-Service Automation
SOAPs also empower users with self-service automation. With an intuitive web console, IT teams can quickly and easily define and manage their own workflows. As a result, they have full control over the automation process.
This flexibility comes with enhanced visibility, as SOAPs’ reporting tools allow IT teams to monitor performance, identify problem areas, and optimize their settings for maximum efficiency. For example, with comprehensive reporting, SOAPs provide valuable insights into usage trends, task duration, and resource consumption. They also enable IT teams to modify SOAP settings to maximize efficiency and further reduce manual labor.
Equally important, as operational efficiency improves, the SOAP reduces human suffering — assuming mundane, repetitive tasks snuff the life out of your people.
4. SOAPs: The Bouncers of Enterprise Technology
Of course, coupled with the RBACs (role-based access controls), SOAPs are like the bouncers of enterprise technology. They know who’s allowed in. They guarantee only folks with the right credentials initiate or modify rule sets, tasks, or event-driven processes.
Restricting access on a need-to-know basis, might feel snobby to some, but this exclusivity is a reassuring fail-safe that ensures users don’t unintentionally disrupt operations.
By setting up RBACs for SOAP activities, businesses can grant specific users or groups permission to manage SOAPs and protect sensitive settings and processes from being changed by arbitrary users.
5. Conquer Pesky SLAs with SOAPs
Offering an arsenal of scheduling, monitoring, visibility and alerting capabilities, SOAPs can help you meet pesky service-level agreements (SLAs) with ease. Moreover, you can schedule tasks to run at regular intervals or according to specific events – providing the flexibility your business needs.
Plus, they provide real-time feedback on the progress of each task, so IT teams can keep a close eye and make sure everything is running smoothly.
Not only that, SOAP reporting tools provide detailed visibility into automation workflows that allow IT teams to track SOAP performance. This makes it much easier for the teams to identify problem areas in their workflows and pinpoint areas of improvement, so they can continuously optimize.
SOAP alerting capabilities enable IT teams to set up notifications whenever certain events occur or thresholds are reached. This helps businesses stay in control of their SOAP setup and take corrective action quickly if needed — to make sure SLAs are met in no time flat, while you leverage the full potential of automation.
6. SOAP Resource Provisioning: What’s the Big Deal?
Managing resources across multiple platforms and applications is a complex and time-consuming task. For instance, you need to maximize resource utilization, but it’s hard to keep up with changing demands. However, SOAPs can provision resources on auto-pilot.
Furthermore, standard templates for rapid deployment across various applications make it easier. For instance, IT teams can quickly set up new environments without manually configuring each application or platform.
Resource provisioning also brings greater agility to your scalability, as SOAPs can easily adjust workload levels depending on the latest requirements.
7. SOAPs Make Data Pipelines More Friend, Less Frenemy
If you sigh over complicated data pipelines, you’ll be wild about the way a SOAP can create, manage, and monitor complex data. Many SOAPs feature an intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) that makes it easy for users to construct data pipelines with a few clicks. To further simplify matters, SOAPs come with pre-built templates for basic and intricate data pipelines.
Here’s where it gets crazy. The SOAP’s programmatic scheduling lets users set up their data pipelines according to specific events or recurrent periods, without manual intervention. And advanced analytics tools provide real-time monitoring for quick corrective action.
As we noted, SOAPs provide an end-to-end platform to streamline data pipeline operations and help guarantee SLA compliance. By taking advantage of SOAPs, IT teams can effectively manage the full scope of their data pipelines—from speedy, scalable deployments to resource allocation optimization and comprehensive monitoring. Above all, SOAPs enable maximum efficiency and operational excellence.
Picking the Perfect Workload Automation Solution for Your Company
Most of our clients appreciate help evaluating SOAP quality, particularly cost vs. capability. We’ve tried them all and can make expert recommendations for your specific needs.
In other articles, we introduced SOAP AI and its Role in Hyper-Automation, the Workload Automation software that made Gartner’s list, and some tips for how to pick the right Workload Automation solution (and vendor) for your digital transformation.
We have 25 years of experience reselling, supporting, and providing conversions/migrations to industry-leading Workload Automation solutions.
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Managing Workload Automation environments is all we do, and we do it well. We’re happy to help.