Blog Post Automation Trends 2023: Top 7 Takeaways from the Annual Global State of IT Automation Report

The results are in! IT Ops, DevOps, DataOps, CloudOps, PlatformOps, and ITSM pros worldwide share their thoughts on automation and orchestration in the 2023 Global State of IT Automation report.

IT Automation can help enterprises drive efficiencies, ensure security, and control costs in increasingly complex hybrid IT environments. For them, the annual 2023 Global State of IT Automation Report provides valuable insights into the current state and future trends of automation, including the latest tools, technologies, and strategies that organizations are adopting to streamline their operations and stay ahead of the competition.

Earlier this year, Stonebranch partnered with Censuswide, an international market research consultancy, to conduct a global online survey of IT automation experts — all from companies of 1000 or more employees — to reveal their perspectives on how automation intersects with DataOps, DevOps, Cloud Ops, and IT Ops priorities.

The report provides a comprehensive view of orchestration and automation trends, opportunities, and challenges to help you both benchmark and evolve your IT automation and orchestration program.

Read on to discover the top findings, then download the full report for a deeper dive.

7 Automation Trends from the 2023 Global State of IT Automation Report

1. Cloud Automation Takes Center Stage

In 2023, 99% of organizations have at least one cloud initiative planned. Additionally, cloud automation tops the list of planned automation tool investments in 2023. Infrastructure automation and DevOps automation round out the top three automation investment priorities. All three software categories focus on automation in cloud-based SaaS applications, cloud-native applications, or cloud infrastructure.

2. Multi-Cloud Data Transfers are on the Rise

78% of respondents operate in a multi-cloud environment. Of those using multiple cloud providers, 82% automate the transfer of data between clouds to meet the needs of both internal and external users. This requires centralized orchestration of different automation and data transfer solutions.

3. Data Pipeline Orchestration Strategies are Evolving

Cloud automation and data pipeline orchestration go hand in hand — transferring data between tools and environments is a common and urgent requirement. Data and operations teams are struggling to scale their pipelines to meet stakeholder demands, and are trying different solutions such as custom scripts, enterprise tools, and inbuilt job schedulers. Implementing an orchestration layer can help centralize management and observability of automation enterprise-wide.

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4. Self-Service Automation is Booming

IT automation was once strictly in the realm of IT Ops teams, but now it’s available to a much broader audience of citizen automators. In 2023, 92% of respondents enable end-users from various teams to execute their own workflows, tools, and processes through self-service automation. This democratization of automation benefits tech-focused teams, freeing up IT teams to focus on other priorities. The volume of self-service end users is most notable, as outlined in the image below.

5. Automation has Evolved into Orchestration

Automating on-premises servers and mainframes is straightforward, but orchestrating processes that span between on-premises and cloud environments is more complex. In response, organizations are enhancing their capabilities in 2023: 81% of respondents plan to grow their automation program and 86% plan to replace or add a new platform to support orchestration.

6. Centralized Automation Teams Drive Best-Practice Adoption Throughout the Enterprise

77% of organizations have a central team responsible for managing IT automation systems and planning. Often supported by a modern orchestration platform, these teams usually have between 26–50 members who help spread best practices and continuous improvement across the organization.

7. Service Orchestration and Automation Platforms (SOAPs) have Grown in Popularity

40% of respondents reported that their current tools are either unable to connect (or have limited connections) to cloud/SaaS technologies through APIs. In response, nearly a third of organizations are adopting the next evolution of workload automation: SOAPs. These modern automation solutions enable organizations to centrally orchestrate cloud alongside on-prem tools within their hybrid IT environments.

Read the Report

Stonebranch, in collaboration with Censuswide, conducted a survey of 439 IT automation professionals to gather insights on their automation priorities and obstacles in their respective organizations. Their answers offer a glimpse into how enterprises are orchestrating their complex ecosystems of on-premises, cloud, multi-cloud, and containerized environments.

The findings in this report are based on a comprehensive online survey carried out globally in January 2023, and participants were selected through a stringent, multi-step screening process to ensure that only relevant respondents were included. The survey participants held positions in IT Operations, Data Operations, Cloud Operations, Platform Operations, IT Service Management, and Application Development, and worked for organizations with over 1,000 employees.

Want more? Download the full report, Stonebranch 2023 Global State of IT Automation: IT Automation and Orchestration Benchmarks for IT Ops, DevOps, CloudOps, and DataOps Teams, or watch the research results webinar on-demand, which highlights key trends and insights from the report, as well as Stonebranch’s recommendations for success.

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