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How Much Does Workload Automation Cost?

Discover which features and capabilities impact the cost of workload automation tools.

Bruce Jernell
Bruce Jernell
Sales Engineer
Read Time
5 mins
Last updated
Oct 7th, 2022

One of the best ways for businesses to meet modern demands is to streamline operational processes through workload automation. Workload automation is a tool that can eliminate manual intervention in repeatable tasks through software-enabled scheduling, initiating, and executing of business processes and transactions. But how much does workload automation cost?

Automating is a must for organizations mobilizing for digital transformation. As your organization considers modernizing in this area, this guide will help you understand the cost ranges for various types of automation solutions, as well as the key elements that influence the cost of automation tools.

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How much does automation cost?

As you might expect, there are a range of automation tools available. Ultimately, the cost of automation will be driven by the needs of your organization and the features and capabilities of the solution that meets those needs, but you can use the following ranges to estimate the cost of each type of solution available.

  • The cost of a job scheduler
    A simple job scheduler that performs a single task within a single operating system at a prescheduled time typically costs less than $10,000.
  • The cost of workload automation
    The cost for a basic workload automation tool that automates workloads in adaptable and responsive sequences can range from $10,000 to $30,000.
  • The cost of workload automation and orchestration
    Many modern organizations operate across multiple complex IT environments. In a hybrid environment, it’s important to have a platform-agnostic automation solution that can orchestrate processes across multiple systems. The cost for a workload automation solution with robust orchestration capabilities can range from $30,000 to $250,000, depending on the complexity of your IT infrastructure.

Now let’s explore some of the features and capabilities that influence the cost of automation solutions.

The factors driving the cost of automation

There are a wide variety of workload automation solutions available. Let’s review some of the features that will impact the cost of workload automation.

Basic features of workload automation
Let’s start with some of the features that most workload automation solutions have in common:

  • Advanced scheduling capabilities that can account for holidays and other customizable calendar events
  • Job dependency functions that can verify another job has been completed before initiating the next automation process
  • Event notifications on job events, such as failures, successes, or delays, with each event triggering a notification that could be an email or text to designated operators
  • A single pane of glass for expanded visibility across all departments and systems
  • Cross-platform agents that can function across Windows and Linux operating systems

Advanced workload automation features
Some workload automation solutions are more robust than others, meaning they have additional features that can positively impact your operations, including:

  • Complex scheduling and event-based dependencies that coordinate automation processes across multiple workflows and production environments
  • Integrations for third-party applications into existing systems and workflows
  • Cloud functionality, not only to support your cloud-based systems but automation delivered as a cloud-based service
  • Self-service interface that allows for manual or on-demand access to trigger a new automation routine
  • SLA monitoring to ensure contractually delivered services are monitored and recorded to ensure compliance with contractual obligations
  • Scalability to ensure your automation capabilities are flexible enough to support your operational needs as you evolve
  • Automation DevOps that allows developers to create automation routines and test them in a controlled environment before implementation
  • Analytics and business intelligence reporting that analyzes operations for the purposes of ongoing monitoring and strategic planning
  • Machine learning and other AI functionality
  • High availability for disaster recovery scenarios to ensure continuous operations and maximum uptime
  • Professional services and support, including the availability of automation management resources that can run an automation platform on behalf of a customer
  • Advanced orchestration capabilities to enable automation processes across multiple geographic locations and mainframe operating systems

Other variables impacting automation costs

In addition to the wide variety of features and capabilities available with various workload automation solutions, another factor impacting the cost of automation involves implementation and training. Some providers charge an additional fee for installation as well as training. At SMA Technologies, we do not charge for basic user training. Our pricing includes free instructor-led basic training for the duration of your license. We also offer optional premium training on advanced concepts for clients who are interested.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the cost of automation can be structured differently depending on how the software is delivered. Some organizations charge based on the average number of tasks that are automated, and some charge a license and maintenance fee that is based on the number of servers, software agents, or end users.

Again, the specific cost for your organization will depend on a number of factors, including how feature rich the platform is and the environment in which it’ll be deployed.

What is the cost of inaction?

When determining whether to invest in a workload automation solution, it’s also important to consider the potential cost to your organization if you do not automate. One simple way to calculate the cost of not automating is to take the number of hours that your IT staff is engaged in repetitive, process-oriented tasks that could otherwise be automated and multiply that by the average hourly salary (including benefits).

It’s also worth considering that IT staff are unlikely to stay in a position for long periods of time doing repetitive, monotonous work, especially given current labor trends and the desirability of skilled tech employees in the job market—and there are considerable costs associated with having to hire to replace current employees.

Plus, one of the things that workload automation solves for is the elimination of errors associated with manual data entry. For instance, if an employee makes a mistake because they're doing things manually, how long might it take until that mistake is found? If your customers see it, will this cause you to lose customers? What's the cost of losing customers because of that error? If fixing the issue involves employees from multiple departments, as it often does, what is the cost of all the total time spent on the resolution?

And, perhaps even more importantly, what is the opportunity cost of not automating? With cost-effective workload automation and orchestration, IT staff focused on process-oriented tasks can be redeployed to more strategic initiatives. Not only will this likely foster a more fulfilling work environment for your employees, but it will also allow for the kind of digital transformation your organization needs to keep up with the expectations of your customers.

It’s important, then, that before you set a workload automation budget, you conduct a thorough cost analysis of the status quo.

Have a question about automation? We’d love to hear from you.

Send us a message and someone will contact you as soon as possible.
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