What Are the Differences Between Workload Automation Solutions?
Discover the questions you should ask when comparing workload automation tools.
There’s no shortage of workload automation tools on the market. To narrow down the selection to platforms that are most relevant to your business, start by asking, what are the differences between workload automation solutions?
When making a comparison between workload automation tools, there are four factors to consider that can quickly provide insight into whether a given platform will be a good fit for your company’s needs. They include:
Ease of use
Future development, and
1. Does the workload automation solution integrate with my platform?
If you’re looking for workload automation, it’s often to address pain points with an existing company application that you’d like to see solved by automation capabilities. Workload automation solution providers typically have an integrations page on their website where you'll see their built-in integrations, which you should compare with each potential workload automation tool you are considering. Ensure their list includes the applications that pertain to your business.
Ask your vendor:
What integrations do they have, and what are the features that come with them?
Does their integration support the version of the software you are running? This is typically not a problem with a new installation but could become an issue if you upgrade the application software and the integration breaks.
2. How easy is it to use the workload automation solution?
To answer this question, consider who will be using the workload automation solution within your company and the level of familiarity they’ll have with your IT infrastructure. You will want it to be easy for most of your employees to use.
Ask your vendor:
Do they offer existing templates or job types for everyday actions, such as a drag-and-drop interface for creating new automation steps?
Does their solution require a lot of custom scripting and technical knowledge to set up? Scripts can be immensely powerful, but coding is not easy for anyone to learn.
Is the interface a traditional thick client (desktop application), or does it have a modern web interface? With a web interface, you can also access it from other computers without an install or over a VPN.
Are there additional infrastructure or installation requirements to connect to all systems (mainframe/legacy)?
If a product is not consistently coming out with newer features, you could lose efficiency and limit your ROI.
3. Is the workload automation solution adaptable for the future?
One goal of Implementing a workload automation solution is to help grow your business. As part of this, you want to be sure the automation solution can scale alongside the business.
It is also essential to know how often the software vendor updates their product. If a product is not consistently coming out with newer features, you could lose efficiency and limit your ROI. You want to make sure that the solution you choose will continue to support your company as you add new applications and projects.
Ask your vendor:
Does the software offer built-in recovery options, additional scalability, and less downtime during upgrades?
Do they support either on-premise or in a cloud environment? If you do not want to deal with hardware, ask if they offer a hosted option.
What is the release cycle for their solution? You want to be sure new features and bug fixes are available and know how often it’ll happen. It is also good to understand the upgrade process and typical downtime.
4. How much does workload automation cost?
Of course, price is part of comparing workload automation software options, but it should not be the only factor. A lot goes into the cost of workload automation (so much that we will have an entire future blog dedicated to it!) but here are a few key questions to help you avoid the “gotchas” that can happen after signing a contract.
Ask your vendor:
Is 24/7 support included? Sometimes companies charge for after-hours support. Be sure to understand what the vendor includes and if they manage support or outsource it.
Is training included? Initial training upon installation may or may not be included. Also, consider your future growth and the potential need to train new employees. The vendor may charge for additional training.
Is the pricing for their solution a subscription or license with maintenance? Typically, a subscription includes more features (sometimes tiered) where a license with maintenance can have a significant up-front cost but then also require purchasing add-ons to gain additional features.
Do they charge by agent (software installed on a server to run automation), user or task?
Are installation services included in the price? Such consulting services are great when you have limited personnel resources but can be a hidden (and sometimes large) unexpected expense.
These four categories should provide a nice starting point when comparing the differences between workload automation tools and help you decide which will ultimately be the best fit for your business.
In this article
Considering a workload automation solution, but not sure which to choose? We break down the questions to ask your vendor.