For modern businesses seeking to stay competitive while keeping costs low, the IT environment of choice is likely to be hybrid — a combination of on-premises and cloud services. By using a diverse mix of services from several cloud providers alongside in-house systems, IT departments are able to build the right blend of infrastructure elements to suit their company's individual needs and manage business processes in the most efficient way possible.

IT teams would be forgiven for thinking the price of this best-of-breed hybrid approach is greater complexity, but it doesn't have to be.

There's no denying that running workloads and applications across both cloud and on-premises infrastructure has its challenges. While this type of hybrid IT environment may offer greater flexibility at a lower cost, there's a risk that it will create a need for greater manual overhead, as IT professionals spend longer adapting workloads and environments to make sure tasks still run smoothly with every change to the local or hosted environment.

And, as new infrastructure elements are rolled out across different providers, there's the risk that a silo will spring up around it, with specific processes and tools for that service that end up making the IT department to-do list even longer. Managing so many different elements can easily become a time-consuming and frustrating experience for IT staff.

But, that complexity, and the burden of managing it, doesn’t necessarily need to fall on the shoulders of IT professionals themselves. Using automation technology can allow IT teams to maximize results from hybrid environments without adding to their own workloads in the process.  

Workload automation gives the IT department the ability to create, schedule, and manage increasingly complex tasks across any number of on-premises, public and private cloud, and containerized environments.

But it’s more than just using traditional legacy job scheduling tools. Today's workload automation software comprises highly sophisticated tools that help IT teams streamline business processes. Because the latest generation of workload automation platforms is designed to help IT departments make the most of hybrid IT environments, they're fully compatible with cloud-native infrastructure and applications architecture. For businesses that use a range of clouds from external providers, workload automation can help by allowing applications to be moved to and from cloud platforms without complex configuration work.

By taking on complicated tasks over diverse infrastructure securely and seamlessly, workload automation helps reduce the resources IT departments spend managing repetitive and often manual infrastructure tasks and speeds up provisioning.

Moving to a hybrid IT environment often comes as part of a large-scale digital transformation program, with workloads running in multiple environments simultaneously. Workload automation can help IT teams here, too, by enabling parallel environments to run smoothly during the transition process and coordinating and integrating legacy applications with their current-generation counterparts.

The more moving parts an IT infrastructure has — and hybrid environments often have more than most — the greater the IT department's need for clear oversight of processes wherever they're running. Workload automation offers an effective way for IT teams to maintain overall insight into business processes despite an increasingly diverse IT estate. With tools like unified administration consoles and task status monitoring, IT professionals can easily see the status of their business processes. Additionally, event-driven workflows, exposed APIs, and new-event alerts mean staff always have insight into and control over how their infrastructure is running.

Another way that workload automation can help to tame the complexity associated with hybrid infrastructure is by reducing the sprawl that such environments can generate. Due to the scalability of cloud resources, IT and other business units can deploy new infrastructure elements easily and almost limitlessly. But without workload automation, these assets may remain in place long after they're needed. By helping IT professionals manage workload life cycles and decommission unneeded resources, workload automation can spare IT teams from doing the same thing manually while reducing inefficiencies and unnecessary spend.

Hybrid environments may be more complex, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're more of a burden for IT departments. Many of the difficulties associated with hybrid IT can be dealt with or minimized through the smart use of workload automation. It can reduce the time and effort it takes IT departments to keep the lights on, enabling them to spend more time on doing what IT teams do best: using technology to effectively deliver on business outcomes.