Why Risk Your IT Environments With Homegrown Scripts?


Adopting Workload Automation and Orchestration to Handle Hazards and Enhance Workflows

Consumer expectations are constantly on the rise, and to meet this expanding demand, IT environments are becoming increasingly complex by the day. While there are automation solutions available to help with this, many businesses still rely on scripts written by employees who use their own preferred automation tools to get the job done. In doing so, they deploy a wide array of homegrown scripts across their IT environments, raising the risk of complications that can put mission-critical operations at risk.

Companies are now setting their sights on mitigating the risks associated with homegrown scripts by
leveraging the benefits and scalability of modern-day workload automation and orchestration, or
WLA&O. IT teams are tasked with the challenge of clearing the convoluted web of scripts that various
employees created across decades of operations, all with different levels of skill. By clearing IT
environments of these risky scripts, IT teams are more effectively supporting the future business needs
of their organizations. According to Gartner, 80% of organizations will have accepted new models of
workload automation delivery by 2024.

Orchestrate Cross-System Interactions

Data is managed by modern IT processes across multiple platforms, systems, and environments, each of
which may have been developed using a unique technology stack from a unique vendor. These
resources have historically been isolated and maintained by specialists with extensive but specific
domain knowledge. Traditionally, if they wanted to execute a cross-platform process, these experts
would have to write custom scripts.

However, even with homegrown scripts in place, IT still relies on a number of manual triggers and
handoffs, which is both inefficient and error prone. Manual procedures and bespoke scripts cannot give
the flexibility and speed that enterprises seek in this era of real-time data, elevated consumer
expectations, and dynamic organizational objectives.

A WLA&O platform is the capstone of the modern IT stack, serving to remove the complexities of
processes and environments for end users. This eliminates the need for custom scripting and allows IT
teams to centrally manage operations, track resources, and tie together individual tasks into larger

Failure Prevention and Terminating Vulnerabilities

Custom scripts are volatile in IT environments and susceptible to human errors. If not compiled
correctly, these scripts can also open organizations up to security issues. Because custom scripts are
built for specific scenarios – frequently created by different users with their own personal tools of choice
– errors within the code and potential security vulnerabilities often fly under the radar. That is, until a
script is orchestrated, setting off a chain of workflow failures, or the security vulnerability is discovered
and exploited.

Once a failure has taken its toll on the organization, attempting to diagnose and correct the error is also
a complicated issue with homegrown scripts, given that they are built on one’s own intuition, using
different tools, and across varied skill sets. Given the complexity this creates, discovering and correcting
the root cause of an issue can be nearly impossible.

WLA&O tools have built-in error handling systems to prevent these scenarios by automatically
correcting workflow failures or preparing IT teams to address an issue before an incident occurs. These
solutions are backed-up by automation experts who are deeply familiar with the tool’s capabilities and
can quickly diagnose and treat issues, mitigating the impact on customers.

Shining a Light on Hidden Costs

Homegrown scripts do come with several benefits, one being that they do not carry a hard cost
compared to a commercial solution. However, they also carry significant drawbacks, such as the amount
of time and internal resources needed to create, test, and update them.

According to an Informational Week study, 45% of the participating organization’s IT teams spend more
than 5 hours per week writing scripts to handle workflows and automation. When totaled, the time
spent writing automation scripts is roughly six-and-a-half weeks annually, not including time spent
diagnosing any potential complications, enacting solutions, and ongoing editing as IT environments
evolve over time. That is when the true costs begin to become apparent.

Retaining Critical Institutional Knowledge

Another complication that often accompanies homegrown scripts is the loss of institutional knowledge
that occurs when IT staff depart from the organization. This has become an everyday occurrence due to
events such as the Great Reshuffle and continued tech talent shortages. Script designers are like
fingerprints. No two will ever be duplicated, so when talent walks out the door, so does the knowledge
of their script and its abilities. The remaining team members are then left to decipher and comprehend
the scripts.

Bringing It Together

Prolonging IT’s use of homegrown scripts in the 2020’s leads to unnecessary increases in risks taken on
by organizations. These risks can be mitigated and even eliminated by adopting modern-day workload
automation and orchestration platforms.

In today’s complex and evolving IT environments, WLA&O solutions provide single points of control that
are a necessity as workloads increase and organizations dive headfirst into digital transformation to
keep pace with the demands of their customers.

To learn more about powerful workload automation and orchestration made simple visit SMA Technologies HERE.

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About Author

Ryan Dimick is the Chief Technology Officer at SMA Technologies in Houston, Texas. Over the course of his nine-year tenure at SMA Technologies Ryan has also held positions as Director of Engineering, Director of Cloud Services, Software Architect, and Sr Business Consultant. He started his career at Corning Credit Union as a user of the OpCon automation platform and held positions in IT Operations and Programming. Outside of work, Ryan loves to be creative in the kitchen by mixing cuisines and creating culinary concoctions with his family. He loves running with his dog, the serenity of growing a garden and producing his own food, and his competitive spirit prevents him from saying no to ping pong challengers.