Image Courtesy of David Pickett.
I was reading this interesting article, Reducing the Cost of IT Operations—Is Automation Always the Answer? The article concludes with three main points:
- Introducing automation can also introduce requirements such as extra processes to deploy and maintain.
- Automation, compared to manual processes, requires structured inputs that introduce extra up-front fixed costs for design, implementation and testing. These fixed costs are a significant consideration for IT operations since many processes have a limited lifetime.
- Detecting and removing errors from an automated process is considerably more complicated than from a manual process.
My takeaway from the article is that CAE automation is necessary but that it also has four significant types of overhead: Development, Maintenance, Bugs and Enhancements. While we all know that it is desirable to automate to reduce time and improve consistency, do we understand the feasibility of automating while minimizing these overheads?
When we look at manufacturing industries today, we see a flexible shop floor with modular automation to handle varied product requirements. Here is a good example:
We see from this example that modularization improves the development of a product line, eases maintenance, improves reliability and enables easy additions to a product.
Modularization is Key
Understanding that modularization is key to reducing overhead, what can modularization offer in the context of CAE process automation? The answer is reusable, scalable and compatible tasks!
The Automate environment enables robust process authoring in which tasks are modular and therefore easily combined, bundled, modified and reused.
View the following video to see the unique modularization capabilities of Automate.
Automate Video Summary
- Development and Deployment: Software development with reusable tasks is faster and facilitates better architecture.
- Maintenance: Each task in a process has a set of input and output that can be isolated and unit tested. Pinpoint testing on tasks rather than testing whole processes reduces error and improves the reliability of tasks and processes.
- Enhancement: Extending the capability of a system to meet new requirements is very fast when tasks can be easily plugged into an existing process flow.
Automate Gives You the Right Environment
The point is this: An effective automation environment for CAE is one that enables modular process authoring, reduced maintenance requirements and reduced IT operations costs. Automate is that environment.
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