(Looking for our configuration software ROI tool? Click here.)

Sometimes you just ‘get it’. When you see and experience a true DevOps tool, you quickly and intuitively understand the savings in time and hassle that come from using it. Sometimes though it can be difficult to quantify the value of those savings and other benefits to colleagues, managers and finance people who have not used the tool or very possibly may not even understand it. This is true of many DevOps tools but especially true when it comes time to find the software ROI on Configuration Management Automation.

Gartner Group tells us that

“80% of outages impacting mission-critical services will be caused by people and process issues, and more than 50% of those outages will be caused by change or configuration or release integration and hand-off issues.”

How to demonstrate software ROI on Configuration Automation

Here are a few areas to consider when making your Configuration Automation ROI case to others. There are definitely some soft and hard returns from adopting configuration automation software.  Think through the following labor and management costs driven by:

  1. Hours spent on routine config changes per FTE. (Keep in mind, there are usually multiple FTEs assigned to configuration change duties)
  2. Hours spent on standing up new middleware & apps
  3. Hours spent migrating middleware
  4. Hours spent finding and fixing config problems (fighting fires)
  5. Hours spent developing and maintaining app and middleware config tools
  6. Hours spent gathering data and reporting for audits. (If you do not have this information, our Configuration Automation ROI tool can get you started with guidelines and some reasonable guesses based on our own surveys. You will see a line by line analysis that you can review and share with your colleagues.)
Sample software ROI improvements using Orca

Also think through revenue lost while your ecommerce site is down due to configuration change gone wrong. Do you know your annual ecommerce revenue? Do you know how many hours your site was down last year? You can probably make some reasonable assumptions about the percentage of your downtime that can be traced to configurations problems. (Our Configuration Automation ROI tool does that for you.)

Our Configuration Automation ROI tool only takes into account your quantifiable savings. Keep in mind that it does not even include the equally large (or larger) benefits that come from removing enterprise risk or from the increases in morale that we outline below.

Homegrown configuration tools are your most expensive tools

Ironically, your homegrown CM tools do not directly require the outlay of any funds…but nonetheless, your homegrown config tool can be your most expensive IT tool. Of course, no one commissions a PO when the IT team has to spend valuable time developing and maintaining their homegrown tool. No one writes a check when the IT team has to drop all of their productive work  in order to get  into full fire-fighting mode because of yet-another configuration-related error. Whether you use Orca’s Configuration ROI Tool or your own calculations, the time and effort spent (or is it wasted?!) by talented IT staff can be shocking. Your cost savings and your improved ecommerce uptime should give you a solid notion of your quantifiable ROI from automating your configuration process. And there is perhaps an even more powerful argument for applying the principles of DevOps to your Configuration Process.

Don’t forget the hidden costs and risks to your organization of “Franken-tools”

As important as the cost savings are to justifying any DevOps project, there is often a hidden but near-existential threat posed by relying on kludged processes and tribal knowledge. Homegrown tools can easily become Franken-tools. These once-simple tools can take on a life of their own, growing in complexity over time and inadvertently driving up hidden costs, driving down productivity and introducing unnecessary risk to the enterprise. Think through these questions for a moment:

  • Are you concerned if your key configuration scripting expert were to go on vacation or extended leave?  Are you concerned whether your team has the knowledge and process transparency to continue without them…glitch-free?
  • Are you concerned how well your organization would survive the loss of those same configuration specialists due to retirement or job change?
  • All things equal, would you prefer having an accountable software partner who is “on the hook” for ongoing service, support, maintenance and road map improvements?

Configuration Automation helps IT productivity and IT employee morale

On the positive side, adopting DevOps and more specifically, automating configuration management can drive serious gains in IT productivity and in morale. Instead of continuing to kludge a custom tool (unsupported by any third party vendor) or to waste countless hours in fire-fighting mode due to a typo in a custom script somewhere, the IT team is now free to work on true strategic company initiatives and the long list to “To Do’s” assigned by management.

The Old Way: Key info hidden behind layers of windows and text.

Look familiar? How easy is it to quickly detect drift, correct drift and bulk deploy changes across your environment?

At-a-glance Config Compliance Heat Map

Saves you time and effort.

Imagine the productivity gains from having a visual “at-a-glance” view of your configurations versus looking through lines of scripts or from logging into each server.

Only a purpose-built application configuration automation solution can provide this level of “at-a-glance” productivity.

To see your software ROI on Configuration Automation, try our free ROI tool and receive a line by line analysis of your savings as well as call-outs of our underlying assumptions.