5 Reasons Database Automation is Vital to Your Digital Transformation Strategy
By now, software automation is considered mainstream in the digital era we find ourselves in, but we may only be at the beginning of the revolution. According to Markets and Markets research, “the global digital process automation market is projected to grow from USD 6.77 billion in 2018 to USD 12.61 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 13.3% from 2018 to 2023.” This is based on projections before COVID-19 has accelerated the demand for automation.
There’s really no better time than now to adopt an automation solution in your own practice. Many companies started with automated application code tools, then moved to automated testing tools. I’m here to explain why database automation needs to become a top priority for your team. First, I’ll explain what database automation is exactly, and explain the five benefits your organization will see from adopting a database automation solution and strategy.
What is database automation?
At the highest level, “database automation” is an umbrella term for any solution, platform, or tool that allows companies to streamline, automate, and measure database tasks and workflows, so they can increase operational efficiency, pushing database code changes to production faster so that features get into the hands of consumers faster. This includes anything from tracking database changes to implementing an automated rule system where database code that doesn’t meet certain standards is automatically rejected. It is a relatively young market but, as seen above, it’s destined to become a staple of every database team’s strategy before we know it.
5 reasons you need database automation
If your team hasn’t yet adopted a database automation platform, here are five reasons why it’s an investment worth making today.
1. Time savings (& life balance)
DBAs are often the defenders of the safety and security of your data. Arguably, this data is one of the most precious assets your company has. The database holds every disaster nightmare a DBA, compliance officer, or PR team can imagine. By leveraging tools that expedite the “busy work” from their days, employees remain engaged and focused on what they do best—ensure that your databases are secure and performant.
Perhaps the pinnacle of technological advancement lies at the heart of database automation solutions: what once took days, now takes hours, and what once took hours, now takes minutes. The technological explosion of the last two decades resulted in less time needed for menial, redundant tasks, leaving more time for database specialists to do what machines can’t: strategic problem-solving. Not only can automation help improve your overall software flow, but it can also help to dramatically improve your employees’ quality of life. Our CTO is fond of saying that we don’t sell database automation solutions, we sell dance recitals, baseball games, and date nights. In a COVID-19 world, it means providing more time with loved ones and being able to help your employees adjust to helping their kids with online school and balancing the needs of their home life with improving their performance at work.
2. More effective spend
If database automation saves time and time is money, simple logic suggests that your software budget will be less tied up in labor costs and free to be invested in the breakthrough decisions that will take your organization to the next level. Automation of manual database tasks liberates your mind and precious budget to better serve (or lead) your team and put your money where it’s most needed, like building a larger development team to build more features or hiring more user experience professions to improve the UI for your customers. The bottom line: database automation solutions all but guarantee a positive ROI when effectively implemented.
As your initial software digital transformation efforts begin to find their groove, a great problem arises: your current tech stack—whether that be creating tickets with ServiceNow for your DBAs to review database code or Slacking your database team to check if code works—will no longer cut it. It simply gets painful to wait for the database changes to keep up with the speed of your application code commits. If your organization is lucky enough to be growing at that kind of pace, you should do two things:
- Dance a celebratory jig and send dancing gifs to all of your coworkers.
- Invest in an effective database automation solution that can support both your short and long-term growth.
The first is cost-free and the second sets the stage for years of potential growth. The value of a software stack that matches your business’ long-term vision simply can’t be overstated. Aside from having the tools in place to better track and understand your database code lifecycle, there’s nothing more comforting for an ambitious organization than having all the pieces in place to be fully compliant and have a reliable audit trail to scale into.
4. Strengthened team
The epitome of frenemies: app developers hound DBAs for faster review of their database code, while DBAs chastise developers for not abiding by the rules. Allow me to introduce the olive branch that has escaped modern businesses for decades: database automation makes quick work of strengthening the relationship between these two teams. The more app developers can self-serve, the less time DBAs have to spend manually reviewing code for the same issues over and over again. Developers get instant feedback on what they’re working on in the moment, they don’t get taken out of their flow. DBAs are less stressed. Project managers are happy with their team’s increased productivity and cost reductions, CEOs and board members will revel in the increased speed of features into the hands of customers, all thanks to the power of the right database automation solution. It’s a win-win-win between developers, DBAs, and leadership. Kumbaya, indeed.
5. Concrete measures of success
Top database automation solutions have some manner of reporting, which is critical in today’s data-driven world. Beyond that though, the elite database automation solutions can even ensure database standards and compliance requirements are being met and forecast future database states, virtually eliminating bad database deployments.
These are just five of what may be hundreds of benefits to investing in a database automation solution. If your business is still just using manual processes and using ticketing systems to track important database updates, it’s time to ask yourself the following: Do you want regained hours, lower operational costs, faster software releases, symbiotic development and database teams, and irrefutable evidence that your work is valued? I know the answer, and I think you know your organization’s next step. Check out what Liquibase has to offer for teams of all sizes and needs.