For a short answer you could start by saying:
"By workload automation we mean software that automates the many back-office processes your business applications need to run. Workload automation goes beyond job scheduling, allowing enterprises to integrate and manage dependencies for processes that span multiple business applications and heterogeneous server platforms. Workload automation includes job scheduling which has historically been used to manage the submission of jobs at the operating system level."
Well, that’s all very tidy but what does that mean, and more importantly why did workload automation happen?
Workload automation emerged coincident with the adoption of packaged applications, including ERP tools and industry-specific solutions. Most packaged applications are built around providing end users with an extensive range of on-line interactive services.
To ensure users benefited from access to responsive systems, application providers typically create "black box" environments in which to run their solutions. This allows them to manage the dispatching of transactions, database interactions and other resource requests that might potentially impact performance and end-user response times. In this way, packaged applications became abstracted from the underlying IT operating systems on which they are running.
Just about every enterprise using a packaged application needs to run some kind of batch processing. This could be a national retailer needing to run merchandizing and distribution processes to ensure stores are replenished in readiness for opening the following day.
Another example is a charge card provider processing and reconciling purchases to customers’ accounts. Most packaged applications do provide an environment in which to run batch workload. Unfortunately, most operating systems-based schedulers are unable to reach into the packaged application to submit and monitor jobs. Workload automation tools overcome this challenge through their application awareness, leveraging vendor interfaces where available, to manage and monitor the back-office, background processing that are critical to business operations.
Originally, packaged applications were created with features focused on supporting a specific or set of business functions, such as financial reporting and supply chain management. However, it wasn’t long before vendors realized their users (and they) could benefit from an integrated solution that spanned the many functions involved in performing key business processes. What followed were truly grand designs that were probably brilliant in the creation but perhaps less convincing in the execution, with customers less than 100% enthusiastic to turn over all their IT business processing and be tied into one provider.
While some application providers did a good job integrating the constituent parts of their overall offering, most failed to address the key challenge customers faced, which was working with third party applications. Workload automations solves this through being able to reach into applications, drive activities based on external events, and orchestrate complex process flows running on disparate operating system platforms.
In this way, enterprises accelerate the turnaround time on processes that are critical to business success.
Of course, this is only the beginning of the workload automation story. It is also the end of the job scheduling story...