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Automation a major focus at UKFast

UKFast has created a chief technology officer role to ensure it can continue to automate more processes across its business

Increasing automation is not just something topical to talk to customers about but is an approach that could liberate more resources for the channel.

The decision by UKFast to move its longest serving employee Neil Lathwood into a newly created chief technology officer role is a demonstration of the cloud players commitment to continue to drive more automation across the business.

In his latest position Lathwood is responsible for delivering a DevOps approach, which involves unifying the system administrators and developers into a single role, and making sure it can automate as many of the solutions it delivers to customers as possible.

"As a business we have been doing this for a few years to automate as much as we can do help staff focus on bringing on new services," he said.

"It is quite easy to throw stuff at the team with projects if you can automate the entire workflow. It means you can have the smart people doing the smart things," he added “It frees up engineer time to work on bigger programmes and platforms.”

He added that developing end to end automation lifted off the repetitive tasks and gave engineers more opportunity to respond to more complex customer needs and develop other services.

"In the last couple of years we have got a lot of automation already in place and are now going back through old products and services and trying to add the automaton wrap," said Lathwood.

There have been some suggestions that customers are not going to be prepared to work with providers that want to help with transformation projects if they themselves have not undergone processes of change.

Back in 2016 Gartner warned the channel that customers were changing and expected them to do the same and stated that those that did not show a willingness to change would find it harder to "remain relevant and competitive".

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