Chapter 13. Never Send a Human to Do a Machine’s Job

Automate Everything; What You Can’t Automate, Make a Self-Service

Sending a machine to do a human’s job
Sending a machine to do a human’s job

Who would have thought that you can learn so much about large-scale IT architecture from the movie trilogy The Matrix? Acknowledging that the Matrix is run by machines, it should not be completely surprising to find some nuggets of system design wisdom, though: Agent Smith teaches us that one should never send a human to do a machine’s job after his deal with Cypher, one of Morpheus’ human crew members, to betray and hand over his boss failed.

Automate Everything!

There’s a certain irony in the fact that corporate IT, which has largely established itself by automating business processes, is often not very automated itself. Early in my corporate career, I shocked a large assembly of infrastructure architects by declaring my strategy as: “automate everything and make those parts that can’t be automated a self-service.” The reaction ranged from confusion and disbelief to mild anger. Still, this is exactly what Amazon et al. have done. And it has revolutionized how people procure and access IT infrastructure along the way. These companies have also attracted the top talent in the industry to build said infrastructure. If corporate IT wants to remain relevant, this is the way it ought to be thinking!

It’s Not Only About Efficiency ...

Get The Software Architect Elevator now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.