How to calculate ROI on IT infrastructure automation

Prove the value of automation by speaking the language of your stakeholders.

74% of global businesses use cost savings as their top metric for measuring cloud progress. That reflects the attitudes of stakeholders, who are generally interested in one thing: return on investment (ROI).

Proving the value of IT automation is complicated due to its complexity. With priority metrics varying between businesses, determining your automation calculation will take some introspection.

Below is an outline to guide your automation ROI calculation.

The ROI Formula:
[Net Value / Cost of Investment x 100]

To calculate your return on any investment, divide your net value by the total invested cost. To put it into a percentage (a favourite among stakeholders), multiply your answer by 100. That percentage value indicates how many times you have ‘returned’ your investment.

This simple calculation that most businesspeople recognise forms the basis of your automation calculation. The difference is that it’s more difficult to quantify your investment and value when they relate to something as interminable as infrastructure automation.

Automation Value

To work out the value of your automation, first consider how your business makes profit. A simple example of this is the hourly rate saved by speeding up procedures. If a process that took 10 hours now takes 1, that is 9 hour’s salary saved.

But one reason automation is more difficult to quantify is that it isn’t just Developers that use the systems and processes automation is built to enhance. Add non-technological teams and maybe even downstream clients to the equation and the value increases significantly.

Alongside Developers, other core groups like IT operations, admin, HR and management all save time when processes are sped up.

Here’s an example: an organisation decides to automate incident response using GitHub and Red Hat Ansible (psst – it was likely Advent One who implemented it). Specifically, they want to automate an isolate and remediate response to detected malware.

It isn’t just the IT team that would usually conduct this task whose time is saved. The employees with infected endpoints, their teams and perhaps customers are all affected by the system downtime.

The time taken to log the incident, assure compliance and security and reinstate the endpoint are all reduced by automating the entire process. In turn, this reduced time and costs means more opportunities to innovate and optimise other areas of the business, boosting market value.

That’s where the value of infrastructure automation begins to escalate.

Automation Investment

Your investment is slightly easier to calculate, but still holds more facets than your standard ROI calculation. For some organisations, proving the value of automation is an investment in itself.

To alleviate the initial investment cost, partner with an automation expert like Advent One. Using our industry experience and technical knowledge, Advent One creates an automation strategy that achieves maximum value from the outset.

How to Decide What’s Worth Automating

Almost any process can be automated, but just because you can, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Manjunath Bath, VP Analyst at Gartner recommends automating the smaller, easier processes first.

Bath explains that removing the human element – and therefore human error – from processes is the best place to start. He also suggests cost reduction should be the final step, once efficiency and productivity have been optimised.

Processes that your team conducts multiple times per day may be worth automating, as might those that take a substantial amount of time. Using the ROI calculation, work out what your low-hanging fruits are and capture them first.

Approaching Automation Sensitively

It’s no secret that automation concerns some workers. Anyone whose job could be automated may worry about losing their jobs. But automation does not equal redundancy, and the true value of automation is the time it frees for employees to spend on other tasks.

Highlight career growth and a reduction of mundane daily processes to boost productivity and support for infrastructure automation. Invest in training your teams and encourage employees to take on tasks outside their current remit.

Even if stakeholders don’t prioritise employee satisfaction over ROI, the two go hand in hand. Investing in training employees will boost the value of automation, and automation will boost their productivity and motivation.

Engage Advent One to Calculate ROI

Partnering with a Hybrid Cloud automation and orchestration expert such as Advent One enables you to maximise ROI from your cloud-based infrastructure. With a team comprised of Hybrid Cloud automation experts, we can also help you prove its value.

Taking an engineering-led approach to automation, Advent One automates IT processes to streamline your business activities. Our services range from fully managed transformations to consulting in individual areas. You decide the level of support you need.


Our team can help you build a business case proving ROI to secure funding and support if needed. Arrange a time to speak to the experts and find out how Hybrid Cloud automation can optimise the value of your IT infrastructure.