Processes keep us running smoothly and efficiently. Clear step-by-step instructions help systems flow as they should. Runbooks help eliminate the confusion and error that slow us down or cause complicated (and frustrating) problems.
But maintaining some of those processes can be time-consuming and expensive — especially those relying on subject matter experts. To run complex processes effectively and efficiently, you need runbook automation software.
Runbook automation software goes beyond just calling APIs or copying data from one system to another. It provides your team with the tools to diagnose problems, complete tasks and support digital initiatives across the organization.
Let’s dive into how runbook automation software works and some of the best runbook automation tools on the market.
The top runbooks software solutions
- IBM Runbook Automation
- Azure Automation
- Octopus Deploy
What is runbook software?
Runbook automation software supports IT operations workflows by automating repetitive tasks and reducing complications so teams are less dependent on subject matter experts. Runbook automation helps teams troubleshoot, diagnose maintain and manage procedures to improve day-to-day operations without additional heavy lifting.
Benefits of runbooks software
Runbook software has many of the same benefits as standard automation tools, like increasing team productivity and reducing the time and effort spent solving problems, distributing resources and solving problems.
But runbook software has many benefits of its own, including:
- Managing complex operational processes. Runbook software does what most standard automation tools can’t: handle multi-step or contingent processes that go beyond simply moving data or information from one tool to the next. Runbook software helps teams automate complicated tasks or processes that might not be clear-cut.
- Distributing knowledge quickly and accurately. As companies undergo digital transformation initiatives, you must keep teams in the loop on new processes or procedures. Runbook automation software creates runbooks to handle knowledge distribution, so your team is always kept up to date.
- Enabling all team members to complete complicated tasks. Stop depending on subject matter experts to complete your most difficult repetitive work. With runbook automation, team members with any skill level can run automation to move complex tasks to the next level, so your subject matter experts can focus their skills elsewhere.
- Better incident response time. Incidents equal lost revenue, frustrated users and stressed employees. Runbook automation software improves incident response time so problems are solved faster and more efficiently, keeping teams productive without frustration.
Features of runbooks software
Runbook automation software has many of the same functionalities and features as traditional automation tools. But because of the complicated nature of the processes runbook software manages, you’ll want to keep an eye out for some particular features.
- Integrations. Complex processes often depend on multiple tools or platforms to get from start to finish. Reduce disruption by making sure your runbook automation tool can integrate with the tools and platforms your team already uses.
- Access control and usability. While you want your runbook software to empower team members of all skill levels to complete complex tasks, you don’t want to give away too much power and end up with messy processes. Runbook software should have different access control and usability features. This way, team members have the exact level of control they need to do their jobs.
- Manage data. Your data is the most critical component of keeping processes running smoothly. Your runbook software should make managing and overseeing information stored across your different platforms and tools easy.
Runbooks software solutions in 2023
Here are the top runbook automation software solutions to consider in 2023.
G2 Rating: N/A
Capterra Rating: N/A
Rundeck Pricing: Free plan available
Rundeck automation enables any team member to complete self-service operational tasks and navigate complex IT environments. Rundeck connects tickets, tools and infrastructure, and monitoring to empower your team to get the most out of automation in a secure, auditable, and easy way. Rundeck is designed with smaller teams and small-scale operations in mind, making it a perfect tool for businesses that are still growing.
Rundeck is an open-source, community-driven platform that provides support through user forums. Users get advice and direction from other users, providing insights from people who know the platform best. For teams that want some additional support and guidance, sign up for the Enterprise License subscription.
2. IBM Runbook Automation
G2 Rating: 4.8/5 stars
Capterra: 4.5/5 stars
IBM Runbook Automation Pricing: Available on request
IBM Runbook Automation Features:
IBM Runbook Automation allows IT teams to build and execute runbooks and automate procedures where human interaction isn’t necessary. IBM Runbook Automation provides team support while simultaneously simplifying tasks and orchestrating all types of infrastructure elements, including applications and servers.
Backed by the IBM brand, IBM Runbook Automation can provide peace of mind to users that they have an expert team supporting their operations. It’s also a great addition for teams already relying on IBM’s technology to get their work done. IBM Runbook Automation works best when your team is already operating in the IBM ecosystem.
G2 Rating: 5/5 stars
Capterra Rating: 4.3/5 stars
Scribe Pricing: Free plan available
Scribe automatically generates step-by-step process instructions for team members to quickly and easily share knowledge and training materials.
As a runbook automation tool, Scribe empowers team members of all experience levels to tackle complex issues with minimal direction from subject matter experts. This can skyrocket your team’s productivity.
The SOP generator enables your experienced team members to develop guides and runbooks in minutes.
Just use the Scribe record feature as you run through a task. Scribe will automatically screenshot and document any steps you take, code you write and even clicked links.
Share Scribe via link or embed in any knowledge base. Scribes are just as easy to update as they are to make, ensuring your runbook always has the most accurate information.
4. Azure Automation
G2 Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Capterra Rating: 4.6/5 stars
Azure Automation Pricing: Custom quote
Azure Automation Features:
Azure Automation is Microsoft’s cloud operations automation tool. It enables teams to deploy and manage, respond and orchestrate automation for their operations.
Use Azure Automation to manage your Azure environment or connect it to third-party environments to further enhance your automation processes.
Azure automation empowers your team to do everything from schedule tasks and respond to alerts to managing processes and manage resource lifecycles.
As an all-in-one tool for automation, you can create workflows covering everything from your basic needs to your complex tasks and processes. Keeping all your automation under one tool can make your tech stack more manageable across your entire organization.
5. Octopus Deploy
G2 Rating: 4.4/5 stars
Capterra Rating: 4.8/5 stars
Octopus Deploy Pricing: Custom quote
Octopus Deploy Features:
Octopus Deploy promises to make complex deployments easy, allowing for reliable, repeatable and traceable deployments both across the cloud and on-prem.
Automate runbooks from one source, making it easier to break down operation silos to improve reliability and ship code faster. With Octopus Deploy, you can manage the entire deployment process through one easy-to-use app.
Octopus Deploy also integrates with the tools and apps your team is already using, creating a smooth automation ecosystem that empowers your team to be as productive as possible.
It even has a community library with pre-made templates to get your automation deployment up and running, with minimal coding and scripting. Get the most of runbook automation regardless of your team’s skill level.
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Airplane Pricing: Free plans available
Airplane turns APIs, SQL queries and scripts into internal apps your entire team can use. Airplane is built with developers in mind, making it easy to create multi-step runbooks that include integrations and automate workflows with the ability to incorporate manual steps and checks when necessary.
Use Airplane for everything from admin operations to on-call runbooks and long-running tasks.
Airplane makes providing a UI, permissions, audit logs and approvals on top of code simple. You can create easy-to-use and intuitive apps that your entire team can use — regardless of coding skill. Get your runbook automation up and running quickly, without the complex maintenance or implementation procedures required of other runbook software.
Airplane is great for developer-heavy teams ready to hit the ground running.
G2 Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Capterra Rating: 4.6/5 stars
PagerDuty Pricing: Free plans available
PagerDuty helps elevate your digital operations to resolve incidents fast and automate tasks across teams, empowering you to build a more reliable service.
As a runbook automation tool, PagerDuty makes it easier to resolve requests through self-service task automation while optimizing security and compliance.
PagerDuty lets you automate, orchestrate and accelerate responses across your entire organization, going beyond DevOps to include AIOps, Process Automation and Business Operations. Use PagerDuty to cover both back-end and front-end challenges — you can even integrate the platform with over 650 third-party tools to further support your team in providing the right solutions faster.
G2 Rating: 4.2/5 stars
Capterra Rating: 4.4/5 stars
Mattermost Pricing: Free plan available
Mattermost creates checklist-based automations that keep everyone on the same page and ensures all operations processes go as they should.
With Mattermost, you can create Playbooks so teams can see what’s complete, what’s in progress, and what still needs to be done, so everyone knows exactly where a process is in real-time.
Mattermost uses a mix of manual and automated tasks to easily streamline process phases that don’t need hands-on direction while accounting for the more complex situations or scenarios. It also incorporates robust analytics and reporting so you can use data to improve your processes and further enhance your team’s productivity.
G2 Rating: 4.8/5 stars
Capterra Rating: 4.8/5 stars
Make Pricing: Free plans available
Make (formerly Integromat) lets you automate just about everything — including your runbooks. It’s a no-code workflow automation tool that makes it easy to create and automate workflows visually, empowering your team to automate processes and systems regardless of your team’s skill level.
Make is a great option for teams without extensive coding experience or that want to quickly automate their runbooks.
Make uses drag-and-drop technology to create automated workflows. Connect the apps you already use to manage all your processes and systems under a single platform. Make even has a number of free templates that you can copy or customize to get your automated workflows up and running even faster.
G2 Rating: 4.7/5 stars
Capterra Rating: 4.6/5 stars
Pricing: Custom pricing
Redwood eliminates the need to have manual tasks in your operating procedures, using low-code automation to help you streamline your runbook workflows. Manage automated workflows and dependencies both on-prem and in the cloud with reusable process steps, sequences, and calendars.
Redwood also makes it easy to streamline incident management to reduce time to resolution and provide faster troubleshooting. Auto-generated compliance trails record incident details and resolutions provided so you can always check back and ensure the processes your system is following are accurate and appropriate. Accelerated notifications and diagnostic communications help you identify and solve problems faster, reducing pressure on your team and keeping customers happy.
Choosing the right runbooks software for your team
Runbooks software can help your team do more in less time, allowing them to focus on the challenges that keep them engaged with their work.
But choosing the right software can feel overwhelming. When selecting the right runbooks software for your team, consider who will be using it, their experience level and how quickly you need to get your workflows automated and running.
Don’t be afraid to try out a few different tools or incorporate multiple solutions to get the most out of your runbooks.
A documentation platform like Scribe can help enhance your runbook automation onboarding — not matter what software you choose.