Organizations need to maximize productivity, minimize expenses and, ultimately, operate with increased efficiency to succeed in today’s economy. Hyperautomation can help you get ahead.
However, there are also a number of challenges that can come with hyperautomation projects. This post will break down both the benefits and challenges of hyperautomation.
What is hyperautomation?
Hyperautomation is the use of automation technology to streamline any and every process possible in an organization, enabling repetitive processes to run without manual intervention. Hyperautomation uses artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and robotic process automation (RPA) to transform modern and legacy processes and equipment. This digital transformation can help an organization gain cost and resource efficiencies that enable it to thrive in a more competitive landscape.
Who is using hyperautomation, and why?
The hype surrounding hyperautomation is real, and it can help your organization get ahead in today’s fast-paced, highly distributed, resource-starved environment. Any organization can adopt and benefit from hyperautomation technology, whether your processes are already automated or not, or your equipment is new or old.
With a highly remote workforce, resulting in fewer staff members at facilities, many industries have been hit hard by the inability to move as quickly as they desire or need to.
Some needs and goals that drive organizations towards hyperautomation include the following:
- The need to keep up with demand
- Outdated work processes resulting in latency/inability to compete
- The inability of corporate IT to keep up with the needs of the business due to lack of resources or knowledge
- Employee curiosity and ambition
- The need to meet regulatory compliance
- The desire for consistency of production and higher quality products with less (or no) human error
These needs and goals have resulted in a surge in hyperautomation adoption across many industries. For example, according to Gartner, “Currently, many people touch products and produce before they reach their ultimate destination, but automated factories and farms will soon do most of the work, including farming, picking, packing and shipping. By 2025 more than 20% of all products and produce will first be touched by a human at the time of purchase.” 
Gartner’s projection demonstrates that organizations are realizing the value that hyperautomation can provide to them, and they are moving quickly to implement hyperautomation to streamline their business.
The benefits of hyperautomation
As noted above, hyperautomation extends core automation and RPA with advanced technologies such as AI and machine learning.
Hyperautomation helps organizations:
- Gain efficiencies by automating many processes across their business.
- Optimize workflow allocation by ensuring repetitive tasks are completed consistently and efficiently.
- Reduce costs by using digital technologies to automate tasks that are otherwise replace tasks requiring manual intervention.
- Increase agility by providing quicker, richer insights for more accurate decision-making.
- Produce products of higher quality with faster time to market by leveraging more intelligence, improved consistency and reduced human error.
- Make better business decisions, identify areas for improvement and enhance customer experience by capturing more data and providing insights on that data.
- Reduce the technical expertise needed to configure and manage automation tools and automation solutions.
Hyperautomation is especially advantageous for organizations with legacy operations or low automation levels. These organizations can see real results through digital process automation and infrastructure automation to increase connectivity, agility or efficiency of business operations.
The challenges of hyperautomation
Before embarking on a hyperautomation journey, it is important to pay close attention to the “up-front” details to help ensure a smooth implementation. Some of the most common challenges include the following:
- Knowing how to measure success
- Developing and adhering to a realistic project timeline
- Ensuring that you have end-to-end leadership for the entire project
- Being able to calculate tangible and intangible ROI up front, as accurately as possible
- Choosing the right solution from the ever-growing and evolving marketplace of products
- Gaining stakeholder and management support for a new and unfamiliar approach
How to solve hyperautomation challenges
The following actions can help ensure your implementation project will be successful:
Rely on internal expertise
Identify the experts in the processes as they exist today from the business side and the technical side. Who understands the inputs, mechanics and results the best? Do you have experts in-house who are familiar with the new technology and solutions? Ensure these people are involved in the project from the start.
Proactively manage the change
- Take a top-down approach to garner enthusiasm and support. Involve management, stakeholders and customers within the organization to ensure you have buy-in. This effort will provide exponential returns as the positive perceptions reverberate throughout the organization.
- Whenever a process is automated, particularly with hyperautomation, you should expect to encounter employee fears of replacement and concerns about the value and competency of technology. Take the time to assuage their fears.
- Retrain employees wherever possible. This not only provides a more knowledgeable user base, but also eases concerns about job security and longevity, garnering increased support. In addition, it not only boosts the knowledge of team members, but can increase the number of individuals with that knowledge. This translates to faster resolution of any issues that may arise.
Identify the barriers and risks to your effort
What constraints may pose a challenge as you start moving forward? If you can mitigate or remediate any risks or constraints up front, your process will proceed more smoothly.
Determine what processes should be addressed early, versus which processes can wait
Use process mining to evaluate your existing processes and develop process maps to determine where high value exists. Create a digital twin to evaluate process effectiveness and determine where improvements can be made.
Provide the opportunity to practice in sandboxes
Give employees a risk-free way to explore. The resulting familiarity and comfort level will ease implementation and also determine where training is needed or where issues may arise.
Hyperautomation use cases
Hyperautomation can be used by any industry, and in some cases, the technology is customizable or already customized for the needs of that particular business or industry.
In fact, according to the aforementioned study by Gartner, “By 2024, 80% of hyperautomation offerings will have limited industry-specific depth,” making it easier to deploy and gain efficiencies right away. In other words, by 2024, we should expect to see hyperautomation solutions for specific industries — such as the automotive manufacturing industry — with industry-specific hooks and functionality designed to ease the process.
Here are a few industry-specific examples demonstrating the benefits of hyperautomation.
- Healthcare: The healthcare industry, with so many repetitive processes, contractual obligations and regulations to comply with, is in a prime position to use hyperautomation with technologies like natural language processing (NLP) to provide automated services, speed processes, reduce costs and provide higher quality.
- Industrial: Hyperautomation is akin to a second industrial revolution. Production facilities can use hyperautomation technologies along with business process management (BPM) to produce higher quality products at scale. Many industrial environments also use legacy systems and processes that could benefit from optimization.
- Financial services: The financial services industry involves many calculations, transactions and communications with customers, buyers, fund managers and other entities. Hyperautomation, along with technologies like optical character recognition (OCR), can reduce manual intervention while ensuring high-quality results on front- and back-end processes. Hyperautomation can also aid economic recovery from the pandemic.
The use of hyperautomation is becoming a priority for many businesses affected by COVID-19. Industries across the globe have dealt with productivity issues due to a reduced workforce, imposed capacity limitations and unanticipated fluctuations in demand. Hyperautomation is being adopted to address many of the resulting challenges by automating and accelerating repetitive processes. Companies are also using intelligent automation to increase consistency and quality — while often reducing costs.
Hyperautomation and IBM
If you’re ready to use hyperautomation in your business, we recommend getting started with IBM Cloud Pak® for Business Automation. This is a set of integrated, market-leading software designed to help you solve your toughest operational challenges.
IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation provides AI-generated recommendations, analytics to measure impact and business-friendly low-code tooling to help you reduce the amount of time spent on manual process and decrease customer wait times. With IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation, you can better comply with regulations to reduce risk and reallocate your time toward higher-value work.
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 The Gartner 2021 Predictions: Accelerate Results Beyond RPA to Hyperautomation, November 30, 2020