Hyperautomation is a discipline that connects three different techniques - Digital Process Automation (DPA), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The vision by implementing this discipline is to take a more holistic approach to automation rather than focusing on separate elements and tasks.
In an attempt to make something complex easier to understand, we've illustrated it with something we're all familiar with, whipping cream. A company that has yet to start its automation journey is often struggling with manual and tedious ways of working and information chaos - they're using a manual whisk. It doesn't take long before the benefits start to show when an electric mixer replaces the manual whip. The choice of going back to the manual whisk is far from enticing. Add an intelligent timer to the mix, and you've achieved the last step by adding AI. The mixer knows precisely when to stop to get that perfect and fluffy whipped cream.
So why are leading companies implementing the combination of these three technologies? What are the benefits?
1. Future-proof your ways of working
The last couple of years will undoubtedly be firmly associated with change. Most companies and organizations have been forced to review their routines and ways of working to address new demands and challenges. This can be, for example, in regards to more people doing their shopping online, which has led to more returns or hyper-personalization in both sales and product development. Regardless, the need for new support and methods has never been more apparent to stay competitive and sustain a high level of customer satisfaction. Simplifying for the customer is not enough, however. It needs to perpetuate throughout the organization, especially when Generation Z becomes more and more prominent in executive roles and expects a certain standard for software and ease of use.
Recent years have simultaneously challenged those who considered the status quo sufficient. It's no longer an option to turn a blind eye to the fact that changes will continue to define and affect our day-to-day life. The tricky part is to project when the following significant change or catalyst will happen and what it'll be.
Here are a few examples of how Hyperautomation help future-proof your ways of working:
- It creates a clear and transparent structure for how the process is shaped
- It reduces personal dependence, and digital and automated flows drive the work forward instead
- It allows for cross-functional work where each department can monitor and work in their section of the workflow
2. Automate end-to-end
One alternative is to implement tactical automation. Tactical automation focuses on isolated areas and is often more reactive than proactive. This reactive approach could, for example, be an area that has plagued employees for a more extended period. Parts of the process are streamlined by making minor adjustments to employees' thorn in the side.
The second alternative is to implement a holistic approach, i.e., strategic automation. Instead of being reactive, as aforementioned in the tactical approach, strategic automation is all about being proactive while having the bigger picture in mind. From manual or partially automated ways of working into fully automated. Strategic automation demands an organization-wide acceptance. It doesn't just affect one department or a certain number of individuals. It's about creating a cohesive vision for how the organization moves forward and reinventing current ways of working.
3. Increased visibility
In the example above, the tactical automation approach takes a more narrow standpoint from how the automation is implemented. The result is often that only fragmented parts of the entire process are automated. We all know how that ends. People start improvising outside of the standardized workflow. A consequence of this is that follow-up and monitoring become troublesome without a common denominator that enforces consistent ways of working.
A cohesive eco-system of software where different techniques and systems can communicate allows for better follow-ups and monitoring and provides a foundation for identifying improvement areas.
As an example, processes regarding returns contain several steps. Companies have focused on facilitating for the customer when looking in the rear-view mirror. This focus has resulted in many companies neglecting the internal handling of such cases. Some of the steps that need reviewing when a customer returns an item are:
- Why is the item returned?
- How should the customer be compensated?
- When is the item going to be returned?
- Is this a recurring issue with a specific item?
- How should the returned item be handled?
These steps create different data points that can function as decision support henceforth. When lacking a structured workflow and automated support, the best-case scenario is a tremendous amount of work chasing and analyzing data. However, in most cases, the consequence is a complete absence of follow-up and an enormous amount of waste.
4. Flexibility to face disruptive events
If there's one thing we've learned over the past two years, it's that we have to become more flexible and agile to face disruptive events that overturn our everyday life. It can be a volcanic eruption, a ship stuck in the Suez canal, or a global pandemic.
One fundamental basis to adapt or readjust is a deep knowledge of current ways of working. If the first step is to map out work procedures, you're already lagging behind the competition. It practically eats precious time, and the risk that competitors who act faster gain valuable market shares is imminent.
Leveraging automation software and defined ways of working shorten that first step. Valuable data points can help identify areas of improvement and even become automated via AI. If one lever is turned here, another one should be turned over there. That decision support can be the decisive factor between winning or losing.
5. Free up time for innovation
Administrative, manual, and improvised work tasks are an everyday occurrence for most. If we could cut these even in half, there are vast time-savings to be made. This is, of course, a balancing act. Will the time-savings lead to an added workload, or will it be set aside for innovation. When co-workers get more time on their hands and spend that time refining and improving the business, there's a win-win. Not only will the company improve and streamline the business, but the employee will also be contributing for real.
Interested to learn more about Hyperautomation? Download Gartner's report Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2022: Hyperautomation.