The automation of business processes was already in a state of increasing adoption long before the pandemic began. However, the rapid shift to remote work coupled with COVID-19’s economic impact has kicked automation into high gear. Organizations are seeking to improve efficiency and reduce cost by reducing employees’ time spent on manual tasks.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) platforms have traditionally driven this transformation, but with the increased demand for a variety of use cases, many organizations are finding RPA tools inadequate. And they’re wanting to add more intelligence to automation. This is where what’s called hyperautomation comes into play.
A primer on hyperautomation
Hyperautomation, predicted by Gartner to be a top strategic technology trend in 2021, is the idea that anything that can be automated in an organization should be. The analyst firm notes that it’s “driven by organizations having legacy business processes that aren’t streamlined, creating immensely expensive and extensive issues for organizations.”
As Gartner noted, “Hyperautomation brings a set of technologies like document ingestion, process mining, business process management, decision modeling, RPA with iPaaS, and AI-based intelligence.” This concept has different names: Gartner refers to it as hyperautomation, Forrester calls it Digital Process Automation (DPA) and IDC calls it Intelligent Process Automation (IPA).
In contrast, RPA is a form of business process automation: software or hardware systems automate repetitive, simple tasks, and these systems work across multiple applications – just as employees do. One of the challenges with RPA, especially in its early days, is that it didn’t scale easily. A 2019 report by Gartner found only 13% of enterprises were able to scale their early RPA initiatives.
Now enterprises have turned their attention to hyperautomation, which is not merely an extension of RPA, which was only the first step in this direction.
The term “technical debt” describes the predicament many organizations eventually find themselves in. It arises from legacy systems, suboptimal processes and bottlenecks, unstructured data residing in silos, lack of centralized data architecture and security gaps. Business processes are usually operational using a patchwork of technologies and are not optimized, coherent, or consistent. Collectively, they hamper operational capabilities and dampen value propositions to customers.
Whereas most tools are created to solve one problem or accomplish one goal, hyperautomation combines multiple technologies to help organizations develop strategic advantages based on the underlining operational environment. It focuses on adding progressive intelligence across workflows rather than traditional automation solutions. Each of the technology components is designed to enhance an organization’s ability to intelligently automate processes.
The growth and business benefits of hyperautomation
Gartner analysts forecast the market for software that enables hyperautomation will reach almost $860 billion by 2025. This is a rapidly growing market – and it’s little wonder, given that hyperautomation empowers organizations to achieve operational excellence and ensure resilience across business processes. What organization wouldn’t want this?
Hyperautomation offers huge potential for several important business benefits, including increased ROI, as well as:
Connecting distributed systems: Hyperautomation enables distributed enterprise software and data storage systems to communicate seamlessly with each other so as to provide deeper analytics into process bottlenecks and to drive efficiencies.
Add decision making to automation: Use AI to automate decision making and take live data-driven decisions just as any human operator would do.
Enabling your workforce: Minimizing time-consuming, repetitive tasks and capturing employees’ knowledge to perform such tasks will enable them to focus more on business-critical activities.
Digital agility: Hyperautomation prompts all technology components to function in tandem with business needs and requirements. And this will help organizations achieve a state of true digital agility and flexibility.
Collaboration: Process operators can intuitively automate cross-functional activities, which involves collaboration among multiple stakeholders; it reduces cycle time and boosts productivity.
Transforming your processes
Given the breadth and scope of hyperautomation, it holds the promise of transforming enterprise processes. Despite prevailing thought, it’s not simply an extension of robotic process automation (RPA), though RPA certainly is a step in the right direction. A combination of technologies that come under the umbrella of hyperautomation can be used together to turbocharge enterprise productivity – for example, bringing together document ingestion and AI technologies (like OCR, Computer Vision, NLP, Fuzzy Logic and Machine Learning) in conjunction with business process management can deliver game-changing innovation in enterprise document processing workflows.
It is important to see hyperautomation as a step-by-step enabler and not necessarily a “big bang” project that instantly solves all problems. It takes time, but it is possible to overcome technical debt with the suite of capabilities that hyperautomation offers, bringing with it huge potential for transformation. That’s what makes it a top strategic technology trend.