This article has been written by Mohit Sharma, Founder and Executive Chairman, Mindfields and is the first one from a series of three about Hyperautomation to be published by Forbes.
Up until a few years ago, most organizations wrestled with many simple, repetitive and rules-based tasks and processes. A vast army of people — who managed mundane tasks — could have otherwise been deployed to do something more productive and worthwhile had there been a choice.
Everything changed when Robotic Process Automation (RPA) came into the picture. The dull and repetitive tasks could now be assigned to automation robots. They completed tasks faster and with near precision. RPA increased operational efficiency, accuracy and error reduction. All in all, it improved employee productivity and helped accomplish business goals faster. The ability to handle repetitive processes made RPA the fastest-growing technology of the global enterprise software market in 2018, according to Gartner. That said, organizations still need to invest in humans when it comes to using intelligence, making decisions and giving suggestions.
TAKING A BIG LEAP FROM RPA
Automation has limits. Should that mean that an organization's automation journey is confined to merely rule-based, repetitive jobs? What about all other tasks that aren’t simple, repetitive and routine, the ones dependent on intelligent decision-making? Can RPA graduate to that level?
This is where hyperautomation comes into the picture. “A single tool or … siloed strategies” can’t help organizations leapfrog from RPA, according to Gartner, but hyperautomation - a powerful and intelligent approach to automation — combines the power of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP) and optical character recognition (OCR).
Hyperautomation adds intelligence to automation and broadens its scope beyond RPA. Many additional processes — independent of repetition and structure which an enterprise uses - can be automated through hyperautomation. Automation robots powered by AI and backed by ML can deal with unstructured information and make more nuanced decisions. This enables organizations to serve customer requirements and achieve business objectives faster.
HOW HYPERAUTOMATION BENEFITS ORGANIZATIONS?
Manually identifying and prioritizing company-wide processes and tasks for automation is a time-consuming and expensive process. But hyperautomation can be set up to help employees by using AI to analyze processes and tasks. It can scientifically understand the everyday tasks performed by employees and suggest the best ideas for automation. Here are few use cases for hyperautomation:
Accelerate complex work
Hyperautomation creates a high-speed path to transform the business with the aid of increased automation of complex tasks and processes that usually depend on human input and knowledge.
Deploy digital twins
Hyperautomation also helps create a digital twin of the organization (DTO), which makes visible the previously invisible interactions between processes, functions and key performance indicators (KPIs). AI- and ML-powered automation robots can, for example, perform repetitive yet intuitive tasks like reading invoices, sales reports, contracts and official documents. They can also help in tasks like reading, listening and engaging in a conversation which helps leverage the intelligence to respond to and identify new opportunities at record speed.
No more live agents
By harnessing the power of OCR, NLP and AI/ML, hyperautomation dynamically discovers the business processes and creates bots to automate them. It can independently replace live agents with digital ones as the first point of communication for some customers. It can help users navigate support articles and knowledge bases, order products or services and manage accounts. Similarly, it can quickly gather feedback left by users on different platforms like social media, blogs, support tickets and other forms and turn it into an actionable insight.
In essence, hyperautomation harnesses the power of multiple technologies to bring together employees, systems and automation robots to work toward an organization's business outcomes and goals.
How To Know If Your Organization Is Ready For Hyperautomation?
The success and pace of hyperautomation adoption are dependent on various factors, such as:
Vision and maturity of the organization in terms of technology Component of legacy technology in the portfolio of the organization Organizational culture / Motivation to change Interdepartmental dynamics
Though the benefits of hyperautomation outweigh the costs many times over, organizations need to be realistic about their ability to assimilate the changes that hyperautomation likely requires. To access their readiness, they not only have to look at the technology aspect but also at the cultural aspects. An extensive audit to make that assessment is the first step.
Another important consideration is the speed of implementation. Often, an automation drive may not yield the desired results if it isn’t completed within the stipulated time frame. The team implementing automation must develop and adhere to a realistic project timeline.
Last but not the least, they have to also take into consideration external factors such as competitive pressures on the organization’s business model. If the organization is in a state of flux due to competitive pressures or disruptions in the industry that are necessitating it to relook at its business model, there’s a high likelihood that the focus required to successfully implement hyperautomation may be lacking.
The Road Ahead
Before embarking on a hyperautomation journey, every organization should align with three key goals: revenue, costs and risks. It’s necessary for organizations to find answers to key questions such as: Will the hyperautomation of the process result in better efficiency and reduced costs? What are the risks associated with the implementation? Will the organization be able to assign the necessary resources required for a successful implementation? Is the organization’s vision aligned to implement hyperautomation? Will the results of this automation benefit customers, community and colleagues? Is the hyperautomation responsible?
Organizations need to find satisfactory answers to critical questions before embarking on the hyperautomation journey, which I will discuss in my next article. Once the roadmap is set, it steers the path clear for the next steps.
Founder and Exec Chairman
Thought Leader | Trusted Advisor | Innovator