By Werner Herbst, General Manager: Enterprise Compute, Tarsus Distribution
Unlocking new levels of process efficiency and effectiveness
Businesses across the world turned to automation to keep business processes going at a time of social distancing. When employees couldn’t come into the office and businesses couldn’t interact face-to-face with customers, software robots and artificial intelligence (AI) picked up some of the load. Now, organisations of all sizes are asking how they can unlock further benefits by automating more processes.
This trend isn’t restricted to large companies with massive IT budgets. One US surveyfound that two-thirds of workers at small and medium enterprises (SMEs) agreed that automation has helped them be more productive. Meanwhile, around 88% of small businesses said automation enabled their company to compete with larger businesses.
With the adoption of basic automation tools such as robotic process automation (RPA), AI, low-code and business process management (BPM) soaring during the pandemic, the table is set for hyperautomation to be one of the defining trends of 2022. According to Gartner, 85% of its clients report that they will increase or sustain hyperautomation investment strategies over the coming year.
So, what exactly is hyperautomation?
Gartner, which named hyperautomation as one of its key trendsfor 2021 and 2022, offers this definition:
“Hyperautomation is a business-driven, disciplined approach that organisations use to rapidly identify, vet and automate as many business and IT processes as possible. Hyperautomation involves the orchestrated use of multiple technologies, tools or platforms, including AI; machine learning; event-driven software architecture; RPA; BPM and intelligent BPM suites; integration platform as a service; low-code/no-code tools; packaged software; other types of decision, process and task automation tools.”
The benefits of hyperautomation
At a time that businesses wish to become more agile and cost-efficient, automating processes is the key to scaling up their operations and responding rapidly to market conditions and customer needs. It supports their ability to grow quickly while maintaining high service levels, especially in remote and hybrid work environments.
Some of the benefits include:
Better employee engagement—Rather than replacing humans, automation can be used to free their time for more human or strategic work. Releasing them from the drudgery of routine tasks improves their work experience.
Increased productivity—Because machines handle time-consuming and repetitive tasks quicker and with more precision than humans, hyperautomation can drive dramatic improvements in productivity.
Better customer experiences— Hyperautomation can enhance the customer experience by speeding up key processes such as data capture or application approvals while freeing customer service reps to dedicate their attention to the customer rather than systems and processes.
Measurability—A business will be able to track ROI using analytics to measure time and financial savings.
Hyperautomation use cases
Hyperautomation is about end-to-end automation of a business process in business functions like accounts payable, employee onboarding, or security incident reaction and mitigation—not just about automating a simple task or part of a process.
Here are a couple of examples of how hyperautomation might work in practice:
Simplilearn gives the example of a medical aid company creating intelligent billing processes by collecting and consolidating billing details from various departments without human intervention. AI and RPA can be used to identify medical policy coverage and conditions, while intelligent chatbots can support and automate bill submissions.
AI Multiple cites a document processing use case for invoices, purchase orders, receipts, and the like. Technologies such as machine learning, optical character recognition and BPM can be used to automate document processing end-to-end, from data extraction and validation to enrichment.
Gartner recommends that companies that are already using software robots fully integrate RPA with AI and machine learning tools as the next step towards achieving hyperautomation and reducing the need for human intervention. Those that are already moving in this direction are taking a key step forward in their digital transformation journey.