A popular new buzzword is hyperautomation. From a high-level perspective, the term is meant to convey a process and technology-driven approach that is used to digitize and automate business processes. Basically, it is an extension of digital transformation (DX) with an increased focus on AI, machine learning, and fully automated processes. For many organizations, the thought of using advanced technologies to automate processes is obviously attractive. However, the path to achieve this goal is rife with potential pitfalls. Here are some hyperautomation methods, risks, and ways to know if your organization is ready to take on the challenge.
Over the past few years, businesses have put a priority on digitally transforming manual business processes into those that are digital — known as DX. The payoff for DX is accelerated business process flows from which to gain a competitive advantage. But as with all competitive advantages, they wean over time as competitors catch up with their own DX endeavors. Thus, the next obvious step is to reduce any and all manual processes within their current DX integrations to further accelerate the rate at which business processes can be executed. Not only does hyperautomation create a framework where business functions can operate 24/7, but it also further reduces human intervention, which can translate into significant cost savings.
Formulating an Approach to Hyperautomation
A proper approach to hyperautomation is to construct a robust plan both at a macro and micro level. While the end goal of hyperautomation is to automate all business processes across the board using data-driven decision-making through the use of AI, actual implementations should be conducted on a case-by-case basis — only when processes have successfully been implemented and allow for proper levels of scalability and flexibility.
Business leaders and architects must first conduct a high-level map of how their organization is expected to operate both now and into the future. This is required so that the necessary levels of elasticity can be built into hyperautomated processes. For those who expect to pivot their business significantly in the next few years, for example, they will want to be very cautious as to not lock automated systems or processes into today’s business process flows.
That said, it’s likely that regardless of business direction pivots, there will be portions of an enterprise that will not significantly change. It’s these processes that can be earmarked for early hyperautomation. From here, architects can take a micro-level approach and formulate a technological plan to extend automation capabilities and determine the necessary tools required to reach those goals.
Potential Hyperautomation Integration Issues
The risks of jumping into hyperautomation projects without properly vetting macro- and micro-level business opportunities is significant. If existing manual processes are not flexible or efficient, simply automating them using AI/machine learning can at best devalue any benefits that hyperautomation can deliver. In a worst-case scenario, it can hinder a business’s ability to grow or shift to more profitable business ventures.
Also understand that hyperautomation is a fully data-driven approach. Thus, the business must be prepared to collect, curate, and analyze very large and complex data sets. Skills must be required either in-house or externally — often requiring both. Understand that IT professionals with these skillsets are in demand and will demand top dollar to acquire and keep them. Additionally, significant training of IT operations (ITOps) staff will be needed once hyperautomation is implemented into parts of the organization. This will help to ensure that automated processes remain finely tuned to business goals.
How Realistic is Hyperautomation in 2022?
Despite the potential, hyperautomation is probably not a realistic goal for most. While DX has come a long way, there are businesses still struggling to perfect the process of moving manual processes into a new digital world. While some have certainly been successful, they remain the minority. That said, IT leaders should not wait to start down the path of planning for hyperautomation. The process of building a macro- and micro-level road map can start today regardless of where they stand from a DX perspective. Then once DX has successfully been accomplished, the path toward hyperautomation becomes far less risky.