Robotic process automation (RPA) is a well-established means of automating repetitive business processes implemented in software. It’s been around since the early 2000s. However since then great strides have been made in machine learning and artificial intelligence. Combined with RPA tools they enable much greater levels of automation of many business processes. This is hyperautomation. It enables automation of a much greater range of business processes than RPA and much deeper integration of automation into those processes, enabling processes to be streamlined end-to-end.
Hyperautomation is a key enabler of digital transformation, often touted as being necessary for an organisation’s survival, but often hampered by economic pressures and talent shortages. Gartner sees these inhibitors driving an annual 11.9 percent growth in the market for “software that enables hyperautomation,” to $US1.04 trillion by 2026.
Another research company, Mordor Intelligence, is forecasting annual CAGR of 19.8 percent to 2028, taking the value of the market for hyperautomation tools and services to $US26.67b. Mordor Intelligence sees the increasing incorporation of machine learning tools into hyperautomation products as being one of the main drivers of market growth. These tools bring benefits beyond automation. They enable greater efficiency and accuracy and error reduction, better decision making, better compliance and risk management, process optimisation and greater agility.
Successful implementation of hyperautomation goes well beyond simply identifying a task to be automated and deploying a tool to do so, as would be the case with RPA. It requires careful analysis of all processes, and in many cases changes to how individual process operate and interact.
To this end, a hyperautomation offering comprises a suite of integrated tools and services that together enable an organisation to effectively and securely hyperautomate its operations.
Typically these would include:
• Process discovery: comprises process mining to identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies and task mining to identify user interactions in process, enabling those processes for which automation will deliver maximum benefits to be given priority.
• Process automation: the application, evaluation and monitoring of RPA tools to the processes identified above.
• Process optimisation: processes are examined, re-engineered, standardised and carefully tested prior to being automated processes.
• Organisational change management (OCM): processes do not exist in isolation from organisational structures. OCM techniques are needed to ensure end-to-end business engagement with the introduction of hyperautomation and to increase user adoption and employee satisfaction.
• Robotic process automation (RPA): as discussed above, RPA tools represent a component of hyperautomation.
• Intelligent document processing: uses artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to automate the processing of documents and unstructured data. It enables the streamlining of document-centric business processes by extracting information from documents and making it usable for further analysis or integration into other systems.
• AI chatbots: use artificial intelligence and natural language processing to provide human-like responses to user queries that provide relevant information or take actions in response to specific requests.
• Low code software development: enables people with little or no expertise in programming languages to produce software applications by using visual interfaces supported by prebuilt software components.
• Business process management: an approach that makes a company’s workflow more effective, efficient and adaptable to new developments. It enables businesses to be more flexible and decrease their spending. Business process management systems integrate business processes, keep track of running instances of these processes and coordinate the execution of these business processes.
Identifying Hyperautomation Use Cases
It is easy to look at a discrete process and see potential for its automation and what hyperautomation tools could be applied to it, but this is not the correct approach. Any candidate process for hyperautomation should be evaluated in the wider context of business priorities.
Start by defining your organisation’s goals for hyperautomation. Are you aiming to achieve specific business value, streamline functions, or deliver improved services? Having clear goals will guide your approach and strategy.
Next, prioritise automation initiatives based on their potential impact. Evaluate which processes, functions or services will have the most significant influence on your organisation’s success and address those first.
Then, consider the broader business outcomes you want to achieve through hyperautomation. These could include cost savings, increased efficiency, better customer experiences or enhanced competitive advantage. Identify those processes that, when automated, will directly contribute to these value-driven objectives.
As with any new and transformative technology, successful deployment of hyperautomation is not without its challenges.
• Skill gap: hyperautomation requires a diverse skill set that includes process analysis, data analytics, AI, RPA and more. Organisations may struggle to find or develop the necessary talent to successfully implement hyperautomation.
• Resistance to change: employees may be resistant to the changes brought about by hyperautomation. They may be uncertain about the new processes and tools that it introduces, and they may see the increased automation as threatening their jobs. Managing change and communicating the benefits effectively will be crucial.
• Complexity of processes: hyperautomation often targets complex processes. Identifying and mapping these processes accurately can be challenging. They may comprise numerous steps, decision points and data sources.
• Vendor selection: it is critical to choose the right vendor: one that can be trusted to offer tools that meet your needs. Poor vendor selection can lead to issues such as inadequate support, limited scalability, or tools that do not align with your organisation’s needs.
However these challenges are not insurmountable: the right tools and the right partners, correctly deployed can deliver real benefits. For example, FPT Software helped a finance company offering loans to agricultural companies needed to evaluate clients’ financial statements and business performance in order to approve credit offers. FPT Software deployed intelligent document processing tools that enabled the company to scan these documents, automatically enter the relevant data into the credit approval form leaving only final approval to require human interaction.
Another company wanted to automate and enhance its recruitment process, which was bedevilled by human error and forgetfulness, leaving candidates feeling forgotten when they received no follow-up to job applications. Process mining and analysis of historical data using hyperautomation tools from FPT Software enabled the company to develop new automated processes that cut job application processing times by 30 percent and the end-to-end recruitment process by 20 percent.
Hyperautomation can deliver enormous benefits, but it is not a point product providing a solution to specific problems. It is a comprehensive approach that streamlines and automates many aspects of an organisation’s operations, rather than simply being a bolt-on to existing processes. For its full potential to be realised, processes must in some cases be re-engineered and their interactions carefully examined and adapted.
And of paramount importance is the choice of vendor: one who can support you throughout your hyperautomation journey with a comprehensive set of tools, not just point solutions, and the support and services to help you achieve your goals. These should embrace:
• assessment and consultancy services
• professional implementation services
• technology and product provision
• post implementation maintenance and 24/7 support
Successful introduction of hyperautomation requires the right partner: one that can provide the right tools, the right advice and effective implementation services. A partner like FPT Software can help with your hyperautomation journey.
This article was originally posted on CIO.com.