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PMG 2021 Predictions: Three Tips to Successfully Implement Hyperautomation in Your Business

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Three Tips to Successfully Implement Hyperautomation in Your Business

By Claire Wiggill, Vice President of Innovation, PMG

In late 2019, Gartner predicted that hyperautomation would be the number one technology trend for 2020. Little did Gartner (or anyone) realize how true, and how necessary, that prediction would become.

As the global workforce was sent home en masse, those who were fortunate enough to be able to work remotely did in volumes never seen before. Virtual meetings and online learning exploded, and despite some early hiccups with Zoom, most were able to carry on in the new paradigm.

This new setup was functional in most cases, but not optimal in many. Some new inefficiencies cropped up, but the issue was primarily the emergence of existing issues that were not especially visible under the old status quo. Processes that relied on paper forms and documents could no longer be passed around within a physical office. The limitations of spreadsheets to track all manner of projects and data sets became more evident as attempts were made to use them as audit tools.

As the pandemic has worn on with many office workers continuing to work remotely, businesses have had to address many process challenges. This has caused an acceleration of automation plans in many enterprises as they implement digital tools to fill their process gaps. For some, this has meant reaching for the holy grail of hyperautomation, combining RPA with orchestration and ML.

Hyperautomation, as stated in Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020 Automation, "deals with the application of advanced technologies...to increasingly automate processes and augment humans." As envisioned, hyperautomation includes technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA), business process management (BPM) software and artificial intelligence (AI) with machine learning (ML). Hyperautomation is achieved by applying a combination of these technologies across a business process, often to replace or augment human steps.

However, what has occurred on a much grander scale is simply the automation of nuts-and-bolts processes using workflow automation or RPA. Where ML has been applied, its usage splits down the line between customer-facing operations and back-office functions. If a process directly impacts the customer experience, then you're more likely to see companies applying cutting edge technologies to enhance and unify engagement with the customer.

Algorithmia's 2020 State of Enterprise Machine Learning Survey found that "business use cases for machine learning are becoming more varied but currently, customer-centric applications are the most common." Conversely, if a process is deemed to be part of an internal function, then the technology focus is on automating workflows through RPA or a BPM/digital process automation platform.

So, with the automation wave upon us, where does one start? Is it more important to focus on the predictive intelligence of ML, or are RPA bots that speed up human tasks the most cost-effective way to improve business outcomes?

Of course, there is no one answer. There are many factors, not the least of which is industry segment, that determine the most appropriate choice. But regardless of industry or company size, there are three things that are important to consider above all else:

  • Number one: Start your automation journey with a process that's both straightforward and impactful. As with most things, it's better to walk before you run. If your organization hasn't automated any processes to speak of, then you should start with something fairly simple. On the other hand, if your organization has been automating aspects of your back office, such as service requests and HR onboarding, then you're probably ready to take a shot at something more complex. You must also select a process for which automation will provide measurable success, and one that delivers noticeable improvements to the persons involved.
  • Number two: Use low-code technology for every segment of your automation solution. Empowering innovators within your organization is essential for rapid development of business applications or process improvement solutions. Of course, governance guardrails should be in place to ensure some sort of centralized oversight, but companies will not be able to build or update automation implementations if there's a waitlist for getting an IT project on the docket. Every type of automation tool offers some degree of low-code, and by selecting a robust, flexible low-code BPM platform to tie them all together with orchestration, you'll have what you need for ongoing success and easy maintenance.
  • Number three: Never underestimate the importance of change management. Communication, testing and training are critical for successful software implementation. Communication should start as the requirements are being defined and should be more about listening than delivering a message. Ensuring that impacted employees or customers are well-informed and feel that their needs have been considered is essential for buy-in, and buy-in is essential for success. In fact, change management is arguably the most important component of any project.

Most experts predict we'll never go back to working the way we did. Everything from travel, to office space, to meetings will quite possibly never completely go back to the way things were before the pandemic. If nothing else, enterprises are now acutely aware of the business risks involved and are ready to invest in mitigation plans.

If the pandemic has taught us one thing about business, it's that automation is more important than ever. The time to start digitally transforming your business was yesterday. So, what are you waiting for?

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About the Author

Claire Wiggill 

Claire is responsible for leading the company's strategic marketing initiatives. Previously, she spent three years as a Service Delivery Manager at PMG, leading customer projects from inception to delivery. Her broad business background includes over 20 years of experience in executive management, marketing, finance and advisory roles.

Published Friday, January 01, 2021 7:40 AM by David Marshall
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