October 20, 2021
Enterprises must make business decisions faster in today’s fast-changing markets. To that end — so that time and effort are not squandered, nor productivity hampered — business leaders need to transform and optimise their business processes, technology and people’s roles. This is where hyperautomation comes in.
It plays an integral role in helping organisations make these critical cultural changes. As Charles Darwin said, "It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent but the one most responsive to change.”
What is hyperautomation?
Gartner defines hyperautomation as the “application of advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), to increasingly automate processes and augment humans. Hyperautomation extends across a range of tools that can be automated, but also refers to the sophistication of the automation.”
Hyperautomation goes beyond traditional rule-based processes like Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and transcends the scope of automation by including not only AI and ML but also:
- Business process management and re-engineering
- Advanced analytics
- Low-code, no-code approaches
- Specific vertical technology platforms
Supporting people’s efforts to use these approaches and technologies can and should drive a cultural shift within the enterprise that is bound to deliver transformative benefits.
Hyperautomation in action
Let’s look at an example of how using hyperautomation can change banking culture across the process, technology and people chain.
Process — Banks are transforming broken processes into efficient ones, eliminating, optimising and standardising them. They use approaches such as Lean Six Sigma and process mining to transform processes to reduce turnaround time and customer complaints, and improve lead time and days sales outstanding, for example. Once a process is improved, banks can employ automation and use vertical technology platforms to achieve gold standards in line with industry best-in-class practices.
Technology — Technologies influenced by AI and ML, such as elastic search, optical character recognition (OCR), intelligent character recognition (ICR), facial recognition and natural language processing (NLP), combined with advanced analytics, have increased the scope of automation. This will significantly transform the banking ecosystem and culture. Process changes are supported by these technology components to counter fraud, enhance customer experience multifold and provide cost benefits, among other capabilities. For example, kiosks that use optical character recognition (OCR) and facial recognition perform many bank processes like checkbook processing and customer verification. With a low-code, no-code approach, application design and development timeframe reduces by approximately 60 to 70%. Boundaries can be pushed further to achieve application modernisation and integration with faster turnaround time. Synergising RPA and low-code/no-code eliminates the need for detailed technology planning, substantial investment and increased payback period, while delivering transformative benefits to end customers.
People — Banks can transform the nature of associates’ work, freeing them to apply their skills and talents in new and more strategic ways. That, for example, is the case for those who have been in the role of teller. Many banks now have eliminated that role, replacing it with AI-driven chatbots that can interact with customers, verify their identity and provide services like deposits, withdrawals and so on. The culture is positively impacted as people who previously were in the bank teller role upskill and move up the value chain, focusing on activities such as customer acquisition. Additionally, the application of low-code/no-code is adding another skillset to typical business users (in our case bank associates) who can become citizen developers and develop applications faster and in line with evolving user requirements
How to make this cultural shift
Gartner predicts that by 2024, organisations will lower operational costs by 30% by leveraging hyperautomation across their end-to-end value chain. We believe that this 30% operational cost reduction is conservative, and that this will likely exceed 50 to 60%, based on the influence digital adoption has in changing the work culture. McKinsey says that the CAGR of digital adoption was 21% measured over a three-year period (June 2017 to December 2019) and that this has gone up to 61% within a span of seven months from December 2019 to July 2020.
A word of caution: hyperautomation isn’t just a checklist item on an organisation’s technology roadmap. It needs to become a part of the enterprise DNA for it to work most effectively, as illustrated in the examples above. A “hyperautomation first” strategy needs to be an enterprise keystone, with confidence building in the systems to which it is applied to foster acceptance and drive culture change.
Remember that people, technology and business processes need to be aligned for a unified and strong cultural change to emerge. Top management must pay particular attention to supporting the people/role leg of the hyperautomation triad in order to have trickle-down effects across the organisation. They must motivate teams to embrace automation, incentivising and rewarding that work, and help them understand that automation isn’t something that will replace their jobs, a perception that has been around since the industrial revolution. Organisations must be truthful when they announce that their goal is to upskill employees, which will help decrease resistance to change. This transition must happen in line with people’s own aspirations and goals, too — the human connection is critical.
Hyperautomation not only gives a powerful, unified and systematic end-to-end experience that is agile and quickly adaptable, but it also helps enterprises gain competitive differentiations. Your company must pursue hyperautomation in earnest to gain that priceless benefit.