COVID019 has upended the way companies across industries do business. Above all, it's forced even traditionally slow industries to rapidly adapt to changing consumer behaviors and budget challenges. According to the Predictive Index's 2021 CEO Benchmark Report, only 31% of businesses have not furloughed or laid off employees since March 2020.
Things are lean, and will likely continue to be so for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, technology trends continue to be on the rise, enabling a move to lean without losing, and in many cases even improving, efficiencies.
As the pandemic has forced countless organizations into a new business model, trends like process automation and hyperautomation are ideal fits for businesses looking for opportunities to continue or regain their growth trajectories.
What is Hyperautomation?
Gartner VP David Cearley provides a simple definition of hyperautomation:
"[Hyperautomation is] about automating everything we can automate."
In other words, it goes far beyond a few simple automations of everyday tasks. This is not about allowing software to run a report for you. It's about automating the data pull, the analysis of that data, and the actions taken as a result of that analysis. The more the process is automated, the more closely it adheres to Cearley's definition.
We're currently in the age of task automation, simple rules that make everyday work life a bit easier. As technology surrounding these simple rules and automation improves, we will move closer towards an ability to manage the entire process and overall workflow, even introducing conversational UX to help automate these processes.
This is a crucial development in the age of talent gaps and budget shortages. Automating more significant parts of business processes at all levels creates potentially significant budget and human resource efficiencies. Cearly calls it "a feedback loop toward adding business value."
How Automated Processes Can Build Growth in (and Beyond) 2021
Automating simple tasks and workflows can improve organizational efficiencies on a tactical level. Once that sequence moves to hyperautomation, though, the efficiencies accelerate and ultimately make an impact on the organizational, strategic level.
That, in turn, requires introducing a level of artificial intelligence that is necessary for autonomous automation that can self-improve and self-execute reliably. Enter robotic process automation (RPA), an example of hyperautomation that can drive company-wide growth and success.
To call RPA a technology trend would be understating its importance. As a recent survey by Deloitte shows, 53% of respondents have begun implementing it to some degree. The expectation is an increase to almost three-quarters of companies implementing some type of RPA within the next two years.
The reason: tangible ROI. The same survey also found:
- 92% of companies being able to increase compliance
- 90% of companies improving the quality and accuracy of their data
- 86% of companies improving their productivity
- 59% of companies reducing their operational costs.
RPA, of course, is not industry-specific. The process of automating manual tasks, with a healthy infusion of AI, can be the core driver behind hyperautomation. By automating entire strategic processes, companies can create digital efficiencies that build on each other and pay off significantly down the road.
Convincing Organizational Stakeholders to Invest in Hyperautomation
Budget planning in 2021 tends to be a difficult exercise. Tighter belts and revenue shortfalls force executives to think creatively, building leaner a leaner workforce and reducing overhead in the process. In that context, convincing executive leadership to build the new, more comprehensive digital infrastructure required for hyperautomation can be difficult.
Make no mistake: the move to hyperautomation requires a significant initial investment, and a strong digital foundation. The key, then, becomes convincing key organizational stakeholders that this initial investment will pay off significantly down the road.
Budget planners in 2021 look to prioritize efficiency and outcomes. That's precisely why automation tends to be a good sell, at least when done right. CIO Dive outlines one potential strategy:
Another strategy follows what Hahn calls the "thin edge of the wedge" approach: Budgeting a small project that can deliver efficiency gains quickly, then open up the possibility for expansion in the future.
Piloting a small project allows digital shops to prove the efficacy of automation. The returns from that small project, in turn, can convince key stakeholders that a more comprehensive move to hyperautomation relieves workforce gaps and improve both productivity and accuracy. The resulting automation doesn't just allow for a leaner workforce but also allows team leaders to spend their time on strategic priorities rather than everyday tasks.
Hyperautomation as a Key 2021 Initiative
Hyperautomation has been a digital transformation goal for years across digitally proficient industries. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated its rise, with entire industries becoming aware of its potential to continue building towards their growth goals even amid budget and workforce challenges.
The key, of course, is a strategic approach to the concept. Hyperautomation requires an organization-wide focus, along with an initial investment to build the digital infrastructure necessary for its long-term success. When done right, it stands as what might be the single most relevant strategic initiative of 2021: an opportunity to continue reaching for growth goals, requiring only an initial investment to drive long-term efficiencies.
ChristianSteven Software automates report distribution solutions, browser-based data analytics, dashboards, providing increased accuracy and time conservation. If you're not automating, your business is falling behind in terms of production and revenue potential.