Beyond RPA: A hyperautomated future of work
Process automation is one of the hottest topics in business today. The impact of the pandemic has accelerated adoption of digital transformation initiatives with automation at the forefront as businesses turn to technology to increase productivity and reduce costs.
Many businesses are turning to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to automate repetitive, manual processes and quickly improve efficiency. But RPA has many limitations and these quickly become apparent if businesses rush to adopt an automation strategy that is not fit for the future.
We recently discussed this in an editorial feature in the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce magazine, ChamberLink, which you can read here:
Although RPA has its place in automating simple tasks based on rigid rules, it does not enable the flexibility and scalability businesses need to adapt quickly and remain competitive in today’s ever-evolving technology landscape.
Safeguarding business continuity
The pandemic has brought into sharp focus the need for businesses to be ready to change course quickly. Automation has a big role to play and to truly realise the benefits we need to look deeper than RPA. By combining process-driven automation with data-driven automation we can be confident that organisations will be better prepared for the unexpected.
Intelligent automation – or “hyperautomation” as it’s increasingly referred to – does exactly that. It takes an ecosystem of technology to enhance human capabilities throughout organisations. Combining Artificial Intelligence technologies, such as Machine Learning (ML), Natural Language Processing (NLP) and predictive analytics, with packaged software and automation tools, it automates complex tasks and delivers continual improvements.
Hyperautomation requires collaboration with the human workforce as they’re vital decision-makers and can use the technology to interpret complex data and apply logical reasoning quickly. This creates a working environment that is more informed, agile and better able to use accurate data insights for faster decision-making.
Gartner named hyperautomation as the number 1 strategic technology trend of 2020. Itt predicts that “by 2024, organisations will lower operational costs by 30% by combining hyperautomation technologies with redesigned operational processes”.
So, what is the difference between RPA and hyperautomation?
Bots versus brains
Put simply, think of RPA as software robots that operate to a defined set of rules and mimic human actions to increase the speed with which structured tasks can be completed.
Hyperautomation simulates human intelligence, acting on unstructured data and delivering a level of judgement to complete tasks. AI-driven automation learns with each task it completes so over time it can improve performance.
Hyperautomation combines technologies to automate, discover, design, measure, manage and optimise workflows and processes across businesses to revolutionise how work is done. It isn’t designed simply to replace humans, but instead to enable key processes to run themselves so that businesses can continue to operate under almost any circumstances – such as a global pandemic! This frees the human workforce to focus on more value-added tasks that the machines can’t replicate, like strategic awareness, emotional intelligence and empathy.
Linking systems together with advanced automation technology not only reduces repetitive, manual tasks but also delivers innovative solutions to common business pain points that would otherwise be slow or costly to address. This could be anything, such as: Upscaling server capacity to meet unexpected demand; Connecting all customer touchpoint data to improve customer experiences; Even automating employee onboarding to make your joining process a competitive advantage.
Ultimately, what every business leader needs is technology that safeguards business continuity and enables the agility required to respond quickly in the ever-changing world we live in today. Hyperautomation delivers this while reducing the usual risks and costs associated with changing at pace.
Who can benefit from hyperautomation?
Every sector and line of business can benefit from hyperautomation because a myriad tasks can be performed faster with fewer errors, siloes are broken down and collaboration is improved throughout organisations. With greater insights, efficiency and agility comes better customer experiences. And your employees are more engaged too because they’re less bogged down by tedious, repetitive tasks so have more time to focus on problem-solving and innovation that will drive the business forward. All of this enables businesses to adapt quickly to market changes and opportunities, which will be essential for recovery and survival in the new future of work.
If business process automation is on your agenda, make sure it’s hyperautomation to ensure your strategy is future focussed. If automation isn’t on your agenda yet, it should be!