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Is hyperautomation worth the hype?

Is hyperautomation worth the hype?
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Ryzhi)

As Gartner’s number one tech trend for 2021, the promises of hyperautomation have a lot to live up to. With the analyst house claiming that organizations will be able to lower operational costs by 30% by combining hyperautomation technologies with redesigned operational processes by 2024, it’s understandable why they are championing the technology. But is it really worth the hype?

About the author

Måns Af Klercker is Client Ambassador at Pegasystems.

Hyperautomation is essentially the assembly of business process management (BPM), robotic process automation (RPA), case management, and artificial intelligence (AI) decisioning tools, allowing enterprises to achieve outcomes as efficiently as possible.

In theory, this technology has the potential to be transformative. Hyperautomation creates a backbone of automation tools that work together to transform business processes, delivering reliable, scalable outcomes. This allows organizations to minimize cost and risk while maximizing revenue.

The barriers to hyperautomation nirvana

While the potential benefits of hyperautomation are clear, enterprises should not underestimate the difficulty of implementing these projects. For hyperautomation to work, all the other automation tools that underpin hyperautomation must be up and running properly. However, the challenges of rolling out technologies such as RPA have been well documented. In a recent Pega survey of enterprises adopting RPA, 50% of respondents reported that RPA was harder to deploy than initially expected.

Lack of knowledge is another barrier to change. Business leaders are not yet aware of the possibilities of automation (hyper or not) and are unlikely to ask for it as part of any transformation efforts, which will cause a hold up to these projects in the long run. Sadly, enterprises have not learned from their previous mistakes. While many are enthusiastically implementing automation, they are not necessarily thinking through what and where the value of automation truly lies. As a result, these projects do not always add business value and have the potential to fail altogether.

Furthermore, while the appetite to leverage hyperautomation is there, not many vendors have all the components needed to create an end-to-end automation platform, especially one that can be put into production quickly. To keep up with the pace of change, these platforms must be built on low-code foundations, with development and operations support to quickly get the platforms to market and drive business outcomes.

Lastly, the greatest challenge to rolling out hyperautomation projects will remain the desire and the capacity to digitally transform. Without a true transformation of business processes and business models into agile and data-driven ones, hyperautomation will only be a band-aid, patching over current deficiencies but not introducing the true benefits of acceleration and transformation.

But with multiple benefits, what can enterprises do to nip these aforementioned issues in the bud and allow them to leverage hyperautomation successfully?

Education, education, education

While IT management teams are well versed in the possibilities that hyperautomation offers, it is rare for other parts of the business to understand how the technology can be used to address their unique challenges. With less technical departments unable to comprehend what Intelligent Automation can actually do, they can't build a future vision around it.

To break down this barrier, the IT team must take up the gauntlet and awaken their entire organization to the potential of hyperautomation, so that IT teams understand the art of the possible. That’s why it should be their role to be the educators and enablers so that any automating tool can be truly effective. By teaching the rest of the organization about how these tools can be applied, the technology will be used to its full potential and ROI will be achieved.

Don’t underestimate a good data strategy

Using AI and machine learning often requires huge amounts of data that needs to be collected in dependable and flexible ways. So, any business looking to leverage these technologies as part of hyperautomation will need to transform into a data-driven one first. Instead of racing head-first into these projects, organizations must lay out the proper groundwork. Without that approach, they could fall at the first hurdle.

Get the c-suite onboard

Recent Pegasystems research found that Intelligent Automaton projects may not be reaching their full potential because of the lack of c-suite buy-in. The majority (81%) of Intelligent Automation deployments today are led by only one individual at the C-level, but the 18% of respondents that report across-the-board C-suite buy-in of such projects, demonstrate greater collaboration between the business and technical sides of their enterprise, stronger governance, more cross-department strategies, and more platforms on which to build out new applications. This reinforces the importance of having champions of hyperautomation at the top of an organization to help drive these projects forward.

Is it worth the hype?

Overall, we should be getting excited about the possibilities that hyperautomation could enable. Any tool that can accelerate and augment transformation is welcome, and the addition of a good data strategy, AI and machine learning capabilities will surely help. But when it comes to making decisions and getting things done at scale, it’s important to realize that automation platforms are already here and have been for quite some time. It’s time enterprises utilized them more to support transformation without having to rebuild the enterprise inside-out.

The pandemic shone a light on the urgent need for this type of tool. The same research from Pegasystems found that Intelligent Automation will play a critical role in shaping a new, technologically enabled, post-pandemic future of work, with Intelligent Automation emerging as one of the key technologies used to future-proof businesses against disruptive events. If enterprises get the building blocks of hyperautomation right now, they will not only achieve the lower operational costs projected by Gartner, but they will also create an agile organization that can withstand market turbulence.

Måns Af Klercker is Client Ambassador at Pegasystems.