By now, you’ve likely heard quite a bit about automation and its ability to improve common workflows. Many organizations are already using automation to handle individual rote tasks, such as scanning candidate resumes for chosen keywords or cutting down time spent filling out forms with autofill.
Yet the potential of modern automation is far greater than most people realize. In fact, technology has advanced to the point where hyperautomation—the process of automating everything within an organization that can be automated—is increasingly an attainable reality. Rather than adopting these technologies in a piecemeal way, decision makers can now unify their approach to automation across their organization.
This means new opportunities for freeing up time for knowledge workers to do more challenging creative tasks, all while expediting the routine tasks that need to get done. It’s also quickly becoming a key differentiator against the competition—one Gartner report called it “a condition for survival,” as the market grows toward $600 billion by 2022.
At Tangoe, we know a thing or two about automation—in fact, over 90% of the activities we perform are automated, from order placement to device procurement to invoice processing and more. When it comes to implementing AI, ML, and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) into your business, take our time-tested advice to see your hyperautomation endeavor soar.
Fundamentals of Hyperautomation
At its core, hyperautomation refers to several key components, some of which have been adopted into organizations on their own, or merit consideration for near-future adoption. Many of these implementations are appealing in their own right, including:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Machine Learning
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
- Business Process Management (BPA)
- Advanced analytics
When an automatable process is identified, IT staff or third-party partners are tapped to build the right workflows to take the process from manual to robotically-driven. The initial upfront investment of time and resources eventually leads to a replicable automated flow, but only for that individual process.
In contrast, a hyperautomation endeavor focuses on creating a unified approach to a holistic automation plan, touching on multiple aspects of a business across functions and departments. Multiple automation tools will be leveraged as part of this plan in order to achieve a streamlined, effective automation process as part of business functions.
Building a Hyperautomation Plan
As a large-scale endeavor, hyperautomation requires careful planning and deliberation. At the same time, the potential upside and return-on-investment should enervate team members from across the organization; they have the opportunity to unburden teams from repetitive labor and potentially boost the success of their value-producing work.
While the goal of hyperautomation is to truly encompass all automatable processes, realistic implementation is more nuanced. A feasible hyperautomation strategy involves several key steps:
- Assess budget and identify cost savings by highlighting existing automations. Workflows using RPA or other technologies can be expanded to other areas of the company in the course of the hyperautomation process.
- Gather information on the existing processes that can be automated or otherwise must remain manual. Pay special attention to bottlenecks that maintain existing delays and can be improved through automation. One particularly effective technique for analysis is digital twinning, where an organization creates a virtual model of a process for deeper analysis and manipulation without affecting existing workflows.
- Collect data. Automations are only as good as the data they run on, and the pipelines delivering the right data to the right place must be created alongside these machine-driven workflows. Creating a pipeline between these data stores and the automations that will use them is an essential step.
- Identify automation tools. Project leaders may choose to begin by replicating one existing automation into another area of their operation, such as standardizing one automated approvals process for other decision makers. In fact, the automations themselves can be automated for more efficiency gains. It all depends on which tools and platforms are put to use throughout the project.
- Predict outcomes. Automation for automation’s sake is even less effective at the enterprise-level and can lead to workers growing unclear on where their responsibilities lie. Outcome prediction involves setting the inputs for an automation, noting any hand-offs or human interventions, and predicting the results that arrive, as well as larger considerations like efficiency improvements and overall ROI.
- Implement automations. AI tools can build the automations iteratively with human guidance to achieve consistent benchmarks. It’s this collaboration between machine learning and human intuition that drives successful hyperautomation endeavors, and creates clear guidance on the future of employee responsibilities.
Next Steps: Leveraging Hyperautomation
The key word for hyperautomation is interoperability. A single automation can be extended to processes, while an operation that once relied mostly or entirely on manual work can be enhanced through AI tools. A single document submission, for example, may OCR to interpret the text, sentiment analysis to identifying the underlying meaning, and AI to draft model responses. Each tool individually works on its own for a wider variety of tasks, with deployment made easy by successful replication and oversight from IT.
In this way, hyperautomation becomes a process that builds on itself. Teams don’t have to constantly seek for new projects to start independent hyperautomation projects, contributing to an ever-widening backlog of tasks and never quite reaching the automated potential they need. Hyperautomation, with its holistic oversight of operations and iterative approach to improving once-manual duties, gives companies that competitive advantage they need to survive and thrive well beyond 2022.
At Tangoe, our hyperautomation endeavor led us to build an Automation Framework, capable of handling hundreds of thousands of invoices. Those gains in productivity have allowed us to become a leader in telecom expense management, delivering service quality beyond our customer’s expectations. What will you do with your hyperautomation framework to power your organization’s success?