Hyper-automation: Why hyper-automation has become a requirement for success

Introduction

In today’s fast-moving world, hyper-automation is becoming an increasingly critical part of business success. It can help enterprises reduce repetitive or monotonous tasks and processes, lower costs, and scale capabilities in ways that humans simply cannot. Most importantly, when laborious tasks are automated, people get the gift of time back and employees are able to take on more high-value, strategic and rewarding tasks. Gartner had previously predicted significant growth in hyper-automation, estimating the global market would reach $481.6 billion in 2020. However, now Gartner is saying it’s tipped to reach $596.6 billion by the end of 2022. 1

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the need for hyper-automation – pushing legacy processes well beyond their capacity and ability. It has been the CIOs who invested in automation, advanced analytics, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) that have seen the best results and were able to adapt to the dramatic disruption. 2

According to recent research, the pandemic also prompted many executives to rethink the role advanced technologies could play in the future of business – with robotic process automation and hyper-automation at the top of the list.3

Looking towards the future, companies that don’t embrace hyper-automation will start to miss vital opportunities to innovate and streamline their operations, improve the customer experience and empower their people.

Despite all of this, many businesses are still struggling with the concept of hyper-automation, and in finding ways to apply it – particularly when it comes to customer and employee experience. In fact, IDC predicts that throughout 2023, a third of enterprises’ hybrid workforce and business automation efforts are at risk of being delayed or will fail outright due to underinvestment in the right technology, as well as a lack of skills. 5

In this eBook, we discuss what hyper-automation is, its benefits and challenges, and the steps your organisation can take to make it work for you.

Automation is a new source of competitive advantage and disruption… CIOs should see hyper-automation as a principle, not a project, as they move forward in updating their processes for the future. 5

Daryl Plummer, Gartner

What is Hyper-Automation?

Broadly speaking, automation is the fundamental basis of technology. It’s the process of streamlining tasks so things can work faster and more effectively – whether it’s scanning items at checkout, diagnosing an issue with a car’s engine, or booking an appointment on an online portal.

The advent of technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence has, however, taken automation to a new level: hyper-automation. This is when everyday, commonly used business processes are automated, and where data is used to predict potential failures and support continual process improvement.

Gartner defines hyper-automation as “an approach in which organisations rapidly identify and automate as many business processes as possible.” This involves “the use of a combination of technology tools, including, but not limited to, machine learning, packaged software and automation tools to deliver work.” 6

Enhancing the way business technology services are delivered

At Brennan we have been on a 4-year journey, implementing hyper-automation to improve the services we provide to our customers. The enhancements across our platforms have meant that we can now deliver results for end-users in minutes, not days, and ensure 100% consistency in the outcome. The bene that hyper-automation has brought to our service delivery has been a major factor in our ability to maintain a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 85+ from our customers.

From a business technology provider’s perspective there are a few key elements to implementing AI-led hyper-automation:

Infrastructure automation

Where technology is used to continually optimise and evolve the IT infrastructure. This could involve spinning up virtual machines in times of overload, onboarding new devices according to pre-set user types, implementing security updates, and more. This type of automation can reduce workload for IT teams, cut costs, and ensure important things don’t slip through the cracks. Reducing human interaction at the infrastructure level can also reduce risk and improve robustness, which is important for enterprises with strict governance policies and those with particularly sensitive data. Infrastructure automation was the ideal starting point for improving our services at Brennan and is what we would recommend to any business wanting to begin. Investing in infrastructure automation drives immediate cost and time efficiencies and provides a solid foundation for future innovation.

Software and service automation

Where the software that an organisation uses begins to make decisions based on the specific behaviour of employees, and where AI augments how staff use their tools to get work done. This may take many forms and levels of maturity. Initially, it could include workflows that predict the outcome of a task based on previous interactions and provide prompts and suggestions to get there quicker.

More advanced hyper-automation could begin to interact with customers outside the organisation, having an AI bot triage and resolve simple customer issues before they have to talk to a staff member.

At the fully mature end of the spectrum for business technology providers, hyper-automation could involve AI being used to proactively monitor an environment and predict issues before they eventuate, prompting staff to proactively reach out to customers before they even realise there is a problem.

These types of hyper-automation are some of the ways that service businesses can see tangible and quantifiable results from their investment in AI. However, the very nature of hyper-automation is that it is completely customisable to the outcomes of the particular organisation, and so what that looks like varies greatly across businesses and industries.

How automation delivers efficiencies and gives people the gift of time

Automation reduces the level of human interaction needed for a set of tasks, freeing up valuable time and ensures consistent reliable results. Here are the key areas we have seen automation have the most positive impact in organisations.

Better, more positive employee experiences

One of the most important benefits of hyper-automation is that it allows businesses to enable far superior levels of productivity and staff satisfaction. In fact, 95% of organisations say they have already implemented, or are in the process of implementing, automation initiatives to improve productivity. 7

Happier, more loyal customers

Research indicates that when customers can self-service, their satisfaction levels increase exponentially, as it provides them with greater flexibility, and visibility, and cuts down on the amount of time spent managing issues. According to Business Insider, 73% of customers say they want to solve issues by themselves. 8

Unlocking efficiencies for growth

Hyper-automation also allows businesses to use their data to generate efficiencies. By 2024, operational costs will reduce by 30% simply by combining hyper-automation technologies with redesigned operational processes. Gartner 9

Empowering agility at scale

Organisations that are able to pivot and adapt based on changes in the market – or in society – are those most equipped to thrive and survive. Hyper-automation plays a key role in enabling this level of adaptability and preparedness.

Automation technology provides the basis for creating advanced self-service capabilities for businesses. It means their people save time because they no longer need to learn and complete complex processes, they might only use once or a handful of times, and service staff is freed from repetitive tasks that prevent them from completing more valuable work. 10

Brennan Chief Technology Officer, Stephen Dangerfield

Why some organisations are approaching Hyper-automation with caution

Despite the clear benefits of hyper-automation, it does come with some challenges and, as a result, organisations are being cautious in their approach. According to Gartner, of all the IT automation technologies profiled this year, only 20% of them have moved ahead in the adoption cycle since last year, compared with 30% in 2020. 11

Lets look at some of the specific challenges.

Security and compliance concerns

Nearly all (99%) Australian business leaders agree that improving automation will be vital to meeting their business goals, but automation initiatives are being held back by data security and governance concerns.

In fact, 66% of representatives from Australian businesses say they are worried that data and security challenges are preventing the organisation from successfully implementing automation. xiii To combat this, a Business Technology partner can help map out the key areas of concern and address each one systematically.

Inaccessible data, trapped within silos

Many organisations are also operating with data silos, which restricts their ability to access the data needed to make hyper-automation possible. Innovations in AI are only possible through having real-time access to data. However, many automation initiatives are being hindered by siloed and inaccessible data. This is why a strategic end-to-end approach is recommended for any implementation.

Fear of impact on traditional roles and responsibilities

Many organisations are also cautious when it comes to implementing hyper-automation, fearful about its impact on employees, or the perception that “robots” will be taking over.

In reality, Hyper-automation is about freeing employees from laborious tasks so they can do more high-value work. It gives employees at all levels of the business more time to think strategically and collaborate – and removes the burden of repetitive, time-consuming tasks that add little value.

Narrow automation focus and understanding

Another barrier is a lack of understanding regarding hyper-automation and the benefits it can deliver.

Many businesses also confuse hyper-automation with robotic process automation (RPA), which is, in fact, just a component of hyper-automation.

Historically, RPA has been a way to automate high volume, low-value transactions, often in legacy systems or paper-based processes. While this can deliver a huge efficiency gain, it often tightly couples the business to legacy platforms and processes. It also doesn’t provide the business agility that upgrading those systems and re-inventing/optimising those business processes provides.

According to Gartner, many business leaders lack a defined strategy for scaling automation in line with tactical and strategic goals. 14 This is where business technology providers with automation expertise can add the most value.

Tips for a successful hyper-automation implementation

To successfully implement hyper-automation, and address the common concerns, it’s recommended that organisations focus on these four areas.

An end-to-end secure focus

Automation cannot simply be implemented into an organisation – it needs to be regarded as a strategic opportunity and accompanied by a change management program – to increase understanding of the new processes at every level of the business, and ensure the solution is fully secure.

Organisations need to broaden their vision beyond individual tasks that can be automated, and beyond RPA, to that of the entire organisation.

According to IT Brief, the fastest-growing category of hyper-automation enabling software includes tools that give businesses an in-depth understanding – including visibility to map business activities, automate and manage content ingestion, orchestrate work across multiple systems, and provide complex rule engines. 15

C-suite alignment and buy-in

For hyper-automation to succeed, it also needs to be a whole-of-business initiative. Executives, technologists, and board members must align on the need to advance automation and hyper-automation to ensure company success. 16

A business-led (rather than technology-led) approach

Rather than focusing on specific automation-focused goals, businesses need to take a broader view, focusing on measurable improvements in business outcomes. 17

Gartner predicts that by 2024, organisations will lower operational costs by 30% by combining hyper-automation technologies with redesigned operational processes. 18

Appoint an expert, Business Technology partner

To ensure your organisation sees the full benefits of hyper-automation for your business, you need a technology partner who can provide you with strategic advice, and who can plan, implement and provide ongoing support.

Success Story: Hammondcare

When HammondCare, one of Australia’s most innovative health and aged care providers, decided to outsource their IT support, they were impressed by the maturity of Brennan’s services capability, our collaborative and agile approach, and our focus on customer experience.

Business Challenge:
HammondCare’s ability to meet both employee and customer expectations were being affected by dated IT systems, and delays in getting IT issues resolved.

Solution:
Brennan implemented its Managed Service Desk and Enhanced Desktop solution underpinned by the award-winning Service Now portal to provide self-service capabilities for its 4,500 staff. With added Business Intelligence for detailed reporting, real-time analytics, and transparency for the CIO.

Results:
The intuitive service solution in place for HammondCare will scale as they grow, and importantly, it will allow them to focus more time and resources on delivering a strategy of innovation in healthcare.

1 IT Brief, Gartner predicts a boom in hyper-automation technologies, Hyperlink
2 Which 50, 75% of CIOs Are Still Unprepared for Another Disruption, Hyperlink
3 CIO, Covid-19 Accelerates Enterprise Use Of Automation In Digital Transformation, Hyperlink
4 IDC releases 2021 top 10 digital trends for Australia, Hyperlink
5 Gartner: Gartner Unveils Top Predictions for IT Organisations and Users in 2021 and Beyond
6 CIO, Covid-19 Accelerates Enterprise Use Of Automation In Digital Transformation, Hyperlink
7 Technology Decisions, Australian Business Leaders See Automation As Vital, Hyperlink
8 C-Zentrix, What is the impact of self-service technology on customer satisfaction?, Hyperlink
9 Gartner, CFO Tech: The two ‘must-have’ trends CFOs should capitalise on
10 IDG, Brennan Insights Report: Why IT outsourcing demands a human-centric approach
11 Gartner, 2021-2023 Emerging Technology Roadmap for Large Enterprise
12 Technology Decisions, Australian Business Leaders See Automation As Vital, Hyperlink
13 Technology Decisions, Australian Business Leaders See Automation As Vital, Hyperlink
14 Technology Decisions, Where To Now For Low Code
15 IT Brief, Gartner predicts a boom in hyper-automation technologies
16 CIO, Covid-19 Accelerates Enterprise Use Of Automation In Digital Transformation, Hyperlink
17 CFO Tech, The two ‘must-have’ trends CFOs should capitalise on – Gartner, Hyperlink
18 IT Brief, Gartner predicts a boom in hyper-automation technologies

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