No matter how you spell hyper-automation (you'll see it with and without the hyphen too), it may sound like a sci-fi concept—like the hyperdrive the Millennium Falcon was continually struggling with. You may already understand how automation removes headaches and makes several business processes more manageable and more efficient. But hyper-automation? Why all the hype? What makes automation hyper, exactly? What can hyperautomation do for your small business, and how can it remove and prevent headaches? How can you capitalize on it? It may not be as glamorous as moving through space at light speed with a Wookie at your side, but it definitely helps businesses reach goals faster when adequately implemented. It is a very real and helpful concept for businesses of all sizes. This article covers what it is and how your business can put it to good use to gain competitive advantage and agility in an ever-changing marketplace.
What is Hyperautomation?
So far, the digital transformation has happened in a very piecemeal fashion for most businesses. A new customer relationship management software (CRM) might be helping you crunch, analyze and gain insight into how best to engage with your customers to boost sales. You might have added new robotic process automation (RPA) systems to increase quality and safety, or to deal with new restrictions brought on by the pandemic. You may be toying with the idea of adding different artificial intelligence (AI) tools to make all sorts of processes more efficient. Hyperautomation is the idea that you can synergize all these different processes into one smooth, fully-integrated process by flowing them all together; by relying on big data, at scale, in your own business. In other words, you can "hyper-automate" all of these systems to access the best data and the best insight into the entire scope of your business processes, from end to end, so that you can make the best choices for your company.
Hyperautomation seeks to break down the silos and communication barriers that have long hampered businesses. The idea is to implement solutions working in concert with each other instead of against each other or in spite of each other. Through intelligent analysis, machine learning, and digital transformation, hyper-automation can give workers and decision-makers faster, more accurate access to critical data and insight across the entire business. They can use this insight to avoid problems, prevent safety hazards, and steer clear of quality gaffes, all while promoting the best creative solutions and reducing operating costs along the way.
5 Benefits of Hyperautomation
In order to achieve these benefits, companies need to stand back from the minutiae of one system or another for a moment and take a look at the bigger picture by creating a long-view roadmap that outlines an overarching strategy going forward. This enables decision-makers to integrate more effectively all the different AI, robotic, and DigitalOps processes needed to maximize potential growth and gains. Not only can this comprehensive overview process help companies simplify and synergize data analysis for process discovery, but it can also empower workers at all levels and create more of a team environment between departments. As the data flows, the data guides and empowers everyone to make better-informed decisions and to see and discover solutions that may have been lost in the static previously. These are some benefits of hyperautomation for small businesses:
1. Erasing Deficiencies and Gaps
Every time you turn around, there's a new potential technological solution you could add to your toolbox at work. Until now, however, one of the biggest problems has been figuring out how to make all of your tools work together properly. One process may have been vastly improved by robotic process automation, but gaps between that and intelligent business process management (IBPM) may lead to basic supply and demand issues that can cost you extra. By automating and connecting all of these disparate systems and synchronizing them, you can hyper-automate everything from production to customer payment and satisfaction surveys using machine learning. This can start with an "Integration platform as a Service" or iPaaS that brings different systems together in a cloud environment. This deeper, richer understanding of the entire scope of your business brings clarity on the next steps, helps remove barriers, and creates more bridges to new opportunities by analyzing and linking processes across the entire organization.
2. Boosting Integrations
If your business has a host of various tools and systems going at once, but they don't talk with each other effectively, you know just how challenging it can be to bring them together and make sense of different sources of data. This is the goal of hyper-automation. It's not just adopting one or three new ideas or systems to smooth out one or three disparate, inefficient processes. It's about achieving a true "flow" state between all the processes through seamless integration. By simplifying how data flows between all of your different apps and systems, roadblocks start to fall away. Siloed departments that did their own jobs well but did not mesh well with other departments they needed to work with start to see the possibilities with insight that machine learning and AI can provide. Multiple business lines and use areas start working from the same data wavelength, which improves process integration, reduces costs, enhances communication, and saves time.
3. Accessing Real-Time Analysis
One of the biggest roadblocks small businesses face is understanding where their unique inefficiencies are damaging their bottom lines. Again, there's so much data to deal with, and it can be hard to pick out the important threads and insights that lead to real transformation and growth. By using a hyperautomation model, AI can instantaneously sift through all of that data, coming across from different data streams and processes within the business, and help you focus on what matters in real-time. This ability to immediately analyze all that data effectively across systems enables decision-makers to take faster action to optimize processes, avoid costly errors and maximize quality and returns.
4. Improving Data Storage
As companies bring different systems together and break down barriers through a hyperautomation model, this integration improves data storage between your onsite infrastructure and data storage that may reside in the cloud or a hybrid cloud space. As cloud-based solutions become the norm for many businesses, using machine learning becomes essential to helping all of these systems talk with each other seamlessly. This is especially important as your business deals with data storage questions and migration from silos to lakes to the new "data mesh" universe. One incredibly beneficial aspect is how hyper-automation creates "digital twins," or virtual identical models of physical processes out on the Internet of Things (IoT).
5. Fostering Employee Satisfaction and Engagement
It costs a lot to onboard new employees to make up for ones that leave due to dissatisfaction. Hyperautomation is another way of giving employees the tools they need to really feel a part of boosting the quality of the products and processes within the company. Again, by breaking down the old silos of yesteryear that locked data and employees into processes that may not have been optimized through the technology available today, employees can use data to smooth out manual work processes and fully engage in the advances real-time data insight has to offer. Employees are ready for the digital transformation; they want it. They know it will improve the quality of their work, and it gives them opportunities to collaborate and be heard within the company, which increases their feeling of ownership, satisfaction, and engagement.
3 Key Technologies used in Hyperautomation
Companies are using three essential technologies to get the hyperautomation process started right now. Still, these are by no means the only ones you can connect to create that river of data that brings insight. These three are just logical and productive ways to start for many small businesses. If you already have one or two of these in the works, it pays to consider how you can synergize these for competitive advantage: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
1. Artificial Intelligence
AI is one of the main cornerstones of hyper-automation because it opens up enormous analytics powers for creating those pathways between different systems that can create agility, efficiency, and convenience beyond what you've ever dreamed of before. AI can boost the potential of RPA while also using its powerful tools to sift the crucial insights out of mountains of data faster than ever before. And it does all of this hand in hand with machine learning.
2. Machine Learning
In fact, machine learning sprouts from AI in the first place. AI gives various systems the tools to "learn" from incoming data and develop automated systems to improve without extra human intervention. ML "sees" and learns from the data all by itself, which can also bring previously indiscernible data patterns out in the open to empower decision-makers to integrate RPA bots and other systems into the flow faster and more efficiently. This all saves time and increases a business' agility in tough market conditions, and in good times also.
3. Robotic Process Automation
RPA is a foundational technology in the scheme of hyper-automation because of how it completely streamlines, automates, and adds value to businesses. One example of RPA in action now are automated patient scheduling, and insurance systems that ensure staff in the waiting room can focus more intently on the patients in front of them. Many tech and customer support systems also use RPA to solve basic to moderate issues while freeing up time for human technical support to handle complex problems. As the technology continues to develop, RPA bots can manage more and more detailed processes and are better able to integrate with AI and ML.
Why Consider Hyperautomation
Let's look at an example of how one email can trigger an entire end-to-end process that uses AI, ML, and RPA in one relatively swift, efficient stroke. Then you can visualize the potential gains and benefits and how they go far beyond merely replicating the benefits of each one by itself. It's this synergy that creates new horizons and opportunities, which is exciting for small businesses:
- Let's say a customer sends an email about a problem they've had with a product or service. An RPA bot collects the email and then…
- Sends it through a machine learning system that can interpret and breakdown all the information in that email very efficiently and precisely.
- Rules-based ML and AI then trigger further actions that can speed data to all impacted parties, from production to customer service to billing to quality control. The process happens rapidly, which stops further quality errors and gives the company a chance to go beyond simple customer service to customer delight.
- The combined, coordinated powers of AI and ML then trigger other actions through the system to further analyze and "learn" from experience faster than could otherwise be accomplished by human brainpower alone, while helping the humans involved make wiser decisions and take smart actions much faster.
Got Questions About Hyperautomation?
Hyper-automation is a fascinating field of technological advancement that has already shown impressive ROI. By augmenting workers' and decision-makers' power as they seek to create new opportunities, you can develop more sustainable solutions, reduce costs without sacrificing quality, and remain agile and competitive in a world that demands all of those things to succeed. In order to get that 10,000-foot view and long-range vision, you will need technology experts in the field to help you see how it can save you time and headaches in your business while catapulting you into new possibilities through harnessing data. If your wheels are churning about this, send your questions to our hyperautomation experts, and we can help you get a hold of all these benefits for your business.