If there was an Oscars for technology trends, hyperautomation would sweep the board this year. But, like its would-be predecessors AI, ML, and digital transformation, it’s much more than just the latest industry buzzword. This is because the changes forced by the pandemic have thrust employee experience and the evolving digital workspace to the forefront of the business agenda.
What is hyperautomation
First things, first, how does hyperautomation differ from the regular old automation that we’ve become accustomed to? It is defined as automation that is data-driven rather than process-driven, thanks to a combination of AI, ML, natural language programming, and predictive analytics technologies.
To borrow from our government, think of it as a ‘leveling up’ of automation. For a while now, businesses have been using technologies like robotic process automation (RPA) to free employees from the monotony of repetitive tasks and enable them to focus on higher-value jobs that are both more stimulating and rewarding. Hyperautomation is simply the term for replicating this across an entire organisation, integrating every process with one another, to capture the data you need to inform improvement across the board. This piece on Tech Target is a good explainer.
Big and getting bigger
If it sounds huge, that’s because it is. The worldwide market for technology that enables hyperautomation will reach $596.6 billion this year, according to a forecast from Statista. This is up from $481.6 billion in 2020 and $532.4 billion last year. In fact, 85% of Gartner clients report that they will increase or sustain hyperautomation investment strategies over the coming year. This Gartner webinar on the subject is a great watch. Actually, Gartner is a great source of insight for hyperautomation - it listed it as a top strategic technology trend for 2022.
Away from Gartner, this Deloitte paper is also excellent reading on the subject, covering the detail, influencing factors, drivers, and possible impact at length.
Anything that can be automated, should be automated
So why now? Well, there are lots of reasons (see the Deloitte paper above) but like all rapid growth technologies, it is being propelled by a combination of push and pull factors. We’re seeing the maturation of many hyperautomation technologies at a time when Gen Z employees - natives of these types of technology - are progressing into leadership positions. As a result, the process for adopting hyperautomation will speed up, as will awareness and acceptance of its driving technologies and the cycle of improvement will continue.
At an enterprise level, we’re also starting to see a change in attitude towards automation. Historically, there has been a reticence and tendency for humans to avoid it out of fear that it will replace their jobs. This has turned out not to be the case (as many predicted) and this understanding, and therefore acceptance, will trickle down to SMEs. For a while now, many of us at the cutting edge of automation and process orchestration have been repeating the same message - that anything that can be automated, should be automated. In the end, the intent is not to replace jobs, but to allow business people to shift focus away from tedious tasks and focus on more rewarding work and hyperautomation is the manifestation of this vision.
Grab 2022 by the horns
Fundamental to the success of hyperautomation is orchestration - it simply will not work effectively without it because, by design, it is predicated on the use and combination of multiple technologies, tools and platforms combined with strategic human insight and intervention. But hyperautomation is not a switch that can be flicked on, nor is it something organisations will accidentally stumble upon. Something highlighted in this excellent piece of analysis on E&T contains many excellent views regarding the basic requirements to realise the potential impact of hyperautomation.
Ultimately, the marker of the competitive business of the future will be the courage to embrace emerging solutions instead of sticking to the ways of the past—or even the ways of today. That means businesses that have already embraced orchestration - the likes of Capgemini and TMF - are in a prime position to grab 2022 by the horns. Indeed, when the late, great Bing Crosby was singing about ac-cent-tchu-ateing the positives, e-lim-i-nateing the negatives and latching on to the affirmatives - he could have been talking about hyperautomation.