Director of Avenga Labs
Automation, via software, has been the goal of the IT industry for enterprises from the very beginning.
Now with almost ubiquitous computing, the majority of business processes are performed using digital solutions.
Now there are entire new industries which weren’t even known nor foreseen before and no industry has been left untouched by the digital revolution.
Hyper automation is one of the key trends for 2021 and something you read or hear about every day when following the tech news.
→ Have a look at Meeting the Future. Trends & Technology 2021.
The first goal of automation technologies is to shorten the time, so as to allow clients to buy products and services faster and more comfortably.
This is often rightfully called the first wave of the digital transformation; delivering the best customer experience to the consumer facing applications. Digital channels were open to buy digital products and services. The improvements to their design and implementation will continue as CX is a process, not a one-off project.
The modern front-end had to work with the slower and older back-end APIs, but they also went through fast transformations using cloud native and cloud architectures.
→Explore Generic API or Back-End for Front-End? You can have both.
One of the goals was to enable customers to do as much as possible on their own, deliver functionalities, and automate processes as much as possible. It helped to minimize support calls, the human to human communication, in order to solve repetitive problems.
Automation technologies have never been nor will they ever be cheap, but the clear benefits of speed are so enormous that they have created a new set of consumer expectations. There’s no way back and now customers are demanding even more automation.
Wait, but what about the so-called second wave of the digital transformation? The second wave is focused on internal efficiency and employee experience. Internal users started to demand a better experience, ergonomics and something easy to use within the internal systems. They demanded more integration, more automation, and less manual copy & paste, getting rid of printing once and for all.
Even with an excellent UX for the customers, the entire experience may be jeopardized by the inefficiency of the internal systems and processes. That’s why speed may no longer be a second priority. It’s no longer acceptable to wait for days for business processes to complete, because systems synchronize databases overnight instead of using faster streaming and eventing architectures.
The digital organization has to be fast and efficient, externally and internally.
It’s impossible to support the processes of thousands and millions of customers manually. It would require a very large workforce and yet would still result in a poor customer and employee experience. The same applies to the old systems that are disconnected, without proper APIs, and hard to integrate and automate.
And, the customer base in the internet era means potentially the entire globe. In the large economies, such as the EU or the USA with similar regulations and processes, automation helps to significantly broaden the customer base.
Adaptability is crucial for resilience and business efficiency.
This key trend for 2020 is even stronger in 2021.
Automation technologies enable massive and quick change, by modifying software solutions and enabling new business processes for the entire scale of the company’s sales and operations.
Adaptability means the ability to react very quickly and automation helps with that.
The very term ‘hyper automations’ seems to have been “stolen” by the vendors of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), low-code and business process analytic tools. RPAs, or process analysis, are really helpful, but they should not overshadow the entire picture of automation.
Low code platforms have experienced exponential growth as they promised and they have mostly delivered a much higher efficiency for professional and citizen developers. (Albeit in the simplest of cases).
And, they usually add “AI” to sweeten the message.
Are they wrong?
If you just take the definition which is limited to robotic process automation, RPA, low-code, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) supporting those tools, then you’ll lose a lot.
Our understanding is much deeper than that. It means deeper changes in the back-end systems, as well as modernization of the APIs within their communication, integration and management.
→ Explore about Evolutionary architectures in practice
And, let’s not forget about the entire data management landscape of the enterprise.
→ Dive deeper into DataOps – more than DevOps for data
It also means automation of supporting IT processes, using the cloud and DevOps.
Our Avenga meaning is that all the processes of the entire organization and their partner systems can be automated.
Products which mention artificial intelligence (AI) being used are created so they sell much better than without it. That’s why they are always repeated in the first place. It does not mean, of course, not to try to benefit from the latest achievements of machine learning (ML) and algorithms. However, you may often benefit from them more in the data area than anywhere else.
→ Read about Avenga data services and machine learning capabilities
Every revolution fails when there’s no support of the people and the same applies here to hyper automation.
There is more about To change or to pretend a change – that is the question
The fear of automation technologies replacing people is justified by the past actions of many organizations, however those employees who do know how to optimize internal processes and customer experience are the most valuable in this hyper automation era.
Hyper means that everything is included in automation and there’s no place to hide, so to speak. At a minimum, an automation analysis should be performed and implemented when, of course, it may bring real benefits.
Yet, in many cases the justification is going to be simpler: people just don’t want to do repetitive tasks manually, use legacy systems, copy data from one app to another, or use sticky notes as an integration platform.
Hyper automation means having the courage to automate processes which weren’t considered a good candidate before. Or, that were postponed year after year.
There were the usual justifications for skipping automation because this specific step in the process does not happen too often, and the people who have done it manually for years are not the highest paid employees. Hyper automation means to think again, to look around all the corners, and to remove dust from the old processes and the mentalities of the past.
So we have deeper changes, wider changes, to make but hyper also means even faster changes due to automation. I dare say it’s a kind of hyper-drive for the acceleration of your business processes and overall performance.
There’s no way back from this fast progress in automation and whatever name will be chosen in the future, because businesses want to move faster, adapt faster and stay competitive.
Not everyone will lead this change, not everyone will even follow, but the trend is very strong.
There are new technologies and new approaches to process automation, and fortunately we have machine learning (ML), much better DevOps processes, advancements in architectures and API management, faster deployment and better monitoring.
If we can move faster, we can now truly embrace hyper automation which is way deeper than what you can read from the headlines of the tool vendors.
What is required is broader skills and experience in multiple business processes and technological domains. Cross cutting projects are the new normal for digitalization.
The only business constant is change and we never really needed any pandemic to convince us of that.