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  • John Fawcitt

How are you preparing for your competitors' automation?

Updated: May 13, 2021

Are you looking to improve your customer and employee experience?

Are your people free to undertake more meaningful, engaging, and value-adding activities?

Hyper-automation releases your most valuable resource – your employees from mundane, repetitive tasks that add no value to your customers or business.

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As consumers, we have expectations when dealing with a business based on our experiences, such as seamless service availability, integration, and simplicity. Delivering operational excellence and standing out from your competitors relies on providing a consistent, fast, agile, and transparent execution of many business tasks and processes. Many business operations are focused on driving efficiency and scale – often meaning a siloed and globally dispersed network of providers – not always compatible with a fast and responsive customer experience.

Gartner predicts that by 2024, organisations will lower operational costs by 30% by combining hyper-automation technologies with redesigned simplified operational processes. If your competitors achieve even a third of this, what would be the impact on your business? Automation of business processes and tasks is key to the future prosperity of your business.

Due to the pandemic, most organisations have moved to digitally-distanced work processes. Adopting digital methods quickly, using technology to connect people, just to survive, but not necessarily changing what they do or how they do it. Just enabling an assortment of unintegrated SaaS tools or enabling virtual meetings isn’t sufficient to allow businesses to thrive in the future. It is about the organisation's end-to-end transformation, empowering it to move more intelligently and faster than its competitors.

An “OneOffice organisation”, according to HFS Research in its Vision 2025, connects the front and back office; is people-centric (aligning employees to customers); follows a digital-first approach; expands “people, process and technology” to include data and change management; and collaborates to find new sources of value across the value chain.

To achieve this as a leader, you need to guide your business away from legacy practices, address technical debt, develop people-centric applications, establish a data-as-an-asset mentality and analytics as a core business capability. Hyper-automation is an enabler in the digital transformation journey with data at its core.

What is Hyper-automation?

Gartner defines hyper-automation as “the orchestrated use of multiple technologies, tools or platforms. Examples of these include artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), event-driven software architecture, robotic process automation (RPA), BPM/iBPMS, integration platform as a service (iPaaS), low-code or no-code tools, packaged software and other types of decision, process and task automation tools.” Think of hyper-automation as a platform that will drive higher-level functioning from task automation to orchestration to intelligence, enabling predictive insights, guided recommendations, processing mining, and adaptive decision making.

Simply, hyper-automation is an integrated toolkit that enables organisations to follow a holistic digital-first approach, automating as many business processes as possible – effectively scaling RPA beyond simple process automation.

It exploits digital technologies to attain end-to-end multi-layered process automation, augmenting the human workforce to improve individual and organisational productivity. A non-invasive platform to drive long-term value across all aspects of the business and a powerful force in operational excellence and process optimisation.

How can my organisation benefit from Hyper-automation?

There has been much talk about the paperless office for decades, yet all organisations I come across have a plethora of PDFs, spreadsheets, word documents, etc. Businesses are still drowning in paper, albeit digital paper, a mass of unstructured data that is not easy to work with productively.

Figure 1: Source optimiseNRG

Five examples of where organisations - working with optimiseNRG’s automation partner Nividous Software Solutions - have achieved significant benefits from hyper-automation.

  1. Document handling process automation – numerous data field and business rule verifications across multiple sources and forms. Comparison across documents and ERP systems with email notification when results are viewable in a portal and identify any business rule violations. Bots create draft documents on third-party websites with user email notification to review and approve. Benefits – 890 hours saved per month, 60% reduction in turnaround time and 80% reduction in people dependency. Automation of Documentation Processes – Logistics and Management company.

  2. Service desk automation – email notifications categorised to three levels and assigned to most appropriate reps, Sentiment analysis utilised to prioritise cases and help improve customer experience. Bots also extract and update systems where info changes and issue new policy documents. Benefits – 85% reduction in costs, 60% reduction in human error and 90% improved process turnaround time. Service Desk Automation – Insurance.

  3. Automation of back-office and analyst activities – operating across legacy systems, email applications, external websites and excel worksheets. Addressing risk, operations and portfolio management. Benefits – 1,600 person-hours saved annually, 60% increased productivity and 95% faster processing time. Automate Risk Assessment And Post-Trade Operations – Wealth Management

  4. Automate operations – extracting data from core systems, transcribing it into excel, complete logic and rule-based analysis, identifying exceptions, and maintaining an audit for each record. Benefits – 50% reduction in operational costs, 70% faster turnaround time and 80% enhanced process visibility. Automation of Trade Finance Operations - Financial Services.

  5. Automate procure-to-pay – standardising the end-to-end processes within SAP, automated eligible operations and undertake third-party updates. Email, excel and web application automating purchase processing, purchase order generation and payment processing. Benefits – 35% reduction in processing time, 90% reduction in paperwork, improved security and visibility achieved throughout the process. Automate Procure -To-Pay – Telcoms.

If your competitors achieved similar benefits, how would that impact your business? Maybe you have already started with RPA but are struggling to scale – can you afford for them to automate completely, first?

Transforming your business

Digital transformation is more than increasing technology capability; it is about creating a healthy environment where people, process, technology and data come together to optimise the human potential – aligning the organisation, its departments, teams and people around common objectives. Integrating digital technology into customer experience, operations and business models continually re-envisioning and driving transformation over and over again.

Research indicates that roughly 70% of transformation programmes fail to deliver their business case. Business leaders know the importance of technological advancement and digitisation of processes and operations, but successful implementation is a different story. The five common challenges leaders face:

  1. Siloed perspective and misplaced focus

  2. Insufficient process documentation

  3. Lack of agility and preparation for change

  4. Synchronising the hybrid workforce

  5. Obscure and ill-defined ROI

There are multiple ways to achieve hyper-automation. While a high-performing team can custom build many of the elements of hyper-automation, a platform approach protects an organisation against the scarcity of skilled resources, future-proofs your hyper-automation investment and aids system and process resilience.

Hyper-automation focuses on improving business performance across many areas and requires a holistic approach – look at every business activity performed manually in your organisation and ask, ‘Can a machine do it better, faster and more accurately?’. Model your end-to-end process with humans in charge and supplement them with Bots and other automation technologies for maximum efficiency. End-to-end process automation requires multi-step human-bot orchestration.

If digital transformation was a car journey: the vision is your destination, leadership your sat-nav, engagement your accelerator pedal, governance your steering wheel and data your fuel. You need all four to get to where you are going:

  • Vision – shows how automation makes things possible across the organisation and makes it legitimate to do things differently from the past.

  • Leadership – provide clarity and alignment around what’s important.

  • Employee engagement – over-communicate about where the company is going and how it can get there.

  • Governance – steering the business, keeping it moving in the right direction in an agile and lean manner, not bureaucratic and slow.

  • Data – monitor and measure the progress and successes of the automation.

Then when you get there, to respond to the continual market and customer shifts, you set a new destination and do it all again – your hyper-automation platform needs to be easy and quick to apart.

Low-code and no-code hyper-automation platforms offer a significant operational advantage by offering technical guardrails and enabling non-invasive applications that deploy with minimal infrastructure configuration. An approach organisation’s need to follow to democratise application development, scale automation and drive continuous improvement. It takes strategy, vision, and innovation to tap into the potential of hyper-automation.

Digital transformation is about being a better company because of digital. Five factors for success

  1. Focus on business outcomes

  2. Make automation part of a more extensive process simplification

  3. Create a culture that appreciates automation

  4. Develop an integrated, holistic plan

  5. Measure ROI consistently

Measure your hyper-automation project through a total cost of ownership lens: licence cost, human costs, the errors, the lost time, and productivity. Establish a governance framework that monitors and continually improve digitisation, optimising processes, revises/repurposes digital workers (bots and algorithms) and retires legacy systems as the journey progresses.

The pace of transformation change will continue to accelerate. Hyper-automation will be a driving force in office automation, evolving as AI, ML, and other technologies develop, continually enhancing decision-making within a company's operations.

As a CEO, CFO, COO or CIO or the broader leadership team, you must balance short-term performance with mid and long-term strategic growth. End-to-end automation is an essential component of your journey. Can you afford for your competitors to follow a digital-first approach and optimise their people potential first? To find out how optimiseNRG and our hyper-automation partner can help you benefit from automation, contact us now.

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