Amid a flurry of fast-tracked digital transformation initiatives over the past few years, hyperautomation has emerged as an essential approach in the drive toward operational efficiency and seamless customer experiences.

For companies seeking to counteract the disruptive effects of the pandemic and its ripple effects on global supply chains, hyperautomation can ease the burden that repetitive processes and legacy infrastructure place on organisations.

Hyperautomation is used by businesses to identify, vet and automate as many business and IT processes as possible. It involves the orchestrated use of multiple technologies, tools and platforms, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotic process automation, business process management suites, low-code/no-code tools, and a broad range of other process and task automation tools.

Listed by Gartner as one of the top strategic technology trends for 2022, hyperautomation is used by innovation-led organisations to drive operational efficiency, improve decision-making, and shift to a more prescriptive or predictive state.

In fact, Gartner believes hyperautomation is shifting from a nice-to-have to a condition of survival for many organisations. This is partly because, at its core, hyperautomation holds the promise of eliminating outdated work processes which are often cited by companies as a top workforce issue.

Shifting the needle on hyperautomation maturity

The precise manner of how hyperautomation is adopted within the organisation depends on which stage the business is at in its automation journey.

At the lower end of the spectrum are companies with mostly ad-hoc, manual and often paper-based processes. Here, tools such as low-code/no-code, digital forms, process modelling and analytics may be used to unlock immediate benefits. For example, a prototype developed at the SAP Co-Innovation Lab would help South African cities reduce the pressure on call centres through a simple self-service app that allows residents to report service issues via their mobile phones.

Companies can move to the next stage of automation maturity by integrating their disparate data and processes to deliver integrated experiences. Here, companies may identify repetitive actions and deploy tools such as AI to automate responses, extend their channels of engagement with customers and reduce the workload on service teams. Aspects such as enterprise integration, multi-channel experiences and the use of bots come into play during this stage.

Integration can be hugely beneficial. One ESG study found that, while 57% of organisations that are involved with enterprise integration projects hoped to achieve improved data visibility, 90% actually reported improved data visibility when the project was complete. And while 56% hoped for greater business agility, 86% reported real gains in business agility following their integration project.

As companies standardise their end-to-end processes and adopt automation best practices, they may utilise process exploration, big data and process monitoring to identify loopholes for automation. This could take the form of simplification of key business processes.

For example, a company may choose to leverage structured and unstructured big data to better understand customer preferences prior to a sales engagement, identifying patterns or trends, identifying products of interest, reducing preparation time and delivering a more personalised experience.

Toward seamless automated processes and experiences

When automation capabilities mature, companies may move closer to the ideal of seamless automation that blends human-led and digital experiences.

Here, aspects such as robotic process automation come into play, with companies leveraging prebuilt content via process flows, forms, business rules and process visibility dashboards to trigger tasks autonomously and automate complex tasks.

This frees up vital internal resources and eliminates the need for inefficient manual processes, leaving workers to focus on higher-value tasks that drive greater customer satisfaction, operational efficiency and bottom-line results.

While few companies can claim this level of automation maturity, any company that is ready to leverage automation can drive continuous intelligence and enable a culture of predictive working.

Companies that are at the aspirational stage of their automation journeys can benefit from prioritising certain key activities, including:

  • Leveraging process excellence;
  • Shifting the company culture to one of exception-based working;
  • Adopting predictive insights to improve decision-making;
  • Improving the accuracy of their planning while also improving operational execution;
  • Achieving a shift in mindset throughout the organisation to one of ‘automate-first’; and
  • Elevating the value of human roles by eliminating lower-impact, manually-intensive work and allowing skilled resources to focus on value-generating activities.

All companies with aspirations of becoming an intelligent enterprise can benefit from investment in hyperautomation. Partnering with an expert tech provider can also ease the process of discovering, designing and delivering an effective hyperautomation strategy that can unlock greater efficiency, improved customer experiences, more accurate decision-making and increased competitiveness.