What makes hyperautomation… well, “hyper”? It’s partially about scope; hyperautomation involves expanding your use of automation to include every activity in your business. It’s also about evolving your automation strategy from simple task-oriented automation to more sophisticated, business-focused process automation that leverages advanced technologies.
Hyperautomation has several facets.
The tools you use. Hyperautomation involves combining automation tools to achieve optimal results; from enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, to intelligent business management software (iBPMS), to robotic process automation (RPA) products, to even more specialized tools that are specific to your industry or business needs.
The technologies you embrace. Hyperautomation is also about exploring and applying emerging technologies such as process mining, strategic orchestration, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and natural language processing (NLP).
The sophistication of your automation. When you start automating work that was previously done manually, it’s normal to focus on isolated tasks or processes that have clear boundaries or a limited scope. With hyperautomation, you move from task-based automation (which is inherently limited) to a broader approach where processes are orchestrated from start to finish, with real-time measurements and analytics built in.
Let’s look at three things you should know about hyperautomation.
1. Tech debt isn’t your only debt
Every organization that has spent time and money to automate business or IT processes has accrued some technical debt that slows down teams or that prevents new automation projects from launching. The Gartner report Predicts 2021: Accelerate Results Beyond RPA to Hyperautomation explains that:
“Cost, complexity or lack of speed is no longer just about technical debt. There are many types of debt — process, data, architecture, security, talent and societal debt. Organizations’ desires have created a relentless demand to automate or augment as many processes as possible for resiliency, efficiency, agility and productivity.”
It can be tempting to focus on tech debt because it’s a familiar problem for IT and software development teams. But automation is no longer just a technical challenge; it’s a business necessity. In Predicts 2021: Accelerate Results Beyond RPA to Hyperautomation, Gartner advises: “Develop a business-led approach toward automation adoption by focusing on measurable improvements in business outcomes, rather than tech-focused ethos for process, architectural and technical debt reduction.”
2. You don’t have to automate processes as they are
There’s a simple way to start a process automation project: sketch out what the process looks like, identify the steps that are relatively easy to automate, and repeat until you’ve automated all the steps. However, this approach doesn’t give you the chance to rethink and improve the way a process works. Gartner points out that “Processes designed for humans need not be automated just as they are, but should be open to alteration to allow for better value.” It’s best to start fresh by identifying the business outcome or goal you want to achieve and designing an automated process that will get you there.
3. Strategic orchestration is a must
Most organizations use a number of specialized technologies or applications to automate business and IT processes, rather than trying to do everything with a single vendor. This plug-and-play approach is popular because it lets teams choose the right tool for the job at hand, and it gives the organization the flexibility to swap tools in and out of the technology stack with minimal disruption to the business.
However, enterprises are quickly realizing that they need a management layer on top of their diverse toolset. The 2020 Gartner report Emerging Technologies and Trends Impact Radar: Hyperautomation explains that:
“These platforms focus on controlling the ‘what resource does what work … when’ level, leaving the how execution at the individual work instruction level within the specialist technologies. Strategic orchestrators give clear data to inform decisions about the direction of the automation roadmap, as well as a framework to allow human activity to be easily swapped for new automation tools as they emerge, or at the point where they will add value to the enterprise.”
Gartner, Predicts 2021: Accelerate Results Beyond RPA to Hyperautomation, Stephanie Stoudt-Hansen, Frances Karamouzis, Melanie Alexander, Laurie Shotton, Nicole Sturgill, Rajesh Kandaswamy, 4 December 2020
Gartner, Emerging Technologies and Trends Impact Radar: Hyperautomation, Cathy Tornbohm, 1 December, 2020
GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.