Realm Of Intelligence

Narendran Thillaisthanam, CTO, Vuram illustrates to readers how using hyperautomation might benefit organisations by enhancing the experience of human workers

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Anam Khan

Published: Mon 29 Aug 2022, 10:31 AM

Last updated: Mon 29 Aug 2022, 10:32 AM

Can you brief us about Hyperautomation?

The term hyperautomation came into prominence when Gartner introduced it in 2020. According to Gartner, “Hyperautomation is a business-driven, disciplined approach that organisations use to rapidly identify, vet and automate as many business and IT processes as possible.”

The word rapidly needs to be highlighted here. Inherently, hyper-automation takes an agile approach to automation in the sense that you start expanding your automation wheel iteratively. Sometimes you start your automation with one technology, then expand with two, three and so on. Sometimes, you start with a few sub-processes or tasks and keep expanding iteratively. It is equally important to understand how hyper-automation differs from regular automation, which has been around for decades. The first and the foremost difference is that hyperautomation takes a swab at a fairly large end-to-end process, one that spans multiple departments and sometimes even organisations. Gartner calls this a multiple end-end processes.

Second, hyperautomation brings multiple technologies together. With traditional automation, enterprises bring a particular technology and try to automate as many processes or tasks as possible. With hyper-automation, it is the other way around. You take a sufficiently large process and ask what technologies are suitable for automation.

The ability of organisations to embrace multiple technologies is at the heart of hyper-automation. The result is that you create a hyper agile, hyper tech-savvy organisation that creates a culture of automation first.

Where should hyperautomation be implemented?

Generally, we can classify the market into four categories. The traditional process automation market has predominantly been dominated by human workers such as BPM. The traditional BPM business rules and business process automation has been around for some time. Business rules players, Business Process Automation (BPA) players, and iBPMS players are occupying this particular market. So the goal of this is to elevate the human workers’ experience. It's been very rapidly maturing.

The second big market that has opened up is the digital workforce market which includes not only human workers but digital workers such as RPA and AI. In the digital workforce market, a bot can do the job on behalf of the human, and then the bot and the humans can closely work together and orchestrate complex tasks.

The third market, which is relatively new and gaining a lot of momentum is the discovery market, where we have a lot of processes and deal with a lot of data. Traditional SQL-based analytics is a great example.

Now we have document AI. It can process a lot of information. Its scope goes beyond processing PDF or Word documents, and it can help businesses make sense of voice. In a call centre, for example, the emerging technology of 'Process Mining' can determine the sentiment of the callers using their voice: are they upset or can we do some cross-promotion?

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the fourth category of the automation market, where processes are moving away from the back office. In airports, for instance, the processes are speeding up towards self-service rather than doing a check-in. From a bank’s on-boarding experiences and government portals to healthcare and utility industries, self-service has become the new normal. It has opened up a fairly large B2B2C market which is capturing the minds of today’s digital consumers and saving them millions of dollars. Automation has come a long way from traditional analytics to process mining to OCR Document AI technology. In your current business process, you can apply hyperautomation where there are bottlenecks.

Why is it imperative for CFOs and organisations to implement hyperautomation?

There are reasons why CFOs should consider hyper-automation. Automation is taking root in finance operations. In the accounting department, automation is sweeping complex processes, including purchase orders, invoice processing, sales orders, order to cash, and procure-to-pay. With this view, CFOs should take a hard look at what tasks and what parts of their processes can be automated.

For CFOs who are very concerned about cost optimisation, sunk costs are a big challenge. If a company has made a huge investment towards legacy implementations. Implementing hyper-automation does not mean throwing away your old systems, products and legacy applications. Rather, hyper-automation is all about making a process more effective.

Those who run their core operations on ERPs like SAP or Oracle can continue on them while bringing in new technologies. Hyperautomation tools can augment and extend the life of your existing investments.

This is why CFOs should partner with CIOs and understand where a completely new fit is essential and where they can extend the lease life of existing investments.

How difficult or simple is it to implement and how long does the process take?

Hyperautomation is not very difficult at all. Hyperautomation is all about bringing an agile experience and helping organisations to advance their digital transformation efforts while ensuring a maximum ROI. You can start small: a certain sub-process, a few tasks, you can bring one technology at a time and build a culture of automation in your enterprise.

Vuram always encourages its customers to start small in one area, one department, one section, and bring one technology. If you choose fairly simple automation, we are looking at an implementation cycle of anywhere between six to 12 weeks with an ROI of about 12 to 18 months roughly.

It all depends on the tools. For RPA, the results show within two to three months. For low-code or BPM software, it could be up to eight to twelve weeks. From the first implementation cycle, from an ROI perspective, our customers have reported ROI benefits within about 12 months. And if we were to implement 'Process Mining', the gestation period can be longer.

The bottom line is that you should evaluate multiple technologies at hand and understand what technology fits and which automation package to take it forward.

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