High-value employees, capable of brilliant ideas, are often yoked to an endless list of mundane tasks. Gallup reports that 63% of workers plod listlessly through the mundane, too discouraged by the repetitiveness to go the extra mile. Why? Repetitive work is a creativity drain. After hours tending to Excel spreadsheet cells or monotonous copy-and-paste jobs, our brains are ready to clock out for the day—not sketch out our concept for a billion-dollar innovation.
But hyperautomation promises to upend how we work, freeing us from the bog of rote tasks. Its suite of technologies permits us to turn manual work over to machines and better use our quality least inimitable by machines—human creativity—elsewhere. Let’s explore the technologies that underpin this revolution in the workplace.
How is hyperautomation software different from automation technologies?
The answer is in the name: hyperautomation serves as a tenacious and spirited kick to early automation initiatives. Hyperautomation suggests a mindset shift, where tech-savvy employees take on the role of a restless explorer, looking high and low, turning over every stone in your organization to find fresh, new opportunities for automation to take hold.
Here’s the toolkit of tech that businesses on the fastrack to hyperautomation work with:
- No/Low-Code Platforms
- Business Process Management (BPM) Platforms with Automation Workflows
- Process Mapping Tools
- Integration Platforms (iPaaS)
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
- Intelligent Document Processing (IDP)
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Instead of using automation to patch up a couple of manual gaps, hyperautomation is a philosophy hyper-focused on cultivating a thriving ecosystem of automated initiatives.
The most popular hyperautomation software & technologies for business
Let’s dive into some of the most effective hyperautomation software & technologies powering this new shift in how businesses are run.
None of these technologies would be possible at scale without no/low-code platforms. Apps in this style make hyperautomation tools more accessible by dismantling the barriers between a concept and its creation.
For example, developing a new customer tool, like a self-service appointment maker, used to need a squadron of programmers, a lengthy development timeline, and an investment in the tens of thousands of dollars. Now, no/low-code platforms make building a scheduling tool like this one, or a workflow with many steps like payment and account creation, as easy as designing a PowerPoint slide.
Sales managers, marketing execs, and other business users can create apps and workflows that include a tool that extracts data from a photo of a customer ID or suggests products based on their past behaviors. No and low-code tools help those with limited programming experience have a hand in developing tech that best serves their customers.
Business Process Management (BPM) Platforms with Automation Workflows
The control center of a successful hyperautomation strategy is a powerful business process management (BPM) platform. These tools serve as the central HQ for the automations that whirr through your organization. A BPM catalogs every task into an automated sequence of steps. Say a potential customer requests a PDF resource through your website contact form. Without automation, a staffer would need to record the requester’s details into a spreadsheet, type out an email, scour your intranet to find the right PDF—and remember to attach it before clicking send.
A BPM orchestrates all of the workflows that perform that entire sequence of tasks autonomously. Automated workflows know when to request information from a database, when to nudge a staff member for approval, and when to send a report of the day’s numbers. You can instruct systems to read feedback from a written postcard, create a Jira ticket, and inform a Slack channel of the issue.
Each waypoint in the workflow is an opportunity to deploy any of the hyperautomation software we touch on in this article. A BPM is the beating heart of your coordinated hyperautomation deployment.
Process Mapping Tools
Just like any successful company-wide initiative, hyperautomation needs a plan. To develop this plan, you need to put in the investigative legwork into how your organization runs. What steps exist between point A and point B? When a customer sets up a new account online, who on the team needs to be notified? How is accounting informed that the user paid the initiation fee? Do you need to pass the information to a marketing platform to phase the customer from “prospect” to “current user?”
Process mapping tools help you plot and understand each item of work along the way. They can shed light on unnecessary steps and redundant behaviors. You then have a clearer picture of how you can improve on the customer experience. Understanding these steps is the foundation of a well-oiled hyperautomation strategy.
Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS)
The era of cloud-first business has burst open the catalog of apps and software tools that businesses can shop from. Instead of being locked into one vendor’s offering that works exclusively with your infrastructure, you can now pick best-in-class apps from various partners. Select one platform to power your rewards program and another to build personalized service offerings based on your customer’s preferences. But keeping data siloed in discrete apps is a business no-go. How do you bring together all of this disjointed information?
The answer is an Integration Platform as a Service, or iPaaS, another cornerstone of hyperautomation. iPaaS vendors serve as the translator between all the apps and software systems used by your organization. For example, exchanging the number of email link clicks with a CRM to rank hot leads or sharing sales call transcriptions with an onboarding tool for new hires. iPaaS helps break down communication barriers between technologies to make all of your data readily available for processing and manipulation.
Robotic Process Automation
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a very obedient rule-follower. Provide an RPA tool with a set of instructions—like populate a spreadsheet with the name and email address of incoming emails to a customer service inbox—and it’ll do just that. These digital doers can transfer data from Excel to an ERP, prepare a sales contract with information from your CRM, or populate accounting software with your banking transactions. RPA is all about moving standardized information from one place to another to make it useful in a new way.
Intelligent Document Processing
RPA is the go-to tool for extracting data from sources in standardized formats. You pinpoint where a phone number or amount due will appear, and RPA will pull data from that spot until you specify otherwise.
But what about documents where information exists more loosely? Enter Intelligent Document Processing (IDP), a tool that helps businesses explore what’s called “unstructured content,” or documents like emails, artwork, PDFs, and images that don’t follow a consistent template.
Consider Natural Language Processing (NLP), an IDP subset of artificial intelligence, that helps chatbots better understand the nuanced intent of our quirkily worded questions. Or Optical Character Recognition (OCR), a set of digital eyes that can read license plates at speeds of 70mph. iOS 14 also gives us a glimpse of how OCR works, letting us extract the text from a photo we took of a thanksgiving recipe in our grandmother’s cookbook.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Artificial Intelligence is an umbrella term for many of the technologies that encourage computers to think more like humans. Many of AI’s marvels are headlined by machine learning. Millions of inputs train our brains all day long, giving us nudges we aren’t even conscious of to hopefully produce a desirable result. Machine learning ingests remarkable amounts of data to mimic this psychological wonder.
Google Docs and iMessages learn how to assess the tone and vibe of our messages to suggest the next word. Spotify smartens up whenever we “boo” a song choice. When we decline or opt for our own alternative, this information is fed back into the system, learning if and when to prioritize that suggestion in favor of a more helpful answer. Depending on feedback, the model might make a different suggestion next time.
Hyperautomation software promises to intrinsically change how organizations work
Hyperautomation is primed to transform how we use technology in not only day-to-day activities. It’s also set to upend corporate strategy by making data less challenging to manage. When data is less unwieldy, corporations can find new ways to exploit it and discover new opportunities and competitive advantages in the nooks and crannies. Perhaps that’s why Gartner identifies hyperautomation as one of the most valuable competitive advantages for 2022.