2022 will be the year of hyperautomation—organizations using automation tech everywhere they can to shift routine workloads off people and onto technology.
Understanding how to transfer different types of workloads from people to machines is the challenge, made more difficult by the shifting automation landscape. The prize is a more efficient and evolved organization; one that is ready for anything.
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Trend 1: Democratization of automation
Times are changing. Knowledge workers no longer want to be constrained by siloed applications, or slowed down by the manual operation of processes that cut across them. Instead of being constrained by technology, they want to be freed by it. They want technology that empowers them to orchestrate work across all the systems they use so they can cut admin overheads and create time for new projects. They want the machines to work for them, not for them to work for the machines.
Once the sole reserve of the IT department, automation must be democratized. People want simple automation solutions which don’t require IT’s deep technical skills—so they can quickly automate repetitive, high-volume work that gets in the way of progress. They want direct access to automation that works as an extension of themselves so that they can take charge and get much more done.
Trend 2: The rising AI tide continues to expand what can be automated
There is a limit to what can be automated today. There is a line between human work and machine work. That line is shifting rapidly upward as AI capabilities achieve parity with human capabilities in more areas. The definition of what is automatable and what isn’t is constantly changing. The list of work that people no longer need to do grows every day—releasing more time for them to focus on the engaging, creative work they love.
Together, the spread of automation capabilities across organizations, and the deepening of machine capabilities will have a transformative impact on work. What the average knowledge worker’s day looks like will change profoundly. Large chunks of boring administrative work, such as responding to enquiries, requests and issues will be automated. For example, 86% of an HR professional’s day is currently taken up by administrative work, leaving little time for strategic projects. With less energy sapped by repetitive work, your people will be revitalized in their pursuit of your organization’s mission.
Trend 3: Automation platforms converge
Automation platforms will continue to converge and overlap, creating some confusion in organizations where different teams select their own tools.
RPA, RBA, BPA, and ESM (Robotic Process Automation, Runbook Automation, Business Process Automation, Enterprise Service Management) are considered four distinct automation technology categories. They all provide work automation with varying degrees of breadth and depth. And they are all jostling to be the dominant enterprise automation model. The reality is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Different tasks require different tools. IT operations automation is very different from automation of HR processes. Organizations will likely need their own unique blend of automation technologies to realize maximum value, while retaining visibility of where automation is applied.
Trend 4: Visible early successes will drive rapid organic growth
Early successes will drive a sharp increase in adoption in 2022. When teams see the benefits that early adopters are achieving, they’ll also want to benefit. In early-adopter organizations which are aggressively using technology to automate work, any and all high-volume, repetitive tasks will become a target.
Trend 5: Automation sprawl will drive cost and confusion
As a result of ungoverned organic adoption by individual teams selecting their own tools—paying for them through discretional budgets—organizations will find that they quickly accumulate a patchwork of tools. Organizations will struggle to manage automation sprawl across multiple platforms—making it difficult to keep track of which workloads are automated where, and who they are owned by. Although value will be rapidly gained, costs will quickly escalate, and hidden risks will surface.
Trend 6: Organizations will apply strategy to enterprise automation
Organizations which have seen rapid organic growth of automation in different departments using different tools will unearth the value to be gained from a strategic, governed approach. As a result of spiraling costs, they will seek to reduce the complexity and cost of their automation technology footprint through rationalization—settling on a small number of shared automation platforms, complement by automation policies to guide fast but safe adoption.
Smart organizations will approach human workload automation from a strategic angle, focusing first on how the high-value, high-volume work can be automated as a proof-of-concept. Lessons will be learned along the way, highlighting the need for flexibility enabled by codeless workflow creation. Integration must also be a key part of the decision-making process.
To automate complex work spanning multiple systems, it will be necessary for most enterprise organizations to apply a hierarchy of tools that maps over the existing infrastructure—with a flexible Enterprise Service Management solution orchestrating tasks across RPA, RBA, and BPA to manage complex value chains.
By taking a strategic approach, organizations can unlock maximum value in the shortest timescale—transforming what work looks like, making it more sustainable, and creating an engaged workforce that is fully focused on creating a new future.