Beyond the vision, purpose, and goals, every enterprise aims to be in business forever. To do so, they take their own path to make themselves self-sustaining, growing, etc. However, not many are able to keep up with their drive. A recent McKinsey study observes that the average lifespan of companies listed in Standard & Poor’s 500 was 61 years in 1958; it dropped to less than 18 years by 2019. And by 2027, McKinsey believes that 75% of the companies currently quoted on the S&P 500 will have disappeared. They will be bought out, merged, or will go bankrupt.
Longevity requires the ability to be ahead of the game constantly. Even if you leap ahead of one disruption, another one can find you unprepared. Studebaker, one of the largest carriage companies, transitioned successfully during the Industrial Revolution, shifting from making carriages (during the 1900s) to making automobiles. With their distinctive designs and excellent quality, they were the gold standard of the 1950s. However, lacking a long-term plan, they wrapped up operations in the 1960s while their competitors pushed through on scale and operational efficiencies. Those competitors are now facing a potential upheaval with a shift to non-fossil fuel sources for automobiles.
The Threat Ahead
The threat of disruption is spiraling across segments (automotive, manufacturing, banking, insurance, etc.) – especially in the new operating world post-pandemic and the world we are leading into with a looming recession. With their disruptive ideas, the start-ups and tech unicorns are already pushing the bar for enterprises to play catch up or lead forward.
Several enterprises had identified this threat early on and invested in transformation in limited segments, through Digitization, Lean, Automation, etc. It kept them afloat but still not in clear control to weather the voyage ahead.
We are at the cusp of a mega shift. AI/ML-led digital transformation is exploding, made possible by the availability of increasing computing power at lower costs and the advancement in neural techniques. This has given a new opportunity to enterprises to thrive in the new age of Digital Transformation – Hyper Automation.
The Hyper Automation Solution
Gartner defines Hyper Automation as “a business-driven, disciplined approach that organizations use to rapidly identify, vet, and automate as many business and IT processes as possible.2” According to them, “Hyper Automation involves the orchestrated use of multiple technologies, tools, or platforms, including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, event-driven software architecture, robotic process automation (RPA), business process management (BPM), and intelligent business process management suites (iBPMS), integration platform as a service (iPaaS), low-code/no-code tools, packaged software, and other types of decision, process, and task automation tools. 3”
For an enterprise to truly cash in the power of Hyper Automation technology, it must do a few things right:
- Study its current state as against competition and the needs of today and the future
- Honestly reflect on and accept anomalies, wastes, and deadwood to go forward, and
- Eliminate, Standardize, Optimize, and Harmonize to get into a sustainable continuous improvement loop.
Hyper Automation is not about chucking away your existing processes or systems for new versions. Neither is it about trying to paint over old processes with a new color (e.g., automated execution of the same old process). It is about using process and technology reinforcements in an informed and focused manner and taking your entire organization along on this journey.
What does this translate into in a business context? Take, for instance, an insurance claims department struggling to keep the cost of operations under check and SLA adherence in line. They might adopt a global workforce for cost arbitrage and adopt RPA to gain on quality and speed of operation. However, this becomes a siloed effort in one team, and the enterprise might not see much of an uptick in cost reduction, quality, or speed. More so, the end user might not notice! The Hyper Automation way would be to look at the entire claim process journey from the lens of the client and the employee. Then draw plans to reinvigorate the process and systems across the board to achieve the enterprise goals, client experience, and business sustenance. This scenario could be applied to almost every area, for example, procure-to-pay in manufacturing, mortgage in banking, etc.
A Five Step Approach to Hyper Automation Adoption
- Establish the overarching objective and qualify it with relatable goals – What’s your intent? For example, do you want to stay ahead of the competition, build resilience for an uncertain future, etc. Once you’ve defined the objective, qualify it with relatable goals – qualitative or quantitative.
- Generate opportunities, ideas, or product offerings towards these objectives – Go beyond the structure, technology, skills/personnel within the organization to scout for these opportunities. Vet these to see if they complement or lead to the objectives in pursuit.
- Assess the lay of the land – What opportunities, solutions, and direction are others in the industry pursuing? What is the current state of your organizational ecosystem – processes, technology, personnel, etc.? What is the innovation you need?
- Design your path ahead – What is the product, process, and technology solution you need to make it happen? Open the gates of tech innovation with the Automation Digital Toolbox, not limited to Task Mining, RPA, IDP, Low-Code / No-Code, Chatbots, Conv. AI, NLP, AI/ML, etc. Enhance your applications for improved functional coverage, reduced tech debt, reduced cost of ownership, agility to deliver capability faster, integrating the heterogeneous systems, limiting manual handoff, etc
- Get into the sustenance loop – Maintain the transformative pursuit.
No transformation journey sails through easily. There will be obstacles such as nay-sayers, failures, market setbacks, talent crunch, and internal rigidity – organization structure, culture, etc. However, these can be eliminated or contained. Several large and small enterprises have successfully gone through this journey and continue to perform in a self-sustaining orbit. These examples are available to take inspiration from, emulate, and enhance to adapt to our own. We at SLK have had the great opportunity to go through the transformation for our enterprise and contribute to Hyper Automation adoption for our clients.
Authored by Gireesh Ullody