In the Race Toward Hyperautomation, How Can You Avoid Being Left in the Dust? Use the increasing fusion of AI and robotics to your business's advantage.

By Ariel Shapira

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As businesses fuse AI and robotics to unlock their competitive edge, vision and strategizing are key not just to success, but also to survival.

The term "hyperautomation," unknown just several years ago, has now become a part of everyday tech jargon. Gartner coined the term in 2020, naming it one of the year's top strategic technology trends. The research giant recently upped the ante, publishing its forecast that the hyperautomation-software market will reach nearly $600 billion by 2022.

In fact, "Hyperautomation has shifted from an option to a condition of survival," according to Gartner's vice president of research, Fabrizio Biscotti. There's a growing demand for technologies that support it, but what exactly is hyperautomation? And what can companies do to maintain their competitive edge in this race?

30% lower operational costs by 2024

The path toward hyperautomation involves employing a strategy to rapidly identify and automate as many processes as possible, utilizing a combination of today's most innovative technologies. By applying advanced tools, such as robotic process automation (RBA), artificial intelligence and machine learning, organizations can operate beyond individual input and further automate previously automated processes that will have a major impact on company output. Organizations are even predicted to lower operational costs by 30 percent by 2024 by utilizing hyperautomation, Gartner suggests.

Related: Technology Trends for 2020 That Will Affect Businesses

Covid-19 revealed organizations' reliance on manual processes and pressured businesses to digitize everything. Customer assistance, for example, became a logistical nightmare for banks, with thousands of unanswered customer inquiries. To overcome this hurdle, South Korea's largest bank, Shinhan, introduced AI-driven, virtual-avatar bank tellers to greet customers and answer queries. Replacing outdated technology or bankers with AI-driven virtual assistants helped streamline operations and improve customer service. Now that organizations have seen the benefit of digitizing and automating processes, the floodgates have been opened, and we will continue to see a rush toward hyperautomation.

Complete automation of a process is complex

Companies — especially those heavily reliant on unskilled labor — need to take action now. Industries that utilize many routine, repetitive and manual processes — banking, healthcare, insurance and retail — all have the most to gain from creating hyperautomation strategies. Grocery shopping, for instance, made a significant transition online during the pandemic, with online sales skyrocketing by 300% in the early part of the pandemic. This increase signifies the necessity for these industries to significantly increase automation in order to keep up with competitors and the consumer demands.

Related: 5 Ways to Be More Strategic and Successful in 2021

While automation is currently focused on the more obvious candidates, such as manufacturing lines and customer-service bots, in order to reach hyperautomation, companies must figure out how to layer multiple intelligent technologies together. Complete automation of a process is complex and therefore requires a strategy for combining technologies and integrating them within the business to deliver maximum value.

Competition among tech providers will drive down prices for implementation

Organizations may be wary of the costs of digitization on such a large scale, but the process of integrating technologies does not always require creating a new infrastructure to replace manual operations. In fact, many RBA, AI and machine-learning solutions can be integrated into automation that already exists. DataMind AI, created by AI company Razor Labs, transforms already existing heavy industrial machinery into smart machines, sparing companies the need to purchase new expensive hardware. The smart solution learns the machines autonomously and provides a tailored model for optimizing it. Other solutions for institutional adoption of AI will flood the market in coming years. And as digitization pushes forward and entrepreneurs come up with seamless and affordable solutions to get companies on board, the competition among tech providers will drive down prices for implementation.

Digital transformation is an intricate process and organizations will have to implement automation simultaneously on multiple fronts to reach the goal of hyperautomation. Executives can collaborate with digital-innovation advisors or technology consultants to create a hyperautomation strategy from top to bottom. In this approach, it'll be up to executives to create a clear strategy, set objectives and prioritize actions across all business operations to ensure the application of automation is efficient. Another approach organizations can take is looking to employees, who are in the best position to pinpoint which actions can be automated. This way, companies can also train the employees to handle more advanced processes instead of the routine ones that are being handed to smart machines, thus elevating their workforce.

Related: 3 Ways Automation Can Help Companies Work Smarter, Not Harder

It is clear that the path toward hyperautomation is critical for companies' growth and may even be necessary for their survival. Whether they decide on a top-down or bottom-up approach, organizations must have a clear vision, implementing automation in the most efficient way, in order to secure their position in today's ever-changing, competitive landscape.

Ariel Shapira

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor


Ariel Shapira is a father, entrepreneur, writer and speaker.

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