Is “Hyperautomation” just another buzzword that has been around the technology trends for the last couple of years? Do I mean by “side effects” that Hyperautomation is not healthy for your business?
Well, the answer is a big NO for both questions. Let’s dive in.
Automating processes end-to-end was a need for many businesses and a consequence of the successful automation initiatives through the years that needed scalability.
We started by automating simple activities inside processes. Then we automated the entire process and finally, we ended up automating complex workflows with artificial intelligence needs and multiple applications resorting to Hyperautomation.
Everyone knows that the main benefits of this kind of initiative are pretty obvious: reduced costs, increased productivity and employees are free from repetitive tasks to do more added value activities.
Now, what about the amazing side effects that are happening and that no one is talking about? Let me share with you what we are witnessing in the organisations that are investing in large automation initiatives, like Hyperautomation:
The IT departments are closer to the business than ever before.
I truly believe that IT teams play a prominent role in every large organisation and will be more pronounced in the future. The days when we called the IT guys just to order a computer, ask them to fix the printer or tell them that the internet is not working are over. Businesses will increasingly rely on IT to operate and scale. However, IT teams have often been seen as just a support service and a big wall has emerged between IT and the business. We’ve noticed that automation projects have been an opportunity for the IT teams to know in detail what the business teams are doing by participating in the process dry-run sessions and engaging with their colleagues to find better solutions for their daily work. IT teams feel more engaged and motivated and the big wall is turning into transparency inside the organisations.
Employees are more engaged by being challenged to rethink the company processes.
When I ask some employees why they are doing the process a certain way, the answer is often “- Because it was always done this way”. This means that they are just mimicking older colleagues without even thinking about why this is the best way to do their everyday work. Probably some people saw the opportunity to improve the process, but no one got the chance to stop, sit, discuss and think about it. Participating in the process redesign is something that highly motivates the employees because they feel part of a positive change for the organisation with a visible effect on their colleagues. And now they know how to answer when someone asks them why they do the process that way…
Process documentation increases tremendously.
Let’s be honest, no one likes documentation… But everyone loves to have all the process documentation ready to handle to the auditors and receive a compliment about how well organised we are. Well, while the main goal of automation projects is to automate processes, a big side effect is the increase of process documentation that is needed before the development of the robots. In the end, this documentation is very useful for audits and fast onboarding of new employees.
A chance for better communication between different departments.
As some processes can have a big scope of departments interacting in the same workflow, the work sessions of this kind of project can be really interesting. Each time I start a new project of this kind, I am amazed by the lack of communication between side-by-side departments about their operational reality. They can sit next to each other and not know what their colleagues do. When they rethink the processes, they expose their daily tasks in a very simple and clear way and their colleagues end up sharing tools and tips that can be very useful. Once again, better awareness, collaboration and transparency take place here.
An opportunity to review and optimise the applicational landscape of the organisations.
I often hear that automation is a fix for unfitted applications that are not tailored to the business needs. I partially disagree, as even a very organised and optimised enterprise architecture has communication and integration needs that only automation can provide with a sustainable cost-benefit ratio. Hyperautomation projects are frequently the opportunity to list the business requirements and create awareness about what needs to be redesigned in terms of the applicational landscape. Hopefully, many positive initiatives have been triggered alongside Hyperautomation projects due to the prior work that needs to be done before implementing automation.
This is it. These are the main side effects we have been witnessing that are not usually listed as benefits, just because it is difficult to quantify them in numbers to convince Executive Boards to invest. But we should not neglect them, as they are a very interesting bonus during this kind of journey.