As part of Solutions Review’s Expert Insights Series—a collection of contributed articles written by industry experts in enterprise software categories—Alan Shen, the Vice President of Solution Management and Digital Workplace Solutions for Unisys, explains how hyperautomation technologies can help companies improve the digital workplace.
As enterprise and consumer demands for efficiency rise along with expectations for nearly instantaneous service, organizations accelerate digital workplace transformations by hyperautomating business and IT processes. Hyperautomation is the automation of any process possible and requires the coordination of multiple advanced technologies. Many adopters are looking beyond bottom-line cost savings and seeking more tangible benefits of hyperautomation, including faster order processing, enhanced employee and customer experiences, and increased company adaptability.
For instance, organizations can leverage the data collected to derive additional insights into customer and employee pain points and address the issues before the service desk tickets are filed. Hyperautomation helps accomplish these goals and enables businesses to make changes proactively.
While it may appear to some that implementing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will reduce the need for developers and engineers, the opposite is true. Companies need software developers and engineers to write and deploy hyperautomated solutions, resolve challenges that impede successful end-user adoption, and maintain and upgrade systems as technology evolves rapidly.
Organizations must make the necessary considerations and preparations to ensure success in shifting to hyperautomation in the digital workplace. Here are four key steps to consider:
1) Lay a Solid Foundation to Reduce Long-Term Costs
Companies must examine their business objectives and identify their main goals using a cross-functional approach. Focusing on “quick win” solutions often results in siloed hyperautomation, which drives up the total cost of ownership (TCO). Keep TCO low by automating end-to-end, centralized processes, which will require input from across the company.
Forming a fusion team that includes representatives from across departments is a great way to identify hyperautomation requirements and develop a plan that addresses the needs of every persona group. After incorporating insights from all levels of seniority, the team can begin to build their step-by-step plan. This should be done from scratch rather than building upon existing processes that may not be optimal. Hyperautomation requires a strong foundation of people, technology, and infrastructure. It may take longer, but the TCO will be lower in the long run.
2) Incorporate Organizational Change Management
One of the most often overlooked aspects of hyperautomation implementation is the impact on the end-user. An organizational change management (OCM) strategy is critical for hyperautomation to realize its full potential and avoid adoption challenges. This is even more vital in a digital workplace, where teams span countries and continents. Without OCM, the focus remains on technology, not how employees can utilize their given tools to collaborate across workstreams. People naturally resist change and are more likely to bypass updated processes if they are not sold on the benefits or given the proper training and resources.
Companies that are most successful in implementing hyperautomation are those that demonstrate the reasoning behind the changes and clearly outline those benefits to employees. While it is understandable employees may fear that hyperautomation could put them out of a job, organizations must emphasize that’s not the intent. Instead, hyperautomation aims to give employees more time to focus on high-priority work while allowing hyperautomation to handle time-consuming and often tedious tasks. For example, suppose a company implements a chatbot for the service desk. In that case, IT employees need to understand the difference between their use cases: a chatbot offers quick answers to simple questions, while service desk representatives handle complex issues that require more creative and strategic thinking.
Incentivization can help individuals, teams, and organizations realize their hyperautomation goals. For example, companies can set key performance indicators (KPIs) for hyperautomation and provide bonuses to employees if the company meets those KPIs. Another option is to hold a competition between departments, awarding the first to meet hyperautomation KPIs with special incentives like tickets to a professional athletic event or concert. This gamification approach is particularly effective when driven by C-Suite leadership. Often the pride of edging out another department provides enough satisfaction to drive behavioral change.
3) Examine the Context and Validate End-User Benefits
Before deciding to hyperautomate a process, examine its components more granularly. Will this make my hybrid workforce operate more efficiently? Or will it add to any existing frustration they have with technology? A company may want to turn to hyperautomation after receiving several service tickets related to a specific issue. When looking at the data closely, only a few end-users raise that issue each month. In this case, implementing hyperautomation may be more complicated and costly than it is worth. But there may be more value when looking at the broader benefits of hyperautomation, mainly the end-user benefit.
While saving 15 minutes daily may not seem significant, highly skilled healthcare providers see tremendous value in regaining that time, especially when they are in high demand so that they can focus on patient care. This business value typically dwarfs the benefit of saving 15 minutes for a customer service representative. Ultimately, it will depend on each organization’s business objectives.
4) Maintain a Deep Bench of Software Developers and Engineers
Since technology is constantly changing, there is no end to a hyperautomation journey. The need for software developers and engineers will remain as organizations must consistently evaluate their processes and determine whether emerging technologies add value. For example, Unisys offers a frontline worker solution that provides employees with coding and software development tools, enabling customer-facing workers to build custom apps that help them deliver better service. While this model aims to increase employee efficiency, developers and engineers still need to make the backend infrastructure to support the front-end development the workers lead.
With technology advancements come increased expectations of its impact. A few years ago, it was considered unthinkable to have an AI algorithm generate large bodies of program code; now, it’s a reality with the introduction of generative AI bots. This evolution will place increased demand on developers to deliver more complex outcomes in the same amount of time. Developers will be expected to include AI components within the next version of programming tools because they’ll be considered mainstream. The bottom line is there will always be a need for developers and engineers as long as technology evolves and companies want to remain efficient and competitive.
Hyperautomation is not just a technological shift but a cultural one that requires buy-in from all levels of the organization. Successful implementation requires strategic planning and consideration across the organization. By following the outlined strategies, hyperautomation can be leveraged to increase collaboration and efficiency, improve customer experiences and stay competitive. With the right approach, hyperautomation can be a powerful tool for digital workplaces to drive business growth and success.