According to Gartner, “HyperAutomation refers to an approach in which organizations rapidly identify and automate as many business processes as possible. It involves the use of a combination of technology and tools, including but not limited to machine learning, packaged software and automation tools to deliver work.”
Gartner further projects that “this renaissance in RPA is part of the bigger trend of HyperAutomation.”
How about this? McKinsey & Company reports that “RPA can have a return on investment of 30 to 200% in the first year.” I believe the key word here is “can,” and if you can, then one must ask “how?”
This is all very conveniently stated if you’re an RPA vendor. But unless you are an e-commerce giant like Amazon, you have to pick your battles and choose who, what and where to invest in wisely.
Large successful companies typically are visionaries who can afford to be early adopters of technologies that will gain a competitive edge. Small successful companies tend to be frugal and very particular in the people they choose to lead and make the tough investment decisions. The human element is their competitive advantage.
We define “New-Age Automation” as HyperAutomation combined with a risk-based testing approach. Risk based testing is a fairly old and proven concept that pertains to software testing. We advocate that the same risk-based approach should be applied to all investment decisions, most importantly, automation.
A well calculated risk-based approach usually requires an outside, objective viewpoint from an entity that has seen several companies succeed and fail; someone with no vendor or technology bias. Their goals should be to overcome complacency, and adherence to tools that have not produced the expected ROI and the most common human obstacle - the resistance to change.
According to the World Quality Report, the most challenging obstacle to automation in DevOps workflows is “lack of specialized skills.” HyperAutomation inevitably results in the need to reskill your people to work with technologies such as AutoML, RPA, and Automated Security Testing. AI-enabled automation does not replace people, it augments people by making them more productive by performing tasks that require human intuition. Hands-on training has proven to be up to 5 times more effective than online training for most people. Therefore, training must be an integral part of your HyperAutomation plan. A third-party implementation consultant is again, best suited for this task.
The widespread adoption of Selenium is a perfect example. Most organizations have invested in multiple layers of human resources and plug-in tools to support their “open-source” automation platforms. Decommissioning these frameworks could result in layoffs and probably a few heads rolling. It would not be worth the risk. There is that word again - “risk”. How should this be defined?
At a very high level, a risk-based approach requires an Automation ROI assessment that provides metrics and key performance indicators of what your most critical business functions are, as they relate to customer satisfaction and retention, and of course, business continuity and profitability. We can call this Priority Level 1. When Level 1 has been satisfied, we move to Level 2, and so on and so forth.
The trouble is, there are too many KPIs to choose from. If you choose the wrong ones, then you are measuring things that do not align with your goals. This is why measuring risk is so critical. After you have a good idea about the risks of taking action (or not taking action), then you are in a better position to decide what processes to automate.
Not everything should be, or can be, automated. Legacy backend systems connecting to a complex web of microservices indeed requires testing. But how much testing can you / should you automate? Where is the threshold where you have met the point of diminishing returns and where your ROI is tangible?
There are many charts and graphs we can provide to illustrate the above, but let’s get back to the human element. The greatest benefit of automation is that it frees up humans to perform the soft-skill business functions. An application will never-ever have emotional intelligence. In short, a properly designed HyperAutomation plan will empower and enable your greatest resource - your people.