By Jean Van Vuuren, Associate Vice President – EMEA Commercial of Hyland
In a turbulent business environment, the path to building greater organisational resilience is either to make a major investment in new technology or find ways to leverage the performance of technologies already in place. For many firms in the financial sector, the second option is a much more practical and affordable solution.
As it stands, most organisations have islands of legacy tech, performing discrete tasks in specific departments, separately from other functions. While each of these systems is powerful in its own right, if you were to connect them and harness their collective power, you would create an organisation-wide technology infrastructure that would be much greater than the sum of its parts.
There is a way to do this, employing what research and consulting firm Gartner calls hyperautomation. In other words, improving efficiency by bringing together previously unrelated technologies, to create seamless end-to-end workflows that overcome the usual internal boundaries of a business.
Create a ‘multiplier effect’
Hyperautomation is such a powerful toolset because of the ‘multiplier effect’ you get from integrating what are normally disparate systems, such as robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML). These are essentially the core enabling technologies of hyperautomation which, when supported by event-driven software architecture, business process management and a content services strategy, can create a transformative infrastructure with the power and flexibility to automate what’s not before been possible.
The benefits of doing this are immediately evident in terms of generating greater efficiency and productivity. By sweeping up more and more low-value tasks, hyperautomation ensures greater accuracy and faster processing of loan applications, for instance.
Not only would that lead to greater customer satisfaction but it would relieve employees of many monotonous and unfulfilling activities in the workplace. That is better for the business and more satisfying for staff, who can focus instead on higher value, strategic tasks.
Improved employee satisfaction
By using hyperautomation to deal with the time-consuming task of processing unstructured data found on written forms, for example, employees would be able to find information faster, the benefits of which would be significant, given that 92% of employees say that in a week they waste a day searching unsuccessfully for the material they need.
And finding ways to improve job satisfaction is increasingly important when many financial institutions are struggling to recruit and retain the right talent. In a tough market, employers who don’t provide what is seen as an attractive package will find it increasingly difficult to find and keep staff.
Looked at from this perspective, far from being a threat to jobs, hyperautomation is an effective vehicle for introducing greater job satisfaction, enabling your teams to concentrate on ‘human touch’ tasks and enjoy opportunities to be more creative and collaborative.
However, if employees are to understand how hyperautomation will improve their work-life balance, there must be open and effective communication with them about what’s going to happen and what is expected of them, right from the start. This should be part of an ongoing process of improving data literacy throughout the organisation.
First steps to hyperautomation
If you are considering a move towards hyperautomation, the first step is to understand the current workflows in your organisation, so you know what’s working well and what could be improved. For instance, if you identify where the ‘islands’ of automation are at the moment, you can use hyperautomation to build bridges between them.
Your firm’s continuous improvement team, if you have one, is a good candidate to take on a hyperautomation project, at least in the early stages. They will, of course, have to get involved in gaining an understanding of potential technologies and possible vendors. The complexity of such projects means that your business is highly unlikely to find just one supplier that can meet all your needs.
Effective implementation also means knowing how different tools interact, and that requires an understanding of process and context. If you are sourcing multiple technologies, ensuring there is sufficient interoperability between different platforms, tools and technologies is essential.
Fortunately, the increasing availability of no and low-code software means that many departments will be able to create tailored applications themselves without the need for software developers, who are in short supply.
The pandemic has become a catalyst for digital transformation, with financial institutions seeing it as an opportunity to automate further and faster than they would otherwise have done and enjoy the benefits and opportunities that come from doing so.
Hyperautomation is a way to create a greater return from your existing assets, and for organisations that are somewhat tentative about committing more of their budget to higher technology spending, it’s a cost-effective way to increase efficiency.