The Genesis of Hyperautomation: The Never-Ending Search for Purpose in Human Lives

Rajat Jain

The new decade has brought new challenges and new, fancy terms like “hyperautomation” to the business world. Society is experiencing a new paradigm where decision making is shifting from human to machine, and rapidly progressing technology advancements are fueling competitive intelligence in every business.

IT automation is expected to grow by 41% annually until 2022, while 8 billion people are projected to use voice assistants worldwide (a two-fold increase from 2019). The business value created by AI and machine learning is predicted to reach US$3.2 trillion in 2022.

Therefore, businesses need to consider hyperautomation, which Gartner says is one of the top-10 strategic technology trends of 2020, even though the term is not yet recognized in dictionaries, to stay ahead of their competition and improve shrinking profitability.

The journey of automation

Although the term “automation” was officially coined in 1946, its origin goes back thousands of years, ushered in with the invention of the pottery wheel to save time and effort while producing better quality and scale. Later, factories and machines automated production in the era of industrialization, which prioritized assigning humans safer and more value-creating operations over low-value, repetitive, and inefficient labor-intensive tasks.

The next milestone through the IT revolution era led the shift from analog electronic technology to digital technology with the proliferation of digital computing, communication, and record-keeping, according to Sidney Dekker. This set software solutions in the business world as a new norm infusing maximum efficiency, speed, and quality.

The broadband and mobile era helped transform the ways we communicate, connect, sell, buy, socialize, express, work, etc. by overcoming the boundaries of distance, language, and culture through a variety of global social and business platforms. Our appetite for being connected and accessible transformed a traditional phone into a box of opportunities and made this era more meaningful for everyone.

The next milestone

Even though the last decade generated excitement for smart handheld and wearable devices, routinely repetitive tasks, such as shared services functions, insurance claims, expense processing, patient data keeping, call center functions, manuscript translation, and many such functions, remained repetitive, time-consuming, and error-prone.

Nevertheless, the power of computing capability and the availability of enormous data and content are enabling software to think, decide, differentiate, diagnose, suggest, predict, act, and more. We are no longer surprised by the personal and pointed suggestions made by social media apps. Security based on facial recognition and expressions is a new norm; the self-maintaining, hyperconnected smart devices, methods of transportation, and machines are the new industry standard; writing or action suggestions based on an email’s context are standard features in communication and business writing applications; and trigger-free, notification-based personal automation is standard in mobile operating systems. We are already experiencing the surge of automation.

Taking automation to “hyperautomation”

The urge to apply new-generation intelligent applications – not just for automating repetitive tasks but also for cognitive tasks such as decision making, fact-finding, diagnosing, acting, suggesting, and creating new insight to achieve massive scale, precision, and quality – is redefining automation. Therefore, this is now called “hyperautomation.”

It uses and applies an array of technologies like robotics process automation (RPA), machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP), workflows, etc. on a scale that will affect and redefine every single aspect of human life. The new normalcy will enable employees to focus on meaningful tasks, while businesses will significantly benefit from the increased profitability, customer experience, and process and cost efficiency achieved through hyperautomation.

Welcome to the world of hyperautomation

The global markets of the new decade will look beyond traditional indices based on market capitalization and sector and evolve new ones based on hyperautomation level, customer experience, purpose-led businesses, etc. Investors will use these indices as a guiding factor for investments. The new workforce will not accept jobs or roles in organizations that rank low on such indices. Organizations’ financial performances will also be driven by these factors.

Every business function will have a category of high-value tasks meant for humans, while their digital twins will perform low-value tasks to achieve better quality, precision, and scale.

For example, a healthcare professional can use a digital twin to assist in prescribing repeat medication or self-managing general medications, digitizing patient conversations, compiling findings, and diagnosing or predicting diseases based on a patient’s history of scans, medications, and lifestyle data. Researchers have recently trained a deep-learning algorithm to spot breast cancer in screening scans as accurately or better than a radiologist. Such a breakthrough will reduce incorrect results, help alleviate the shortage of radiologists, and make high-quality, ’round-the-clock healthcare services more affordable and scalable.

In another example, a people manager can have a “digital twin” carrying out activities such as leave processing, time and expense approval, etc. while also making recommendations for salary increases, promotions, or learning opportunities based on employment history and performance without risk of partiality or discrimination. While managers can remain focused on employee engagements, motivation, and finding the right opportunities for the team, surveys have shown that employees trust a digital twin more than a human with regard to salary increases and promotions.

Act now

With each new norm, we have strengthened and governed ourselves better since the start of our journey. We are again empowering ourselves with the advent of new technologies like RPA, machine learning, and intelligent applications. Businesses have significant opportunities to deploy hyperautomation across their processes and provide their stakeholders with higher value, their customers better experiences, their employees’ greater purpose, and humanity more meaningful jobs.

Historically, businesses and industries that do not adapt to and embrace new trends are at risk of extinction because of humanity’s insatiable urge to evolve and find purpose, which drives our species to thrive every day. Our journey to find meaningfulness in our lives will never end; it will always be our quest.

Learn more about “Augmented Humanity: Creating A Human Context That Technology Can Enhance.”

Rajat Jain

About Rajat Jain

Rajat Jain is VP, Innovation Services at SAP and heading Innovation Consulting Business across the northern region of Europe, Middle East, and Africa. He is responsible for helping customers adopt intelligent technologies and discover value from their innovations across their daily business processes. Rajat has led many diverse and global teams through various roles in SAP services and acquired his experience on customer engagements across the globe by covering many industries.