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Gartner’s recent Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2021 report highlighted ‘hyperautomation’ as a key trend for the upcoming year. Here we’re taking a closer look at exactly what hyperautomation means for business, and how it will play out as part of the unfolding digital transformation.

End-to-end automation

In the digital transformation race companies are hindered by the limitations of their own workforce. Legacy tasks and paper pushing snowballs into a slew of ongoing menial tasks, which detract from the deep work required to advance businesses.

Automation, in which a manual process is replaced by a computer or machine, sees its application broaden immensely in 2021. While automating tasks is nothing new, the arrival of artificial intelligence (AI) drives a step-change in scope, paving the way for what Gartner have dubbed ‘hyperautomation’.

In automation’s present guise, IT teams identify a repetitive task and design a workflow to replicate the process automatically. However, this piecemeal approach is too inefficient to be scalable, with workflows typically designed individually and distinctly. Hyperautomation transforms automation by considering whole business processes and automating entire workflows end-to-end. 

While hyperautomation was previously hindered by the complexity of analysis required for even the most basic human tasks, advances in computer learning and decision-making now often mitigate the need for continual human input. This holistic approach automates entire job functions, in most cases improving upon the efficiency and accuracy of the human user. In addition, in this integrated approach the entire process is confined to a single dashboard, making it easier for the IT department to manage. Gartner predicts that by 2025 this streamlined approach will reduce the cost of IT operations by 30%.

The career cost

Automation of laborious, menial and repetitive tasks is something most of the workforce will celebrate, but ironically it is the industries automation is best suited to that are most concerned about its implementation. Oxford Economics predicts that by 2030, around 20 million manufacturing jobs could be replaced by automation. Numbers-based roles such as those in insurance, research, office administration and accounting may also become obsolete in the face of technological advancement. 

The pandemic has also provided a strong incentive for CEOs to invest in automation, as companies come under pressure to implement social distancing, reduce office numbers and cut contact. Roles involving personal connection such as customer service have lost their USP as workers struggle to build rapport from a safe distance and in PPE.

To ring in these changes, ‘automation architects’ will become highly sought after by companies. While 20% of companies with hyperautomation requirements currently employ an information architect, by 2025 Gartner expect this to reach 90%.

Get the full report

This blog is an excerpt from the illumo digital report: 2021 Tech Trends Driving the Digital Transformation, our guide to the technological advances propelling the digital landscape. Get ahead of the curve and discover how to futureproof your business; read the full report for free here.