Hyperautomation is Here to Stay: Here’s How to Find Success in the New Hybrid Workplace

By Pat Calhoun • June 15, 2021

When the pandemic began, digital transformation became a major priority as organizations looked to modernize the workplace, keep up with remote work environments and contain costs. Digital transformation is now table stakes. In this InformationWeek article, I recently wrote about the impact of hyperautomation – a combination of technologies like AI, RPA, and NLP – on the future of work.

According to Gartner, one of the top strategic technology trends this year is hyperautomation—70% of commercial organizations have implemented hyperautomation initiatives to address the backlog of requests and keep pace with the business. The analyst firm defines hyperautomation as an ‘effective combination of complementary sets of tools that can integrate functional and process silos to automate and augment business processes’ for speed and efficacy. Gartner recommends that organizations identify and automate as many processes as possible to optimize time and costs.

In my article I recommended, “To keep up with customer demands and succeed in the face of enormous challenges to their bottom line, supply chain, and operations, enterprises continue to be challenged to become laser-focused on resilience, efficiency, agility, and productivity.” To accomplish organizational goals, many turned to hyperautomation.

In layman’s terms, hyperautomation refers to the marrying of various technologies – such as artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, natural language processing, conversational chatbots, and machine learning – to accomplish complex projects that might previously have been approached in a more piecemeal, siloed fashion.”

The Important—But Often Overlooked—Role of Change Management

Automation, and hyperautomation for that matter, is not just about the technology. Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, the risk of change fatigue among employees doubled. Understanding change management will be crucial to ensuring successful implementation of hyperautomation technologies in the workplace.

There are several ways enterprises can support employees going through organizational changes. Gartner makes a few recommendations including:

  1. Focus on how employees experience change – Think of it this way: If employees have a positive experience with change, they are more likely to better absorb and deal with it vs. employees who have a negative experience.
  2. Be sure to engage employees throughout the entire process – When organizations do this, the probability of change management success increases by as much as 24 percentage points.
  3. Don’t underestimate the power of trust – Building trust throughout the process can set the organization up for success and employees who report high trust, have a 2.6x greater average capacity for change.

In my article, I explained how “the psychological and all-encompassing nature of change management often makes it the most difficult part of an IT project, regardless of the technology involved. To start, change management requires buy-in from key stakeholders. It also requires acceptance from employees who are accustomed to the status quo (which, after all, took time to learn.) While employers can choose to implement the most advanced technologies, those technologies won’t add value without stakeholder buy-in and employee adoption. This is especially true when implementing solutions that are as transformative as AI.”

Simply put, before investing in new technologies, company leaders must be mindful and strategic in addressing change management and to increase employees’ ability to absorb change.

The First Step: Automate the IT Help Desk

Focusing on how employees experience change is one way to support employees going through change management. One way to accomplish this is by automating the employee self-help process. The IT help desk, for example, is often used by employees as a resource to receive answers to tech-related questions.

In the article, I also shared how “organizations will often cite cost as the main factor when attempting to rationalize their aversion towards automation. While cost is always a practical consideration, it can’t be a blanket excuse for automation inertia.”

“Automating employee self-help not only optimizes support for remote employees by delivering immediate, personalized answers to employee questions, but it also delivers rapid ROI by enabling help desk ticket deflection. Help desk teams can spend more time resolving substantive matters versus answering maddeningly repetitive tickets. This, in turn, should lead to greater job satisfaction.”

A great place to start with navigating change management is by automating the help desk so employees have the ability and a go-to resource to get the answers they need, when they need it.

Change Management, the Help Desk and What It Means for Hyperautomation Initiatives

The bottom line is with the demand for hybrid work environments, hyperautomation will continue to be a workplace imperative. However, before implementing any technology initiative, change management needs to be considered. Without it, employees can become frustrated, burned out, or fatigued, and all the investments made into modernizing the company’s technology stack will fall short of reaching its potential.

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