Disruption, Hyperautomation, and Transformation – Part I

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Managing Principle, Wendan Consulting
Dan Morris is a partner at Wendan, Inc. and MCT. He has written 5 books on business transformation, over 70 articles and papers for PEX, TechTarget, BPMI and others, spoken internationally at over 45 conferences and hosted/delivered over 30 Webinars for PEX and other groups. Dan has also served as the North American Practice Director for Business Transformation at Infosys, Capco, TCS and ZS Associates, and as an Executive Consultant with IBM Global Services. He currently serves on the PEX Advisory board and has served on the Forrester BPM Council, and the boards of ABPMP, and the Business Architecture Association. Dan was recently named as an ABPMP Fellow for his work in advancing the BPM discipline.
Managing Principle, My Career Transformation
Keith Leust is a results-driven business leader with over 30 years of hands-on experience. His career has been split between leadership roles in companies and an executive consultant to Fortune 500 leadership teams. Keith held senior leadership roles including VP Transformation, Chief Human Resources Officer, Senior Director of Business Architecture, Head of Motorola University, and other executive positions at Prudential, American Express, Motorola, Oracle, and other global organizations. His consulting work includes business strategy and execution, transformation, technology deployment and optimization, revenue growth and cost optimization. Leveraging his background as an engineer, with a Master’s in Finance and a Six Sigma Black Belt, along with training in multiple change and transformation methodologies, he is a seasoned leader who focuses on outcomes and achieving desired business results. Keith leverages his ability to adapt and learn as conditions evolve to re-imagine what is possible. His unique approach to Transformation weaves together the disciplines of Strategic, Operational, Organizational and Digital Transformation into an integrated agenda that continues to adapt as the needs of the business shift and evolve. Keith is a former board member of Business Architecture Association (BAA), now the Business Architecture Guild. He co-authored the first Business Architecture certification exam and career competency model for the Business Architecture Association, and “The Business Transformation Field Guide” to improve transformation outcomes.

Some disruption is a normal part of any business operation. We just adjust. We collectively all just lived through a bad one—the Covid19 pandemic. We are now entering yet another new major disruption, and hopefully it will prove to be a good one. While this disruption has already started, its impact has not yet reached its projected level.

Hyperautomation and advances in multiple advanced technologies are driving the latest big disruption—and not just to business, but to everything. Yes, everything. But because it is giving us capabilities and products that fascinate us, we tend not to really notice. For example, we now have AI starting to run autonomous vehicles with onboard robots to complete a delivery. We also have AI driving apps that talk to us on our phones—like Cortana and Siri. With Cognitive Computing and Natural Language Processing, we can have conversations with computers. And those are just some of the examples. Look around and see what is happening in healthcare with holographic imaging and robotics. This is just taking hold and it is the tip of the iceberg. Five years from now, we may not recognize the world. Which brings me to the point of this two-part article. Someone will build all these wonders and our companies will evolve—at least some of them will. Those that do evolve will dominate their markets, and unfortunately those that don’t will slowly become irrelevant.

This is the great disruption we face today. The only question is: Who will be the real winners? Who will have the creativity to become dominant players? Who will build the new products and who will evolve their company leveraging hyperautomation technology so it can move fast enough to dominate?

As former Practice Leads in the largest international consulting firms, we have helped hundreds of companies adapt over the past 20 years. But these changes were to cut costs and improve efficiency. That was the easy part. We must now challenge past approaches and wisdom—they mostly represent a different and much simpler time. We are moving into largely uncharted territory for most companies with hyperautomation and hyper transformation. And we know from experience, changing people’s minds on things they have relied on in the past is not easy. So, there will be early adopters and late adopters, people who accept the technology driven changes, and those that want to stay the course they are on. There will also be companies that gobble market shares and those who lose it. But regardless of what any company does, Hyperautomation based Business Transformation (Hyper Transformation) is on the horizon of companies that want to be competitive.

And to be clear, as great as iBPM, RPA, AI, Cognitive Computing, Natural Language Processing, and more are, they only provide capabilities. It is what we do with those capabilities that is transformative. These technologies form the Hyperautomation family and give us capabilities we have never had before, supporting tremendous creativity and the ability for companies to move from the past into the future by transforming the company—questioning and rethinking everything. This questioning and rethinking, if done with an open mind, will ultimately change our old operating models—ones that have been with us since college and no longer fit the reality that technology has given us.

The fact is that this disruption has started and it will require both technology investment and the creation of new ways of approaching business operations—requiring that the business/IT silo barrier finally be broken.

Flexible Investment

While a few companies like Amazon and their online store have grown in the Pandemic, most companies have struggled. So, when we talk about investment, we understand that most companies will be recovering for the next year or more depending on government regulations, increasing taxes, and more. But, with Hyper Transformation and its evolution approach you can proceed at a rate that is affordable—gaining benefits each step of the way. That approach is based on the creation of a complete, comprehensive future state business model that leverages the multi-level BPM hierarchy modeling approach. This model hierarchy starts with the identification of processes and how they will work together to deliver operations and the products of the company. From this process level, the BPM approach breaks the business design down through multiple modeling layers to a very detailed work step level. The new business design at each level must answer four questions:

1.     Does this design support strategy?

2.     Does this design optimize the business, leveraging automation capabilities?

3.     Is this buildable?

4.     Can this model be built in a cost-efficient manner?

This modeling approach contains supporting information in “shadow” or “detail” documents that show the reasons for each step, detail action descriptions, workflow, application needs, problem descriptions, rules, timing, standards, data flow, application use, ideas for improvement and innovation, cost and benefit estimates, and much more.

This model provides context; it is the foundation for determining the order that the business will evolve. It allows the new operation to be divided into business functions that each provide a usable part of the end solution—thus delivering the benefit that was defined. Following this approach, which we talk about in our new book and used on our projects, these functions are checked as they are being built and deliver the benefits they were anticipated to be delivered. Because the main future state model shows context, the transformation team can check each business function and see what other functions each one interacts with and what passes between, when, how, and why. This makes it possible to build the new version of the functions individually in the appropriate Hyperautomation technology. Because the iBPMS tool also controls the execution of all of the applications for each business function (new and legacy), the applications can be plugged in as they are complete. This allows the new business to evolve at a rate that is affordable to the company. It also allows the evolution ordering to move the highest value business function redevelopment earlier in the project and lets the realized benefit begin to cover at least part of the cost—changing the traditional ROI model.

As a company with Hyperautomation tools moves to transform it will need to adopt a Hyper Transformation approach like the one we discuss in our new book that will allow the schedule to be modified to adopt new hyperautomation, or other technologies as they are released, and modify the future state design, changing the goals, schedules, and investment models. This allows management to stay up on the evolution to the new business model, the benefits, and the cost. This ability is vital in the future business operating environment where change must happen fast and accurately.

This flexibility is also constantly looking at ways to reduce cost and error immediately and then streamline activity and determine how the Hyperautomation tools can best be leveraged to take the operation to an optimal level, in a way that it can be sustained. This sustainability is an important part of the future of any business operation. It refers to the ongoing ability of the business to sustain a responsive, cost effective operation that can maintain its operational integrity as ongoing changes are made in the future. It also increases management’s control over the continuous transformation of the business—assuring its alignment with strategy.

Controlling Disruption

As discussed earlier, any large change is disruptive. Control over all of the moving parts is difficult as is keeping competing interests out of the capability mix. But internal disruption can be controlled and investment can be made affordable.

Legacy IT is the 1,000-pound gorilla in every company. Companies cannot live without it, but managers often wonder if they can live with it. The good news is that it can also now be effectively addressed and put on a path to modernization, and it can be affordable as part of the transformation’s evolution if the right approach is followed.

While small, frequent disruptions are simply dealt with, controlling large scale disruption is seldom a straight forward activity. But the potential causes for major disruptions can be fairly well predicted. Each prediction can be considered a scenario that may have multiple action plans—aligned to the specifics of the disruption. Each approach will have consequences and any action taken will have predicted and unpredicted results. To control disruption, all probability scenarios must be defined and based on situation relevant factors, the response actions need to be outlined—along with execution factors to provide a warning of additional necessary changes to the response design. These actions will have a central core of activity that will be immediately put in motion to gain a short period of time, followed by a shell of activities that will be customizable to assure an appropriate and adequate response. These plans will include the actions that will be taken for the Hyper Transformation evolution and the business and automation projects that are underway.

The disruption that is related to any transformation can also be predicted and controlled as a blending of business transformation activity, digital transformation needs, and “must do” projects—such as responding to legislative rule or reporting changes. Other transformation related disruptions to normal activity will occur but should be both predictable and small. These will mostly be related to staff time, rule changes, or problem corrections.

However, regardless, of what response is chosen in any situation, the long-term result will be the introduction of workaround steps that weaken the fluidity of future responses, the efficiency of the operation, and the potential for error. After a few large and small of these disruptions, and the response in the business areas, the operation weakens and work becomes inefficient—causing a need for additional people and an escalating cost.

Tune in to Part II of this article where we discuss specifications around Hyperautomation tools, how to avoid high failure rates, and how to get started to ensure success.

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