Hyperautomation, Disruption, Continuous Business, and Digital Transformation are the Foundations of the Future

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We have entered the age of hyperautomation - the release of advanced new technologies is constant and is changing the world as we know it today. These advances are in automated capabilities, in automated tools, and in wonderful new technologies that will affect our lives in untold ways. These untold ways are the opportunities we all have before us - if we are bold enough to innovate.

We are seeing wonders released almost every day and mature into capabilities that are changing how we live and play. Holographic imaging and robot surgeons are just the tip of the technology iceberg. Autonomous cars and trucks are starting to be used and voice interaction will soon support AI interaction as computers think independently to do things for us. 

Someone will need to leverage these advances to rebuild both IT operations and the business. But the skills of the past and even today will not be adequate - nor will the approaches or concepts we use today to transform our businesses or their automation support. 

The Hyperautomation Revolution

On the tool side we see platforms starting to expand to integrate BPMS, RPA, Data Management and more. Programming is becoming a thing of the past as "Low to No Code" tools are becoming common - and evolving to allow even greater autonomous application development. And the rate of technical breakthroughs is accelerating at an almost exponential rate, causing companies to rethink everything from strategy and its timing to operations and business transformation. All are becoming continuous activities. The annual cycles and the one-time events of transformation are becoming business dinosaurs - anachronisms. But many have still to recognize these shifts and internalize their impact.

All of this has a high price for our companies that are anchored to the past with legacy technology architectures, infrastructures, and applications. The response by many companies is to license new tools and plop them into the current automation technology environment - calling it digital transformation. This is once again creating the mix of dissimilar technologies that we force to work together through interfaces and emulators. It seems that for many the plan is to continue the approaches of the past twenty years that have caused the complexity we all deal with today as we all drag the legacy anchor around to increase cost, increase automation error, and elongate the time even simple changes to our applications take. 

Fortunately, this is not a competence issue. It is a budget issue. Over the past 30 years of continuing cost reduction, we have lost elasticity in our companies and we have tried to compensate with approaches like continuous improvement - which have delivered great but focused results. But it is now time to focus on a much bigger picture. 

The question today is how long will the approach mixing legacy and modern technology be the norm? With what is happening with hyperautomation today, I believe that the answer is: not long.

Digital capabilities available through the hyperautomation era we are going into may not allow the past approaches to continue. Competition and the need to keep up to compete will alone change our approaches to digital transformation. As customers adopt these new tools and automated capabilities, those companies who cannot interact with them the way they want will become irrelevant.

There was an old quote: "work is where I go to use outdated technologies to slow down my work". It was unfortunately true. People often had more advanced PCs and more up to date versions of automation tools than the companies they worked for. Today with the speed that automation advances are released, this may once again become true. 

Before this happens, I believe more advanced and nimble companies will recognize that it is time to rethink both business and automation and transform them into a seamless business operation that is capable of rapid business change and response to opportunity and innovation.

This means that most companies will need to rethink everything related to traditional IT and rebuild. This transformation will be based on strategic vision, future business capabilities that need to be developed, and the ability of the company to creatively innovate their operating model and their customer interaction models. These factors will drive digital transformation as new technology and automation capabilities will drive transformations in operations and every other part of our businesses.

Knowledge and skill needs are changing

But as the technology of the past must be modernized with new hardware, middleware and applications, so must the way business operations support is approached and the ways automation is used. IT must become closer to the business than ever before and in some ways blend with it. 

While this change is an automation play, it is also a business play as the automation changes cannot stand apart from the business in creating a true integration of business and automation. This represents a new way to consider IT in companies. This and similar concepts are new and different and represent a transformative approach to automation - approaches that are designed to leverage the hyperautomation era we are entering. This will require different knowledge and skills and a reskilling of both the business and technology sides of traditional IT as legacy everything is replaced over time. And it is happening now. Are you ready? Do you have the skills that will be in demand tomorrow? Can the company envision a new way to operate and then design the evolution to that model? Few really can. Few have the needed skills and there has been no place to get them.

Reskilling

As companies transform around new digital capabilities and emerging technologies that will change their market and how they deal with both one another and customers, we will see a push to innovate and upskill people with up-to-date business and digital transformation skills. Given what is happening now, it is clear that people who can work with corporate and process planners to create integrated strategies and the digital plans to transform automation will be in demand.

We have divided digital transformation into two basic groups of specialists. The first is transformation designers and planners who will work with corporate strategy, business operation transformation, and organizational transformation specialists to define and guide the digital transformation from inception to its evolution to continuous transformation. The second group is the automation technicians who will design and build the technology infrastructure architecture and the application architecture, and work with the transformation teams to define and direct the generation of new applications. In addition to the vendor supplied skill base, these people will require very different business skill sets. 

 

This is the first installment in a Hyperautomation article series. Be on the lookout for future articles that will address different aspects of hyperautomation. Share your thoughts, experiences and concerns in the comments section- some may find their way into future articles as we continue to explore this emerging topic.

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