Four automation issues to watch out for in 2021

Automation At the beginning of 2020, few of us thought digital transformation would become a crucial part of our business. The pandemic has accelerated investment in transforming everything as a means of survival.

We had to automate our warehouses to keep the distance between drivers delivering goods and employees unloading trucks. To accelerate COVID-19 vaccine development, companies like Takeda have accelerated drug discovery and patient trials in record time thanks to Robot Process Automation (RPA).

And while the vaccine launch promises a return to some semblance of normality, it doesn’t mean we will return to normal. The trading rules established during the pandemic will not simply disappear with the virus. Trends surrounding automation have accelerated, and there is no reason to believe they will slow down.

1. Hyper-Automation

Gartner named hyper-automation their number one strategic technology trend for 2020, and it was the only trend to return to the list in 2021. Put, hyper-automation attempts to combine different automation techniques to achieve true end-to-end automated solutions.

In simpler terms, hyper-automation enforces structure around chaos. Organizations are constantly automating parts of business processes, but few have taken a step back to see the bigger picture of end-to-end organizational change through automation.

An example of hyper-automation would be RPA coupled with artificial intelligence (AI) to design more effective processes based on ROI extracted from analytics. Applying hyper-automation would streamline your automated processes, resulting in even greater process improvement.

Automated process discovery is key to learning how your team works and suggesting new candidates for automation. This is not just a job for machines; Hyper-automation attracts business analysts, end-users and subject matter experts, enabling humans to work side-by-side with machines.

2. The rise of the automation architect

The rise of automation has brought niche roles to the fore. Suddenly, companies need in-house experts to solve the ever-increasing complexity that automation brings to their business.

The automation architect sets the standards and tools for the business use of automation. They lead modernization efforts and create the business case for why something should or should not be automate. They also analyze the impact of automation on the lines of business to establish a standardized approach across the organization. You dive into politics and discuss how automation affects people and processes.

In a recent Gartner survey, 20% of large companies plan to onboard automation architects in 2021. This number is predicted to increase to 90% by 2025.

3. RPA adoption is increasing

RPA is increasingly used to help staff do their daily tasks more effectively. By automating traditional tasks, organizations can eliminate human error and increase efficiency. Removing mundane tasks gives employees more time to deal with more challenging problems. Global outlay on RPA services is expected to reach $12 billion in 2023, up from $5 billion in 2019.

As RPA becomes more ubiquitous, it’s starting to expand beyond the realm of IT. Business-savvy COOs and CFOs want to apply the transformative power of RPA across the enterprise. Gartner predicts that half of RPA adoption will happen outside IT by 2024.

Intelligent process automation (IPA) is also developing rapidly. IPA combines RPA with artificial intelligence (AI) to harness the power of machine learning to reshape more effective processes. IPA has the potential to transform the way we approach business processes.

4. Internet of Behavior data is increasing

The Internet of Behaviors (IoB) uses data to change behaviours. Each of us generates huge amounts of data every day. Privacy is becoming a daily myth, from our social media feeds and smartphone location tracking to telematics in our cars and health data monitoring via wearable devices.

IoB synthesizes this data to create digital footprints for each of us that businesses can use. Telematics is a great example: it is used to analyze driving habits. It can track speeding, reckless and careless driving, indicating that a driver is at high risk of an accident in the future. With this data, insurers can decide not to cover dangerous drivers, and commercial fleets can focus their safety training on the highest-risk drivers.

Regarding insurance, drivers can now opt for this monitoring with the promise of lower rates, but it won’t always be optional. Some insurance companies, like Metromile, work directly with car companies to add tracking to their new models. In 2021, you will be use in more business use cases across industries.

Digital transformation efforts will continue to increase in 2021 as organizations strive to become more agile and competitive in today’s rapidly changing landscape. Business processes were ripe for disruption as remote work became the new norm. Most companies have noticed productivity gains from this new model and will continue to develop processes to facilitate it.

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