Exasol CTO Mathias Golombek is excited about to possibilities and prospects of hyperautomation. But how can you start laying the foundations to make this ultra-lofty goal possible? Here, Mathias sets out eight stepping-stones to get your organization ready for a hyper-automated revolution.
In recent months there has been a great deal of hype about the concept of hyperautomation. The topic is widely cited as one of the data trends to watch in 2022 and has sparked numerous debates, comments and blog posts, including my own.
Yet although there has been much thinking and talking, the time has come for action. Businesses must now go beyond simply pondering what hyperautomation is and how it could theoretically work for them. They now need to work on putting in place core building blocks that will enable them to take advantage of all that hyperautomation has to offer.
What is hyperautomation?
First, a reminder of what exactly we mean by hyperautomation and why it’s getting people talking in data circles. According to Gartner’s official definition, hyperautomation ‘is a business-driven, disciplined approach that organizations use to rapidly identify, vet and automate as many business and IT processes as possible.’
So by no means an easy or simple task. Essentially, we are talking about a mass roll out of new, automated processes across the majority of, if not all, of a business, which means dotting a lot of i’s and crossing a lot of t’s.
8 steps to achieving hyperautomation
Turning theory into action is a big challenge to take on, and preparation is key.
In my opinion, if you want to start laying the foundations for hyperautomation now, then these eight steps will be a solid process to follow:
- Create a strategy around what hyperautomation should look like for your business and what you want to achieve through the initiative. In the same way that developing a data strategy is vital, this first step is key in order to get people on board and allocate resources where they are needed.
- Build your team with individuals who are properly connected across the organization and equipped with the right skill set. Business analysts and data experts need to work together to combine their technical and strategic knowledge to ensure the best possible outcomes.
- Document everything – right from the start, all business processes and decisions need to be documented to chart the history of the project and allow you to measure progress and make improvements along the way.
- Conduct an audit – analyze the level of digitization you already have across the business and identify the processes that still need automating. There might be some that are already well covered, including data collection and KPIs, for example, but others might be completely “manual” and in need of migrating to an automated process. Decide what your key priorities are and create a plan around those.
- Set up the right tech stack to ensure you have the capability to integrate various data in near-realtime. Choose solutions which are flexible and scalable to provide access to different sources, such as data analysts, data warehouses and structured data.
- Start implementing hyperautomation practices
– Start collecting the data streams, create data quality and establish a coherent data warehouse.
– Visualize the different parts of your business, and establish automated notifications so that business stakeholders can be notified of issues, such as thresholds being reached.
– Automate decisions within your business processes across the departments you’ve identified as your priority areas.
– Additionally, you have the option of applying AI/ML models to train and continuously improve your decision process.
- Education, education, education: Once your hyperautomation infrastructure is in place, make sure your people are trained in data literacy, analysis and have the right tools and skills to benefit from these newly automated functions.
- Continuously improve by getting an end-to-end overview of your business, to fuel more transparency, encourage information sharing, and prompt the right discussions in and between departments. This level of communication and collaboration will ultimately lead to better decisions and stronger business performance.
Understanding these critical steps before setting out on a hyperautomation journey will help you stay focused and increase your chances of success.
If you have any thoughts or feedback I’d love to hear from you.
Mathias Golombek is Exasol’s CTO. He joined in 2004 as a software developer, led the database optimization team and became a member of the executive board in 2013. Although Mathias is primarily responsible for Exasol’s technology, his most important role is to create a great environment in which smart people enjoy building powerful products.