2020 was a landmark year for digital transformation. In the face of an unprecedented global crisis, technology emerged as the key enabler for resilience for all types of businesses —small teams or multinational enterprises, consumer-oriented or B2B vendors alike. Now, as we work through the road to recovery, many face the slightly uncomfortable question: How much of this change is scalable and operationally sustainable for the long term, including in terms of ROI?
The question becomes more pertinent as we look at these facts from McKinsey & Company’s recent report on the sheer pace of digital transformation last year:
- The digitalization of customer interactions accelerated by 3 years globally.
- Companies started to digitally reimagine their products/services 7 years ahead of schedule.
- Over 6 in 10 executives believe customer expectations have changed forever.
Yet, most companies are not positioned to sustain their digital transformation projects for the long haul. Only half of them believe that the rapid surge in adoption of technology for their operations will continue after the pandemic – which could potentially stall progress or set the other half back by several years and tens of thousands of dollars of hurried sunk costs. Of course, there is always this risk when the shift is due to a black-swan moment and not organic, evolutionary change.
Moving beyond the pandemic, organizations will have to take hard-won learnings about the need for flexibility and responsiveness of digital transformation initiatives and determine ways to build real and lasting resilience that can ensure growth and the capability to weather future storms. A prime example of this is the accelerating trend of building intelligent business process automation into their digital transformation roadmaps. And automating more complex end-to-end business processes in a scalable, more sustainable way.
How the pandemic revealed crucial gaps in digital transformation plans
Many businesses learned vital lessons through the last year — involving crucial gaps that otherwise would have gone unnoticed — when they tried to push the pedal to the metal on their digital transformation plans.
- Technology sprawl: In a bid to speed up digital adoption, business units and individual users were ready to adopt their favorite applications and enablers ‘under the radar’. This contributed to the ever-sprawling shadow IT landscape without organizational visibility, coordination or leverage. Only an integrated enterprise automation solution can put the power of technology enablement back in the hands of business users while keeping it within the realm of the organization’s overarching digital transformation framework and technology strategy.
- Higher propensity for technical debt: If shadow IT was one side of the coin, the other was retro-fitted automation often requiring many code changes that aren’t always reconciled. In the pre-pandemic world, organizations were already struggling with technical debt as a multitude of non-integrated automation technologies were applied to legacy systems. In the emerging normal, they will look for ways to implement technology capabilities faster, without dramatic overhauls and inflexibility that results in technical debt. Adopting a HyperApps approach is a more viable way to achieve scalable, sustainable automation.
- Culture woes: Cultural dissonance blocks digital transformation like no other variable. If business users, leaders, and decision makers aren’t on the same page, both strategically and in terms of execution, the dissonance will bring digital transformation to a standstill sooner than later. To prevent this, technology enablers must intersect larger strategic goals with short-term business outcomes and democratized use, and adopt platforms that enable this.
The first step to overcoming these challenges is to place sustainable automation at the core — of course, leaning into the best practical way of doing it — and to leverage the convergence of all its powerful capabilities. These include AI, Machine Learning, cognitive capabilities, cloud computing, no-code/low-code application development, and end-to-end integration, combined with a human-in-the-loop approach, where enterprises can achieve maximum advantages.
Can digital transformation happen without automation?
Automation in many forms, including robotic process automation (RPA), has quickly become one of the integral pillars for digital transformation. It brings about incremental improvements in process efficiency, and step-level improvements in enterprise capability when applied strategically. It builds resilience to crises, like a pandemic or economic slowdown, where labor shortage and market volatility would disrupt traditional production systems. Automation also makes room and provides for further innovation by freeing up budgets and resources and ensuring that digital transformation works in an ongoing, iterative cycle. Digital transformation without automation is like a car with a limited engine: it simply cannot go the distance with the power to transform and accelerate, and can consume more effort to maintain than the value it generates.
So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 81% of IT organizations will automate more tasks to allow team members to focus on innovation over the next 12 months to 18 months, which according to Salesforce, will drive true digital transformation.
What should come as a surprise is that problems such as integration, script maintenance, control, compliance and scalability continue to plague traditional RPA deployments. This is a worrying fact, given that 84% of decision-makers plan to increase their investments in automation – without the assurance of sustained ROI or an uncomplicated implementation roadmap.
The HyperApps approach: Evolve beyond your existing RPA implementations
While traditional RPA relies on rule-based engines and technical configurations to automate workflows at the task level, HyperApps take a more democratized, business user-oriented approach for achieving end-to-end business process automations, and optimizing machine-human collaboration. They have a GUI platform where business users, data scientists, and IT professionals – stakeholders across the digital spectrum – can participate in setting up and operating meaningful business process automation.
This approach enables teams across the organization to implement, iterate, scale and grow, and addresses many of the challenges organizations currently face when preparing transformation projects for long-term sustainability. It also facilitates optimum teamwork and a culture of innovation.
- HyperApps can automate business processes across the board, shrinking the technology sprawl.
- The no-code interface empowers teams, reduces maintenance needs and technical debt.
- HyperApp components are reusable and scalable, which lowers total cost of ownership (TCO), and accelerates time to value and ROI.
- Compliance is baked-in, without requiring further investment.
Ultimately, automation will be central to long-term digital transformation as organizations look beyond short-term responses and adopt SaaS strategically to address new omnichannel opportunities. By opting for HyperApps, they can address the foundational challenges of their RPA investments and take enterprise automation to the next level.
Making digital transformation scalable, sustainable and future-oriented
The pandemic brought about a rapid global paradigm shift, wherein businesses focused more than ever on delivering against digital-first customer expectations. It heralded a new normal of empowered employees who seek more autonomy, and of organizational resilience without taking success/market leadership for granted. For this emerging future, your investments in digital transformation shouldn’t be only considered as ‘crisis response’, but must hold their own and continue to evolve with the same urgency going forward, generating value beyond the pandemic.
If you are looking to iron out bottlenecks or inefficiencies in your business processes through sustainable, intelligent automation, please email us at email@example.com and our HyperApps experts will be happy to help you accelerate!