6 Business Automation Trends For 2023

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1st January 2022
5 Minute Read

An enabler of employee growth

 

At the outset of digital transformation, it was ironic that automation was perceived by some as a threat that could wipe out thousands of jobs. Historically, new technologies were often met with the same hostility, think of Edison’s light bulb and bicycles. However, these two inventions are still flourishing today, as popular as ever, and in the same way, automation is on track to positively transform many employees’ potential.

Current business process automation trends have shown that many sectors of business automation can naturally function as a catalyst for employee growth. As more menial and repetitive tasks are delegated to automation, employees for the first time can take on job roles, which fully utilize their skills and experience, creating a more positive working environment.

Staff can put their energies into innovative tasks, which are more satisfying, and create far more value for the company.

 

Voice-activated automation

 

Marketers were swift to see the opportunity for voice-activated technology in the domestic setting. Take-up of Alexa, Siri, and Google Home has been swift in the automation of lighting, heating, ventilation, and security, as well as home appliances.

Voice activation technology is now becoming an established part of industrial applications too. It is often combined with existing process technology, for example, the programmable logic controller (PLC).

A PLC is an industrial computer used to control a specific process, a machine system, or possibly an entire production line. It is easy to program, and exerts reliable control, as well as monitoring and processing fault diagnosis.

The technology is particularly appropriate for computerized numerical control (CNC) industry machines such as lathes, mills, and grinders. The PLC won’t understand voice commands but via a voice activation interface, an operator can instruct the machine through simple voice commands.

Different devices are designed to work with different protocols. However, because the Internet is used for communication, commands will simply be transported via the internet to the local PLC. The technology is still emerging but the potential industry applications are profound.

 

No-code integration

 

The no-code movement is an extension of the low-code movement and was born out of an inclusive wish that technology should be an enabler and facilitator of creation rather than an incomprehensible barrier.

No-code development instead uses a graphical interface, on which both programmers and non-programmers can build apps and workflows on a business process automation (BPA) platform. Non-programmers don’t need the usual technical know-how or programming language training to design their own solutions.

Creating an interface with existing applications initially presented a problem, however, some no-code programs do now include tools for integration, although these may need some simple programming.

No-code has numerous advantages including:

  •         It enables companies to deploy an integration quickly
  •         A point-and-click and drag-and-drop interface simplifies input
  •         User training is much reduced
  •         It improves company agility

 

Contribution to “net zero”

 

In May 2022 conclusions at the World Economic Forum (WEF) projected digital technologies could, if scaled effectively, reduce emissions of energy, materials, and mobility, by 20% by 2050. In the short term, adopting the same digital technologies should reduce emissions by 4 to 10% by 2030.

Current business process automation trends demonstrate that Machine Learning (ML), is an excellent tool for the dynamic management of supply and demand across most industry sectors. Improved forecasting creates significant falls in both manufacturing and transportation waste. Companies have a responsibility to judge their processes and initiatives not just on revenue and profit but also emissions.

 

Hyperautomation

 

In principle, hyperautomation is a fundamental component of digital transformation, as it offers a high level of business intelligence and at the same time eliminates the need for human interaction on low-value processes.

In hyperautomation business processes are elevated by merging them with Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Business Process Management (BPM), and others.

Hyperautomation creates improved power and flexibility in workflows, which enables companies to be that much more responsive to change. By combining different automation technologies some of the inherent limitations of single automation applications are eliminated.

Hyperautomation has several advantages:

  •         Combined technologies work more effectively than the sum of individual ones. This speeds up workflows, makes them more efficient, and is less error-prone.
  •         Hyperautomation has been demonstrated to reduce operating costs by up to 30%
  •         Using hyperautomation decision-making is enhanced and data extraction is more available
  •         Employees experience better job satisfaction, as there is no requirement for regular repetitive tasks

 

Integrating RPA with BPA

 

Business Process Automation (BPA) aims to take a more holistic perspective on digital transformation where the company’s strategic and tactical goals are appraised. It is more invasive to the company’s processes, as it installs its own systems and programs to operate.

In comparison, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), is seen as a subset of BPA, where it enables a company to simplify recurring, repetitive tasks which were previously done manually.

However, for further efficiencies, RPA can be integrated to work with BPA. For example, originally as a response to COVID-19, remote working is still the norm for many companies, and by integrating BPA with RPA, organizations can replicate human interactions.

The commercial benefits of RPA and BPA not only mean faster and more efficient processes but also a significant gain in competitive edge and agility in responding to change. A move from a manual to a cloud-based platform is a good example, which improves efficiency and productivity.

 As RPA is not as invasive as BPA it can be integrated with existing software such as CRM. For example, chatbots on websites are an example of RPA working alongside CRM. As the chatbot receives a question from a customer, it checks its standard list of responses and either offers the best one to the customer or forwards the query to a customer service employee for personal attention.

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