The Evolution of Automation: From RPA to Intelligent Automation to Hyperautomation

Automation is a growing and timely business imperative, but terms like robotic process automation, intelligent automation, and hyperautomation cause confusion and can easily slip into the category of business jargon. We succinctly outline all three and provide our thoughts on which may be best for your automation journey now. Specifically in life sciences, automation is helping pharma discover new therapies, streamline pre-launch and commercial operations, as well as uncover new markets for existing products. Additionally, IA technologies took a major jump in Gartner’s 2021 Hype Cycle for Healthcare Payers.

Quick Overview: RPA, IA, Hyperautomation

It’s best to think of automation on a continuum from doing to thinking and from process-focus to data-focus. As human workers move from repetitive, high-volume tasks to activities that require finer cognitive insight, more sophisticated automation technologies are required.

What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?

Gartner defines robotic process automation, “RPA is a noninvasive integration technology used to automate routine, repetitive, and predictable tasks through orchestrated UI interactions that emulate human actions.”

There are two main types of RPA – assisted and unassisted.

Bots are deployed on an individual desktop and the human worker carries out certain aspects of the task, relying on the bot to do other, more cumbersome, or technically complex parts of the process.

Bots are deployed on a centralized server, allowing manual control. This type of RPA solution can automate end-to-end tasks and workflow scheduling from a central point of control.

Go deeper and consider the use cases outlined in this primer.

What is Intelligent Automation (IA)?

While RPA tends to focus on automating repetitive and, many times, rules-based processes, intelligent automation incorporates artificial intelligence (AI) technologies like machine learning, natural language processing, structured data interaction, intelligent document processing.

Because AI simulates types of human intelligence, automation can process higher-function tasks that require some level of reasoning, judgment, decision, and analysis.

See what other executives think about their journey from RPA to IA.

What is Hyperautomation?

Gartner touted hyperautomation as a top ten technology to watch. While some may view RPA and IA as sub-sets of hyperautomation, it refers to the “combination of automation tools with multiple machine learning applications and packaged software” used to carry out various levels of work.

Think of hyperautomation as a toolbox of RPA, IA, intelligent business process management (iBPMS) tools, integration platforms (iPaaS), and decision management systems.

Hyperautomation will drive higher-level functioning from task automation to orchestration to intelligence, enabling predictive insights, guided recommendations, processing mining, and adaptive decision making.

READ GARTNER WEBINAR RECAP CIO Guide to RPA & Hyperautomation.

RPA – IA – Hyperautomation: Which is Right for Your Business Now?

Gartner predicts that, by 2022, 80 percent of RPA-centric automation implementations will derive their value from complementary technologies. While, a recent CIO webinar revealed that 33 percent of attendees were just starting with RPA, over 30 percent of webinar attendees had already begun to implement tools for process mining, machine learning, and ingestion engines to extend automation success.

Determining where to start, scale, or extend automation technologies depends on many variables to bring a new level of enterprise-wide optimization to processes, data, and people successfully. 

RPA – IA – Hyperautomation: Find Your Highest-Value Automation Use Cases

Our Use Case Planner Tool can help you vet where automation may be needed, as well as guide you to your highest-value opportunities.

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