Hyperautomation – what is this and how can it boost CSP transformation?
Hyperautomation goes beyond earlier automation efforts to create a synthesis of tools and techniques, backed by cultural change and leadership evolution. It’s no longer something that can be ignored – find out why.
Hyperautomation – building on a long history
Hyperautomation has emerged as a key set of techniques and tools that are expected to add value across a wide range of industrial and other sectors – including telecommunications. While it sounds novel, in fact it builds on a long history, having its roots in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) which draws on innovations in Machine Learning that date back to the 1950s. RPA is differentiated from software or process automation by the use of bots to enable automation between systems and processes that may not support APIs.
All well and good – and beneficial to be sure, but as a recent report from Deloitte points out, RPA has some limitations. For example, the difficulties inherent in selecting the right processes to automate and scaling automation efforts and, interestingly, the problem that a process may have been flawed before it was automated – leading to the replication of errors.
So, even while our industry is pushing ahead with automation in general – for well-known reasons, but which include the need to process many new sources of data and unprecedented data volumes to support new 5G networks and applications – we also need to consider how automation itself will evolve to the next, hyper-level.
 “Hyperautomation – the next frontier”, Deloitte November 2020
A common understanding of hyperautomation
Hyperautomation seeks to solve these and other problems. According to research company Gartner, hyperautomation is a:
“business-driven, disciplined approach that organizations use to rapidly identify, vet and automate as many business and IT processes as possible. Hyperautomation involves the orchestrated use of multiple technologies, tools or platforms, including:
- Artificial intelligence (AI)
- Machine learning
- Event-driven software architecture
- Robotic process automation (RPA)
- Business process management (BPM) and intelligent business process management suites (iBPMS)
- Integration platform as a service (iPaaS)
- Low-code/no-code tools
- Packaged software
- Other types of decision, process and task automation tools”
Leadership and vision are essential
As can be seen, hyperautomation builds on RPA (and other automation techniques) to create a more diverse set of tools – an ecosystem as Deloitte puts it. It is also suggested that hyperautomation delivers additional benefits, such as more rapid progress, as well as less tangible rewards, such as enhanced employee satisfaction and greater collaboration.
Far from undermining employees, hyperautomation can enhance both workforce and workplace. It’s also important to recognise that leadership is required, a point emphasised by Gartner, which, in a recent report, sets out a leadership vision for CIOs in the telco domain, noting that:
“CSPs must move beyond isolated/ad hoc automation opportunities to enterprise-wide hyperautomation. They need long-term and committed leadership to overcome complex barriers and deliver business outcomes.“
Indeed, this last point is crucial – a point reiterated by Deloitte:
“In planning your automation journey, it is very important to have purpose and desired business outcomes well defined”
 Hyperautomation: How Can CSPs Prepare for and Implement It
Embarking on your hyperautomation journey
Hyperautomation, then, is a journey as well as a destination, because it’s not just concerned with technical solutions, but also with workplace transformation and leadership from the top down – and the involvement of all stakeholders. With that in mind, how should we approach this task?
Again, Deloitte provides handy tips. First, define your purpose and quantify the outcomes – from the perspective of new revenue as well as cost savings, together with an understanding of risk. Next, pay attention to things already in place – optimise existing processes and standardise data as much as possible. This is important because a key pillar of hyperautomation depends on sharing data between processes and systems.
Of course, it’s also important to select the right tools from those available – as we have seen, there are plenty of options. Finally, implement the process automation, “with AI as augmented intelligence”. Whatever other tools you choose, AI is fundamental, because of the sheer volume and variety of data that must be processed.
And now we come to the nub of the issue. Which processes should be chosen? Of course, the ultimate goal is to automate every process, in so far as that is possible, but it’s essential to choose the best place to start. Historically, this has been a challenge – but hyperautomation provides more tools to help us to accomplish this task. If we focus on outcomes, then two factors can help guide us:
- Near-term: what processes can be hyperautomated to give us quick wins, showing the success of the initiative and building support for future activities?
- Long-term: which processes can be further enhanced as part of the overall programme?
These decisions are critical and it’s important to get them right – because this transformation cannot be ignored. As Gartner notes, “Hyperautomation has shifted from an option to a condition of survival.”
Learn from best-practice and established leaders
So, perhaps it’s instructive to learn from leading practitioners and peers? For example, Elisa has long pioneered automation and has built a leadership position. This is based on the integration of solutions from Elisa Automate and a gradual approach to building up automation capabilities. Elisa applied hyperautomation techniques to enable processes to be identified as candidates for automation – and then used the right tools to enable them to be converted from manual to automated processes.
Having begun this journey in 2010, Elisa Automate has created solutions that can support any CSP’s hyperautomation journey. These include vNOC – a complete, virtual NOC environment that automatically handles all network alarms – and Intelligent Energy Saver, which enables automated optimisation of power consumption in RAN sites.
Elisa continues to build on this through the further adoption of network monitoring solutions, such as KALIX and OSIX from Polystar, and the introduction of new, closed-loop automation algorithms.
This leadership has been recognised by Gartner. So, if you want to know more about how we can assist your automation efforts and accelerate your journey, please get in touch. We’ll be happy to share our results and experience as a pioneer of CSP automation!