The past 18 months have seen a surge in automation adoption across organisations. According to Deloitte research on robotic and intelligent automation, two-thirds of business leaders used automation to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The next iteration of automation, however, is hyperautomation. This enables organisations to leverage advanced technologies to automate processes and augment humans.
What is hyperautomation?
In simple terms, hyperautomation is the application of technologies like Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Process & Task Mining to augment workers and automate processes in a way that has much more impact than traditional automation capabilities.
Hyperautomation brings together decision making, data analysis, understanding of customer interaction, and real-time augmentation to deliver transformational business results and an exceptional customer experience.
Leveraging hyperautomation, NICE has created a virtual assistant that can listen to a customer conversation and intervene to assist the employee in real-time. NEVA (the NICE Employee Virtual Attendant) can help agents achieve things they simply couldn’t do on their own.
It means that keywords and phrases in a conversation can trigger real-time guidance and assistance for an agent taking a customer call. It also automates complaint management – the complaint case can be created automatically as the agent is talking based on the conversation.
“We can identify vulnerable customers and those in financial distress and guide the agent on how to deal with their unique situation. We can even support the transition from a service to a sales conversation and unlock significant revenue benefits,” says Gareth Hole, Director of Robotics and AI at NICE. “The possibilities are endless.”
AI-based task mining
There are of course thousands of different processes across organisations. They vary based on time to complete, complexity, systems involved, how important they are to customers, to the business, what sort of error rates they have, and how much they vary over time.
NICE says its AI-based analytics capability, NEVA Analytics, can fully automate task mining and the generation of data, and identify repeated tasks, app usage patterns and bottlenecks.
“The great thing with this is that we can do a simple ‘proof of value’ by having just 20 people do the work they normally do, using the systems they normally use, for 2-3 weeks – the value of the insights we can produce with even that amount of data is amazing,” says Hole.
“The best use of this is for continual improvement so that you have an ongoing refinement of your business: you continue to find opportunities and execution gaps based on what’s happening in the organisation, know all the details about those gaps, and then even address them using NEVA by generating the solution and deploying it.”
Hole says there are also specific, targeted uses of AI as part of Hyperautomation. One example is technology partner, Hyperscience, which provides the capability to accurately read and understand hand-written forms.
“While we live in a digital age, it’s amazing how many pieces of paper and forms there are out there that still need to be processed, and which trigger work in an organisation,” says Hole.
NICE worked with Hyperscience and a large UK government department to identify 28 million pages per year of forms that could be automated. The accuracy of reading freeform joined-up handwriting was close to 99%, says Hole.
“We’re now working with Hyperscience on several opportunities to turn hand-written paper forms into digital gold using machine learning automation. Having legacy processes and hand-written forms is no longer a barrier to that transformation.”
With hyperautomation, the goal is that the customer gets the best service, the employee gets the help they need to achieve their KPIs, and the company gets both revenue and efficiency benefits.
Says Hole: “Whenever I speak to C-level, senior people, what they really want is a button they can press that is labelled ‘optimise my business’. Now we’re not there yet but we’re getting a lot closer!”