Gartner’s 2021 Predictions: Hyperautomation is the Future

Every year, Gartner releases various predictions for the upcoming year’s trends on IT, marketing, leadership and more. One of the most anticipated trends is automation, which since the last couple of years have been elevated to a much more futuristic discussion: Hyperautomation. 

The predictions are live in the on-demand webinar titled “The Gartner 2021 Predictions: Accelerate Results Beyond RPA to Hyperautomation”. While the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly stalled and, worse, completely forced many people out of business, it also serves as both a revealer and accelerator for new opportunities.

Hyperautomation principles are the foundations of the future of work… the catalysts to accelerate digital initiatives.” – Gartner

To break it down, COVID-19 has revealed many shortcomings in technologies at many firms, which are now faced with the immense challenge to operate almost 100% virtual or remote. Technical debts are, hence, revealed from the need for information security, support processes, etc. Other processes involving payslips, invoicing, etc. are also delayed or reported problematic. These are defined as “process debts”.The pandemic therefore accelerates a unique opportunity to start learning about and implementing automation initiatives right away to accommodate the less than ideal global situation. 

Here are the four predictions of the hottest topics in tech -hyperautomation- for the long-awaited 2021, one of them – a ‘moon-shot prediction’ that would sure excites futuristic digital folks. 

Prediction #1: “By 2024, one or more technology megavendors will build or acquire targeted hyperautomation technologies rendering 60% of the standalone RPA market offerings redundant.”

Simply speaking, in an ocean full of both big and small fish, aka. RPA vendors, the big enterprises are making moves. Gartner observed that vendors who didn’t extend their service offerings have either exited the market or acquired. Providing its RPA Magic Quadrant for 2019 and 2020, Gartner showed how the ‘big fish’ like Microsoft and SAP have entered the market as RPA solution-providers. These mega-vendors have the capabilities of both integrating multiple aspects of automation technologies to create Complemented RPA (CoRPA) , and acquiring smaller RPA firms. Successfully integrating different pieces of technology like RPA, Process Mining, Machine Learning (ML), UX, etc. would mean a step closer to hyperautomation. 

Source: Gartner’s 2019 & 2020 RPA Magic Quadrants

Source: Gartner – Road to Hyperautomation

Prediction #2: By 2024, 80% of hyperautomation offerings will have limited industry – specific depth mandating additional investment for IP, curated data, architecture, integration and development. 

We should think of hyperautomation as an on-going process to integrate people, technology and processes… and less of a destination or particular technology. 

Enterprises are still in the early phase of exploring the magic of automation. According to Gartner’s publication on the finance and banking services, spending on automation is ubiquitous across different business functions. Another finding is that although firms are looking for industrial expertise from their automation service providers, building industry-specific IPs, such as conversational platforms, still would take years and tremendous costs at the expense of the buyers, hence regarded as a huge technical debt. 

Therefore, Gartner has predicted that in the foreseeable future, these service offerings will yet to capture the customers intent or the industry specificity desired by firms. 

Prediction #3: By 2024, more than 70% of the large global
enterprises will have over 70 concurrent hyperautomation initiatives mandating governance or facing significant instability.

Hyperautomation is inevitable and irreversible.” – Gartner

Gartner says confidently that businesses should expect everything that can be and should be automated, to be automated. Everything else should be augmented

The difference between two terminologies is: While automation can entirely rely on technologies like RPA,  augmentation means involving the human’s inputs in complex decision-making, which also include the use of deep technologies such as AI.

A study by Gartner conducted just before the pandemic demonstrates that operational excellence is key in helping businesses pivot in times of need. There was also a demand to renew the outdated workforce to be able to adapt to hurdles as they come, say COVID-19, and be prepared for it. The pandemic has certainly busted down barriers in adopting automation initiatives, and instead prompted CEOs to say: “Do it, and do it quickly”. 

A year later, in September 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, 75% of firms still indicate that they would invest in new AI initiatives in the next 6-9 months. They put emphasis on being able to execute multiple digital initiatives concurrently and garner synergy from them. This requires the establishment of a dedicated team of both IT and non-IT business technologists within each organization to measure risk and reward, and track the quality of services. Prediction #3 shows that now is actually the time to start implementing some of these concurrent initiatives, if they haven’t already done so. 

Source: Gartner – Investment in AI despite COVID-19

Prediction #4: By 2025, more than 20% of all products and produce will first be touched by a human at the time of purchase.

The agriculture industry is a great baseline example of this prediction. When steps between manufacturing and delivery are fully automated, the first human touch would take place when the product is purchased. As a result of hyperautomation, fully automated value creation would not be too far-fetched in the next 4 years.

Technology vector created by vectorpouch –


The Gartner 2021 Predictions: Accelerate Results Beyond RPA to Hyperautomation by Frances Karamouzis and Stephanie Stoudt-Hansen

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