Most of us can agree that this year was full of surprises.

To help make the coming year more predictable and to help you tackle it successfully, we reviewed a variety of research from Forrester, Gartner, and BMC and then compiled a list of 5 automation trends that we think you should prepare for in 2021.

Read on to learn about the trends that made our shortlist and to review the questions that can kickstart your process for accommodating to each! 

Looking for more forward-thinking insights? You can get them directly from your peers by joining the largest community of Business Systems Professionals, Systematic.

1. The Adoption of Hyperautomation Will Allow Organizations to Automate More Aggressively

Hyperautomation, according to Gartner, is “the idea that anything that can be automated in an organization should be automated.” 

Gartner went on to explain that “Hyperautomation is driven by organizations having legacy business processes that are not streamlined, creating immensely expensive and extensive issues for organizations.” 

Hyperautomation also helps organizations with “patchy” technical solutions automate processes in a more effective and efficient way.  

Is your organization moving towards hyperautomation to create a more productive workforce? 

Before diving into automating everything, make sure to look at the manual processes in advance. In a finance automation session we hosted earlier this year, we learned two key things that we believe you can take into your wider hyperautomation journey.  

  1. Automating on top of a bad process isn’t helpful. 
  2. Automating shouldn’t be your end goal, solving pains should be—as explained by our partner, Jason Pikoos, Lead Partner of Finance Ops at Connor Group. 

Questions to ask yourself as we move into 2021: 

  • Are there any manual processes I can automate? 
  • What pains do automating those processes solve? 
  • Do those processes need to be tweaked (or recreated) before I add technology? 

2. Organizations Will Prioritize Building Higher-Quality Automations Through Better Planning and Testing

According to Forrester, a rush to automate may not be helpful. 

Forrester explained how organizations were pushed to automate during the pandemic to solve for faulty processes, but that this was causing them to feel “pressured to patch in automation solutions.” 

As we learned previously, automation on a broken process isn’t very helpful and Forrestor explained that rushed automation may expose systems to risk.

With that said, they estimate that, “In 2021, up to 30% of organizations will ramp up their focus on quality by better planning and testing automation before deploying it to production or exposing it to employees.”

Questions to ask yourself as we move into 2021: 

  • What steps can I take to make our automation testing better?
  • Are there any automations I rushed to build and that can be improved? 

3. Commercial Drones are Set to Play a More Prominent Role in Business Automation  

This might come as a surprise to many, but commercial drones are set to rise in prominence across enterprise organizations. According to Forrester, “A fifth of enterprises will use commercial drones to automate business operations.” 

Forrestor explained the rise by pointing out that governments are creating better regulations for commercial drones and that “the rapid evolution of computer vision and 5G will enable real-time drone intelligence over ultra-reliable, low-latency communications.”

Questions to ask yourself as we move into 2021: 

  • Are we in an industry where drones can help our business? 
  • If so, which of our lines of business could benefit from this technology?

4. Organizations Will Look to Hire Automation Architects

According to BMC, the demand for “automation architects” is set to rise. BMC went on to explain that employees in this type of role can address the following issue that IT teams face:

 “The unique and complicated service workflows involving a hybrid mix of cloud, on-site, and legacy IT infrastructure makes IT automation complicated itself. As a result, IT teams have adopted automation practices that are not standardized or scalable across business units.” 

As you continue to automate and even hyper-automate, keep a lookout to see if an Automation Architect role can help. Also, if you’re at the point where you already need an architect, you can check out our pointers for writing a compelling Business Systems job description and apply any of our tips when crafting your Automation Architect job listing. 

Questions to ask yourself as we move into 2021: 

  • Should we hire an automation architect?
  • Who is the architecture responsibly falling on now? 

5. Intelligent Automation Will Further Support Employees Who Work Remotely

Forrester predicts that “Intelligent automation will advance to support one in four home workers.” with automations that include, “handling employee benefits, questions, and supporting documents, customer service, and line-of-business tasks.”

Questions to ask yourself as we move into 2021: 

  • What lines of business could benefit from intelligent automation? 
  • How can I determine the automations that our remote workers need the most?

Now that you’re familiar with these trends and you have a list of questions that can help you identify challenges and brainstorm solutions, you should feel confident about your team’s ability to adapt to 2021!

Curious about the trends that Business Systems leaders are addressing today? You can get some answers by joining our Business Systems Community!

Tayleur Hylton
About Tayleur Hylton

Tayleur is a budding technology enthusiast helping to grow the business systems community.