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The Hyperautomation Playbook – C‑suite Buy‑in, Cultural Change, and end-to-end process automation, Part 2

Roland Alston, Appian
May 17, 2021

In the previous episode of Digital Masters, EY’s Gurdeep Batra gave us the inside scoop on how hyperautomation is transforming the $89 trillion global wealth and asset management industry. But the good times, says Batra, are changing fast as the devastation of the COVID-19 crisis, increasing regulation, and ever-changing customer expectations squeeze revenues and boost operating costs to an all-time high.

Many wealth and asset managers fret about keeping up with fast-moving regulations and sustaining growth in the decade ahead. In fact, regulators in the U.S. and abroad have increased the reporting requirements on investment fund managers to safeguard the valuations and liquidity of portfolio assets according to a recent EY report. As a result, asset managers are doubling down on digital operating models in an industry that has long been slow to scale automation of critical business processes.

Having a comprehensive automation strategy is essential, says Batra. But if you’re talking about hyperautomation, think about it as a strategy to reduce manual processing and streamline customer experience from the front office to the back office.

No matter where you stand in your hyperautomation journey, this episode of Digital Masters has a lesson or two for you. Check it out, it’s a good investment of your time. That said, let’s cue the conclusion of our interview with Gurdeep Batra, Business Transformation and Technology Consulting leader for Wealth and Asset Management Sector at EY, a company that employs close to 300,000 people and operates in over 150 countries around the world.

Appian: I want to revisit something you said earlier. You mentioned “multiplying the power of automation.” Can you break that down for me, what does that mean?

Batra: If you’re in financial services, for example, think about combining technologies such as intelligent document processing, robotic process automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve your account set-up and trading and regulatory compliance. If you’re required to do financial reporting, use this hyperautomation approach to optimize the efficiency and accuracy of your reporting. And last, but not least, there is a cultural aspect to embracing automation. So, think about hyperautomation as a powerful workforce multiplier. This goes to cultural change management, which is extremely important, because if you don't do it, you’ll never succeed at implementing a hyperautomation strategy.

Appian: You mentioned combining technologies. But that can be a problem because there are so many technologies to choose from. What advise do you have for senior execs who are trying to figure out which technology is right for them?  And secondly, how do you go about selecting the best use-case to start with in terms of embracing hyperautomation? What are your thoughts on that?

Batra: Yeah, that's a great question. Philosophically, I think the answer to both questions fall into a single bucket. You have to look at hyperautomation in a comprehensive way. If you think about process automation, you typically think about bots and RPA. But I think a better way to think about hyperautomation is to think about it as a way to add intelligence to automation instead.

For example, think about hyperautomation as a way to visualize business process management with technologies such as optical character recognition, natural language processing and machine learning. Hyperautomation allows you to combine all of these technologies to truly reap the benefits of automation. That’s what I mean by approaching automation in a comprehensive way. It’s the best way to leverage automation to stay ahead of the competition.

Appian: And what about the problem of selecting the right use-case for automation?

Batra: And when you think about use cases and where to start, think about client onboarding and how you used to open an account back in the day, and how many documents you had to manually fill out. Today, because of automation, the process is easier. Low-code automation tools allow you to automate these kinds of processes, so you can digitally interact with your clients, validate their identity, automatically populate content for them, open the account, and move money into it in a matter of minutes instead of days. That’s the power of automation.

Appian: So, client onboarding is a good place to start.

Batra: Yes, absolutely. So, if you’re in an industry that has a tremendous amount of documentation that is manually completed and processed, then you need a hyperautomation strategy. If you’re in an industry that has lots of compliance checks, where you have to validate your activities against existing compliance rules, where violations can cost tens of millions of dollars in penalties and fines, you should probably take a comprehensive look at automating your business processes.

Appian: What other use-cases are a good fit for hyperautomation?

Batra: I think the contact center is another good place to start. If you operate a large contact center and your customer needs to get an issue resolved, she may contact you via snail mail, text, email, or another digital platform. Having the ability to look at these customer interactions in different channels in a seamless way gives you access to data that allows you to solve a customer’s problem before ending a call, for example. Automating contact center processes improves the client experience. I know of clients who have achieved as much as 10x automation by leveraging hyperautomation tools like Appian.   

Appian: I've got just two more questions and I want to stay with this automation theme. You've touched on the explosion of automation technology. But I want you to look over the horizon of the next decade and talk about how this trend will shape the future of financial services?

Batra: Yeah, that's a great question. The evolution of technology is all about innovation. You have to be able to support an innovation agenda backed by a solid foundation of automation.  The same is true of financial services firms that want to stay relevant to their clients. You can only stay relevant by innovating yourself. Otherwise, your value proposition will only have marginal value to your clients. You have to get serious about evolving your business processes from automation to hyperautomation. Otherwise, you will not be able to compete.

Appian: That’s a good note to end on. Gurdeep Batra, Partner/Principal, Wealth and Asset Management at EY, thanks for participating in Digital Masters.

Batra: Thank you so much. Take care.

PS: For an inside look at building a solid foundation for innovation in your company, check out the Hyperautomation book, a collection of expert essays on how low-code development and hyperautomation are shaping the future of business automation.