Gartner is demonstrating forward-looking thought leadership again through its recent research and commentary on hyperautomation. The organization lays out a compelling vision of how various technologies, including IoT, robots, software bots, AI, machine learning, 3D printing, remote management and control software and others, will work together to automate many enterprise tasks so processes and facilities can run automatically and be managed remotely. Gartner describes its vision for hyperautomation and the three steps enterprises need to take to achieve it. In this blog, we’ll explore how hyperautomation relates to the way enterprises are managing their workflows in production today, and how Control-M is supporting the transition.
In its recent Three Steps to Hyperautomation report, Gartner presents a compelling case about why hyperautomation is valuable and how it can be achieved. Organizations that are pursuing increased automation would be well served to follow Gartner’s advice and implementing the three steps to achieve it:
- Standardization and Interoperability
- Remote Management and Control
- Full or Semiautonomous Operations
Many elements of hyperautomation are being done today, but haven’t been labeled as such or risen to the predicted scale. The methods and lessons for managing these processes from today’s real-world leaders are highly relevant. We see that every day in our work with BMC customers. You can learn from their success and avoid some of the obstacles to gaining business value from automation.
Gartner states in its report that the automation deficit in companies leaves billions of dollars on the table every year because organizations don’t have a clear strategy and execution plan for the areas that comprise the three steps of hyperautomation. We find this to be particularly true in operations of business services that companies deliver every day. Business services such as financial close, supply chain, billing and invoicing, predictive analytics, marketing recommendation offers, etc. are all powered by a complex web of applications and data systems running on disparate infrastructure. A lack of standardized approach to automating the complex application and data workflows running across disparate technologies leads to a large operations staff that is constantly busy fighting fires as they use silos of automation to deliver business services. Business services delivery suffers without standardization and remote management capabilities for orchestrating across systems, with both reputational and financial impact.
The need I’ve just described is exactly the kind of functionality and capability that Control-M and the SaaS version, BMC Helix Control-M, are providing for thousands of customers, including innovators that have extensively automated operations featuring real-time big data processing, IoT, and other elements of the hyperautomation ecosystem.
Control-M provides a foundation platform for hyperautomation and directly supports each of Gartner’s suggested three steps – achieving standardization and interoperability across enterprise systems, orchestrating activity across remote facilities using IoT, MES, SCADA and other data sources, and achieving full or semiautonomous operations. That isn’t our vision for the future, it’ is what is happening today, as the following customer references show.
Tampa General Hospital – Applying data standardization and interoperability to fight COVID-19
Tampa General Hospital (TGH) led a coalition of more than 50 hospitals (including competitors) to coordinate regional response to COVID-19. It had been using Control-M for about a year before the pandemic hit to produce its internal daily performance dashboard. TGH thought it could use that experience to give healthcare providers, public health officials, and government agencies a comprehensive view of COVID-19’s impact on the entire region by combining its data with that of other providers. Tampa General Hospital used its experience with Control-M and its ability to integrate disparate data sources to create a region-wide dashboard that shows up-to-date hospitalization rates, ICU capacity, respirator availability and other information (see the case study here).
Control-M provides this information by integrating with the electronic medical record (EMR) and other systems at dozens of locations. The data it receives is not standardized, but can be processed, protected, and shared nonetheless. Having accurate, real-time data helped healthcare providers and the public sector successfully meet the surge in COVID-19 cases.
“As we navigate day by day through this public health crisis, the dashboard is helping us save lives,” said Dr. Peter Chang, Tampa General vice president of care transitions. “It gives us situational awareness of resources that are available across the region to take care of COVID-19 patients. It breaks down silos between competing hospitals for this collaborative community effort.”
Colruyt – Next-level warehouse automation brings fill rates to new highs
Gartner presents CEMEX, a cement producer in Mexico, as a leading example of what enterprises can achieve through hyperautomation. CEMEX has achieved the second step of hyperautomation (remote management and control) by coordinating production across 125 facilities in three countries to optimize hauling by its cement trucks. Control-M drives a very similar process for Colruyt, a Belgian-headquartered retailer with 600+ of its own stores and 580+ affiliated stores in Europe.
Colruyt’s distribution center operations include multiple batch and real-time software applications and processes. Control-M works across these systems to orchestrate the operational analysis that Colruyt needs to plan its shipping operations for just-in-time store fulfillment. Logistics and warehouse automation were highly automated to satisfy JIT requirements, and Colruyt later enhanced operations by introducing voice technology to support order picking. Control-M had no problems accommodating the new input technology. “It’s very easy to integrate a new technology into the same batch environment,” said Frank Waegeman, IT Manager, Colruyt.
By using voice picking and Control-M to enable order weight and volume information to flow reliably between supplier trucks and the order pickers, Colruyt raised its truck fill rate to 95% without affecting JIT delivery. “For me the Control-M environment is like the heart of the human body. It delivers oxygen to all the vital organs,” said Waegeman. His colleague, Peter Vanbellingen, Colruyt’s director of business processes and systems said, “It really brings added value to our operational excellence.”
Aspiag: Synchronized, timely data cuts product waste
Aspiag also used Control-M to bring together non-standard data sources from different systems to automate replenishment activities. In this case, the Italy-headquartered grocery retailer used Control-M to collect, orchestrate, and synch inventory data from POS systems and in-store mobile computers to create a more timely and accurate view of inventory. The visibility and resulting insights help executives optimize daily replenishment. With a clear, accurate view of up-to-date inventory data, Aspiag was able to reduce food waste across all categories by 5% and perishable waste by 8% (an impressive result because it is a challenging category to manage).
Aspiag reduced out-of-stocks at the same time it cut waste. That is often an either/or proposition for retailers since the simplest way to prevent out-of-stocks is to increase orders, which also increases the chance that perishables will go unsold and spoil.
There are other examples of how Control-M is already supporting hyperautomation elements and stages for customers including Navistar, Itaú Unibanco, CARFAX, Railinc, Up Sí Vale, UNUM, and others. This broad base of proven, real-world use cases demonstrates Control-M’s value for providing an excellent foundation for advanced, scalable automation initiatives. Control-M can support current and future needs because it can conduct event-driven orchestration for real-time processes, and work with a wide range of data sources across different systems.
Because of how much Control-M can automate, it shortens the leap to hyperautomation. What can Control-M do to help you get your legacy processes under control so hyperautomation can flourish? Please contact us if you’d like to discuss some ideas.
Check out Gartner’s complete Three Steps to Hyperautomation report here.