Quanton's World of Business Process Automation

2020: The Year That Was In Business Process Automation

23-Feb-2021 10:15:00 / by Russell Berg

Business Process Automation


To launch our 2021 content season, we take a look back at 2020 and the year that was - through the eyes of you, our readers, listeners and viewers. From Hyperautomation to Intelligent Automation, Machine Learning and Conversational AI, we review the five pieces of content that most caught your attention, according to our analytics - and look forward to 2021 as the year rapidly builds momentum. 

It’s hard to believe we’re already nearing the end of February 2021. But here we are.


While 2020 was a turbulent year, it was also an exciting year for business process automation both globally and in New Zealand. Over the course of the year we saw the rise of hyperautomation increasing interest in conversational AI, and companies grappling with how RPA can be used to aid post-Covid recovery.


Along the way, we have kept you informed with our content pieces, looking at key trends impacting local businesses, and often pulling in leading experts for interviews along the way.


Just like the automation technology market, our content has been evolving, and 2020 saw the addition of video to most of our content features. We also launched DX Talks, a podcast, which has proven extremely popular, and of course you can subscribe on your favourite podcast channel.


This month we’ll be formally launching our 2021 content season, and we have plenty of exciting and insightful content planned, kicking off with insights from a New Zealand business using Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics to automate and optimise foreign exchange currency trading.


I maintain the view that the rate of adoption for smart technologies like Machine Learning, Conversational AI and Robotic Process Automation in New Zealand businesses is lagging global businesses – and this places us at risk.


I also maintain the belief that AI and smart technologies are for businesses of all sizes. One of my goals through DX Talks is to share with you the success stories from New Zealand businesses who are leading the way - while giving you an insider’s look at the challenges and learnings they discovered along the way.


Of course, we’ll also be continuing to talk with global technology leaders to bring you the knowledge and insights you need to be on the cutting edge of innovation.


But first, to launch our 2021 season of content, we’re revisiting the top five most viewed, watched and listened to pieces of content from last year. 


So, drum roll please, the top five content pieces of 2020 are…






8 Technology Enablers for Digital Transformation 

Digital transformation remains the name of the game for Kiwi organisations big and small, so it’s not surprise that this article, originally published in April 2019, remained one of our most popular articles throughout 2020 as well.


It garnered more than 1,200 views and an average viewing time of 14 minutes in 2020.


The content of the article, which dove into the eight technology enablers which, when holistically present in a technology mix, will provide the opportunity to gain quick business benefits while creating longer-term sustainable digital transformation, is as relevant as ever.


Those technology enablers? Capture, Digitise, Data, Integrate, Automate, Intelligence, Analytics and Self-Improvement.


Stay tuned for an update early this year which will include our most recent thinking on this topic. We have been doing some exciting work with the OpenExo framework, which builds on and enhances our original thinking with the 12 characteristics of exponential organisations and how they can be applied to ‘traditional or mature’ business models.



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Top 5 Business Process Automation Trends for NZ in 2020


It’s always interesting to look back at the end of a year and see whether the predictions you made at the start of the year panned out.


Happily - given the public nature of our predictions in this piece from February 2020 - we think we got these ones pretty much on the money.


We noted the rise of hyperautomation, or the convergence of automation and smart technologies; the democratisation of automation to citizen users; and the increasing focus on transparency, traceability and ethics.


We also tipped the rise of AI and automation-as-a-service.


And of course there was the ongoing shuffle from targeted solutions to scaled programmes as companies sought to scale their automation programmes across the total business – often implementing robust automation or digital operating models based on the total automation lifecycle as they went.


But we’re not done and dusted: These trends are still emerging in New Zealand. While many of those we speak to think they’re 30-40 percent through their transformation, we believe we’re actually only at the beginning with some of the biggest opportunities from transformative technologies still to come.






Robotic Process Automation: Market Growth and Adoption


In April I had the pleasure of talking with UiPath Australia and New Zealand Regional Partner Director Martin Milthorpe and this blog, which included both a podcast and a video interview with Martin, provided a deep dive into the robotic process automation market’s growth and adoption.


We took a look at the dramatic growth of 30 percent CAGR since 2017, the path from pilots to industrialisation and our views that automation isn’t a tech transformation, but a cultural business transformation.


As Martin told us: “It’s not enough to go in and automate a process, it’s about how do you embed capability into an organisations operations model - governance, risk, compliance, prove value.”



Quanton Intelligent Automation



Intelligent Automation - A Global Perspective with DataRobot's VP of AI Strategy


I spent a lot of time last year focused on Intelligent Automation and in October we had the pleasure of sharing some views and perspective’s from DataRobot’s Colin Priest, as we had a meeting of the minds around what exactly IA is and how it can be used to create strategic advantage - with automating customer service processes and interactions one area we saw, and still see, as holding the greatest opportunities for IA.


Throughout the year, I’ve taken the position that talk is easy, so Quanton committed instead to also showing what’s practically possible. We’ve invested in building live solutions. I’m really proud of what our team achieved with Conversational AI, Machine Learning and Robotic Process Automation and if you want to some of what we got up to you can check out our live Intelligent Automation Demonstration.


Needless to say we’re super excited about how these capabilities can be applied with many of the clients we’re talking to now.






Conversational AI: A Global Perspective With CX Automation Leader, Liam Delap


Customer experience meet Conversational AI - an enabler for personalised customer experiences, at scale, in a world where customer experience is now a strategic battleground.


Liam Delap, customer experience and Conversational AI evangelist joined us for this feature and gave us an overview into Conversational AI - how it differs from chatbots, how it can help people achieve meaningful outcomes relative to your products and services, and why it’s becoming an increasingly important option for businesses.


Conversational AI isn’t about cost savings. It’s a revenue growth opportunity, and a chance to achieve completely personalised and relevant experiences for your customers, at scale.


This article, published in early December, was the last article we published for the year. I suspect if we had published it earlier, it would have been further up the list, such is the potential impact and the interest in conversational AI.


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With 2020 behind us, and 2021 well underway, we are excited to launch our 2021 content season with a commitment to bring you the latest trends, insights and knowledge to empower you to drive digital transformation in your business.


And as mentioned we will be kicking the season off with our next article and podcast based on an interview with a New Zealand business using Machine Learning to automate and optimise foreign exchange currency trading. And remember that most of our blogs are based on podcast interviews that are published on our podcast channel, DX Talks.


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Topics: Digital Transformation, Unattended Automation, Intelligent Automation, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Business Process Automation, Conversational AI

Russell Berg

Written by Russell Berg

Drawing on experiences from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors Russell draws on a diverse background, exploring how smart technologies are enabling capability for enterprise businesses.

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