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Hybrid Automation: How it Works, Myths, & Benefits

Step into a world where the best of on-premise and cloud automation combine to form a powerful force for businesses like yours.


Welcome to the realm of hybrid automation – flexible, efficient, and tailor-made to suit your needs. And with CyberMedics by your side, you've found the perfect partner in your automation journey.


In this article, we'll explore the depths of hybrid automation, debunk common myths, and uncover its undeniable benefits.


Ready? Let's go.


Table of Contents


What is Hybrid Automation?


Hybrid automation is a fusion of human and machine capabilities in the workspace. Think of it as a high-functioning assembly line, where machines handle routine, repetitive tasks quickly and precisely, and humans step in for tasks requiring judgment, creativity, and personal interaction.


In this setup, hybrid automation isn't about robots replacing people. Instead, it's about pairing the speed, accuracy, and tirelessness of machines with the insights, decision-making skills, and personal touch of human beings. The goal is to create an efficient, harmonious work environment that maximizes productivity and allows humans to focus more on tasks that require their unique skills.


How does Hybrid Automation Work?

  1. Spot the Monotonous: The first step is to find tasks that are repetitive and don't require much human touch. These tasks are ideal for automation because machines excel at doing the same thing over and over without getting tired or bored. Read next: How to Identify Inefficiencies in a Software Development Process (9 Hallmarks + Fixes)

  2. Call in the Tech Troops: Once you've identified the tasks, it's time to bring in the tech stars: Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). They're like two halves of a powerful engine. RPA is all about following rules and AI is about making smart decisions.

  3. Divide the Duties: With the tech in place, tasks are split up. RPA takes on the rule-based tasks, like data entry, and AI handles decision-making tasks, like handling customer queries. It's like having a scribe and a diplomat working together.

  4. Liberate the Humans: By taking care of the routine tasks, RPA and AI free up human employees to work on more complex, creative tasks. It's like having a personal assistant who handles all the paperwork, so you can focus on the big picture stuff.

  5. Find the Balance: The final step is adjusting the balance between humans and machines to fit the needs of the organization. It's like tuning a guitar, you adjust until it sounds just right. This flexibility is what makes hybrid automation such a powerful tool for businesses.

Pros & Cons of Hybrid Automation


Pros of Hybrid Automation

  • Efficiency Boost: Hybrid automation speeds up processes by taking care of repetitive tasks. It's like a chef having a sous-chef to chop the vegetables, so the chef can focus on the cooking.

  • Error Reduction: Machines are less likely to make mistakes in repetitive tasks compared to humans. It's like a metronome keeping the perfect beat - it never misses!

  • Employee Empowerment: With routine tasks automated, employees can focus on more complex and rewarding tasks. It's like giving an artist more time to create masterpieces by taking care of their cleaning and cooking.

  • 24/7 Availability: Unlike humans, machines can work around the clock without breaks. It's like having a security guard who never needs to sleep or eat.


Cons of Hybrid Automation

  • Initial Costs: Implementing hybrid automation can be expensive at the outset. It's like buying a new car, there's a big upfront cost, but it pays off over time.

  • Technical Challenges: Not all tasks are easy to automate and it may require sophisticated AI algorithms. Think of it like a complicated puzzle, it can take a lot of effort to solve.

  • Change Resistance: Employees might resist the change due to fear of job loss or the need to learn new skills. It's like trying to change the direction of a moving bicycle, there can be some resistance.

  • Dependence on Tech: Over-reliance on technology can lead to vulnerabilities, like cyberattacks or system failures. It's like having only one key to your house, if you lose it, you're locked out!


Debunking Common Myths on Hybrid Automation


Myth 1: Machines are Taking Over Jobs


It's a popular notion that automation means robots replacing humans. But it's not about replacement, it's about partnership. Hybrid automation is more like a trusted sidekick to a superhero, taking care of the heavy lifting so the superhero (human) can shine in problem-solving and critical thinking tasks.

Myth 2: Automation is Only for Big Companies


Another myth is that automation is only for big corporations with deep pockets. In reality, hybrid automation can be scaled to fit businesses of all sizes, much like how both small and large vehicles can use the same highway.


Myth 3: Automation Lacks Flexibility


Some people believe that automated systems are rigid and can't adapt to changes or handle unique situations. In fact, hybrid automation, with its blend of AI and RPA, brings a level of flexibility to the table. AI is designed to learn and adapt, making the system more like a gymnast, capable of flexing and bending as per the needs of the situation, rather than a rigid machine.

Myth 4: Automation is Infallible


While automation can minimize errors in repetitive tasks, it's not immune to mistakes, especially in tasks that require nuanced human judgment. Imagine trying to program a robot to taste food – it might be able to analyze the ingredients, but it can't appreciate the flavors like a human can.

Remember, every myth carries a grain of truth, but it's important to sift fact from fiction when it comes to hybrid automation.

Examples of Hybrid Automation in Action

  1. Recruitment and Onboarding: In this fast-paced business world, finding the right talent can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. Hybrid automation can streamline this process. It can automate the posting of job ads, shortlist applications based on preset criteria, and even help with onboarding tasks, such as preparing welcome emails or setting up software access. It's like having a virtual HR assistant at your service!

  2. Customer Service: In the realm of customer service, quick and accurate response is the king. Here, hybrid automation works like a charm. An RPA bot can handle data entry and manage tickets, while an AI chatbot can interact with customers, providing timely responses and escalating complex issues to human operators. It's like having an all-weather customer service representative who's always on the ball.

  3. Retail Industry: In the retail sector, efficiency is everything. Hybrid automation can help streamline processes like order tracking, shipment, and handling returns. Imagine it as a backstage crew at a theater, smoothly managing the props and cues, ensuring the show (or in this case, the retail operations) runs without a hitch.

  4. Finance: In the financial sector, hybrid automation can automate tasks like data extraction and entry, report generation, and compliance checks. It's like having a super-fast, meticulous accountant who works around the clock.

These examples show how hybrid automation can be a game-changer in diverse fields, optimizing processes, and enabling humans to focus on high-value tasks.

How to Implement Hybrid Automation


1. Identify Your Needs


What Needs to be Done: If you want to reduce your cycle time, then start by pinpointing the tasks in your organization that are monotonous, rule-based, and time-consuming.


Tips: Involve your team in this process. They're on the ground doing these tasks and can provide first-hand input.


Tools:

  • How to Run a Productive Kaizen Event for Your Business

  • 29 Requirements Gathering Questions for a Software Project

  • The 5 Whys Root Cause Analysis Tool: How & When to Use it

Example: Imagine you run a publishing house. Your editors spend hours proofreading manuscripts for grammatical errors, a task that can be automated, freeing them to focus on the content's quality and coherence.


2. Select an Appropriate Tool


What Needs to be Done: Research and choose a hybrid automation tool that best fits your needs.


Tips: Consider the tool's features, ease of use, integration capabilities, and pricing.


Tools: Microsoft Power Automate stands out as a powerful player in the field of hybrid automation. It offers a platform where you can establish automated workflows between various applications and services without needing a deep understanding of coding.


Example: In a manufacturing company, Power Automate can connect an AI-driven visual inspection tool with your inventory system. When an item passes AI inspection, it's auto-marked as 'ready for sale'. If the AI detects a defect, a human inspector gets an alert.


Plus, the inventory updates sync in real-time with your sales team's CRM, keeping them informed about available stock. This way, Power Automate enhances workflow efficiency by combining AI accuracy with human judgment.


If you need expert help deploying automations using PowerApps, then schedule a FREE consultation with CyberMedics to see what it could do for your company’s bottom line.

3. Create a Roadmap


What Needs to be Done: Formulate a strategic plan that outlines the implementation's stages, including timelines, testing, and evaluation phases.


Tips: Your roadmap should include stages like ideation, design, development, testing, and evaluation. Assign clear responsibilities, deadlines, and set measurable goals at each stage. Anticipate potential challenges and plan for them. Also, ensure you have appropriate resources, like IT support, in place.


Tools: Project management tools like Trello or Asana can help create and manage your roadmap.


Learn how to visualize your processes: Value Stream Mapping in Software Development [Full Guide]


Example: Let's say your auto manufacturing company wants to automate the Quality Control (QC) process for checking paintwork defects.

  1. Ideation: Brainstorm and decide to use AI-based cameras for initial paintwork inspection and human inspectors for complex cases.

  2. Design: Draft the workflow of how AI cameras identify defects, flagging them for human review if beyond a certain threshold.

  3. Development: Purchase and install AI-based cameras on the assembly line, and train human inspectors to handle flagged cases.

  4. Testing: Trial the system with several vehicles, ensuring the AI accurately spots defects and inspectors receive correct notifications.

  5. Evaluation: Compare the speed and defect detection rate of the new hybrid system against the previous all-human process to measure success.

This roadmap not only provides clear direction but also enables you to track the performance and improvements brought by hybrid automation.


4. Pilot Run


What Needs to be Done: Conduct a test run of your hybrid automation on a selected process before implementing it fully.

Tips: Document any hiccups and evaluate the results to fine-tune your strategy.

Tools: Analytical tools like Tableau or Power BI can be useful to visualize and understand the results of the pilot run.


Example: If you're in a factory manufacturing electronic devices, you could select a single production line for the pilot run. Implement hybrid automation on this line, using robots for parts assembly and humans for final quality checks. Use data analytics tools to compare the efficiency, quality, and cost-effectiveness of this line against others. Based on the insights gained, refine your hybrid automation system before deploying it across all production lines.

5. Frequent Reviews & Adjustments


What Needs to be Done: Monitor the system after deployment and make tweaks as required.

Tips: Gather regular feedback from your team. They can provide valuable insights for refining the system.

Tools: Analytics features of your chosen automation tool can help monitor performance and identify areas for improvement.

Example: In a manufacturing plant implementing hybrid automation to streamline the assembly line, challenges may arise. For example, accurate alignment of electronic components may become problematic, causing production delays. By analyzing data from the automation tool's analytics features, adjustments can be made.

Remember, technology is just one part of successful implementation. It's also about managing change and helping your team adapt to these new automated processes. In the end, you'll find your organization working smarter, not harder.

Deploy Game-changing Hybrid Automations with CyberMedics


All in all, by combining the best of both human and machine capabilities, you're empowering your teams to focus on high-value tasks, boosting efficiency and, ultimately, improving your bottom line.


But remember, the journey to successful hybrid automation isn't a solo sprint—it's a team marathon. That’s why having a business process automation partner can help turbocharge your efficiency and output. Our end-to-end process looks like this:

  1. Needs Assessment: We begin by thoroughly understanding your business and identifying areas that will benefit most from hybrid automation. This allows us to tailor the solution to your unique needs.

  2. Custom Software Development: Our expertise lies in building custom software solutions. Whether it's integrating AI into your customer service or setting up RPA for your data entry tasks, we have the skills to develop the tools you need.

  3. Strategic Planning: We help you craft a strategic roadmap for your hybrid automation journey. Together, we set clear milestones, responsibilities, and deadlines to ensure your automation project stays on track.

  4. Post-Implementation Support: Our commitment doesn't end with the implementation. We provide ongoing support, helping you refine the system, troubleshoot any issues, and ensure you're maximizing the benefits of your hybrid automation investment.

Get a FREE consultation today for help finding your company’s bottlenecks and insight on how to move forward.

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