All about automation: A deep dive into automation for a great cause

All proceeds from the Appian-produced book will be donated to Black Girls Code, which provides young POC opportunities to learn in-demand skills in technology and computer programming.

Image: Appian

When a crisis hits, those who possess the right combination of characteristics have the advantage, but those who can acquire those characteristics on demand will thrive in any situation.” Chess champion Garry Kasparov, from the foreword to the new book HyperAutomation.

To compile the new book, HyperAutomation, Appian CEO Matt Calkins invited an academic, an analyst, an implementer, or end-user to examine different aspects of low-code and automation in the enterprise, clarifying both value and barriers through personal experiences and insights.

“Low-code isn’t understood yet,” Calkins said. “What we see clearly is that the speed afforded by low-code and the power of new automation technologies creates a natural and meaningful pairing.”

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All proceeds from this book will be donated to Black Girls Code, an organization providing young girls of color opportunities to learn in-demand skills in technology and computer programming. “We have a history of cooperation with Black Girls Code,” Calkins said. “Kimberly Bryant (Black Girls Code CEO and founder) spoke at our annual Appian World conference, and she’s also been a judge for one of our hackathons. We’re familiar with their work and feel good about what they’re doing.”

Kasparov, a world-renowned chess player for 20 years who writes and speaks on decision-making and the human-machine relationship, and wrote  Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins,discussed his experience with playing chess against a “machine’s ruthless accuracy” in his foreword. 

In Calkins’ introduction, he explained, “‘Automation’ means bringing human and digital workers together in the same workflow. (In an earlier era, ‘automaton’ meant replacing people with technology, but now it means complementing them with digital helpers.) Automation is a uniting technology, and it comes along at a perfect time. Today, digital workers (like artificial intelligence/AI and robotic process automation/RPA) are powerful enough to collaborate with people on real tasks. Today, workers are more separate than ever before, and more in need of being connected.”

SEE: 20 work-from-home remote jobs with salaries over $100,000 (TechRepublic)

The first chapter (“we wanted to start with a foundational overview” Calkins said), chronicles the history of business automation, which, the author opines, began in the 18th century, when American inventor Oliver Evans built a water-powered flour mill in 1785 Delaware. 

The second waves came during WWII-era military efforts and during the 1960s and 1970s with NASA’s spaceflight program, when the first computers were placed in business administration settings. In 1951,British food company Lyons used a “custom-built system to calculate valuations, process payroll, and access inventory,” the first business on an electric computer.

The rest of the book’s chapters are guides, essays on keeping up-to-date with tech trends, changes in finances, the indispensability of l0w-code transformation, digital innovations in general, the tech role in the industry in general, as well as how industry has coped during the pandemic.

“The digital transformation movement came out of using new technologies to counter competitive or market threats and seize customer opportunities,” Calkins explained. “COVID-19 made it clear that this is not an academic discussion. In 2020, we’ve seen that a company’s very existence can be determined by how quickly it can get a new piece of automation in place. When people are suddenly disconnected from each other, from business processes, and from business data, the connection needs to be re-established immediately. That’s why automation, delivered via low-code, is so vital.”

HyperAutomation will be available Nov. 20, 2020 on Amazon for $15. A free downloadable version will be available to those who are in the industry and register with Appian. 

About the book

Calkins provided the introduction to the book, which includes the following essays/analysis written by automation experts:

  1. “From Big Boxes to Intelligence Everywhere: The Changing Face of Automation” by Neil Ward-Dutton, IDC 

  2. “How to Turn Your Company into a Master of Digital Transformation” by George Westerman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 

  3. “Survival of the Quickest: How to Hack a Pandemic with Intelligent Automation”
by Lakshmi N, Tata Consultancy Services  

  4. “From Hurricanes to COVID-19 and Beyond: How Low-Code Helps our University” by 
Sidney Fernandes & Alice Wei, University of South Florida

  5. “FinTech and the Forces of Change in Financial Services” by Chris Skinner, FinTech expert 

  6. “A Business-minded CIO’s Perspective: Why Low-Code is Indispensable for Transformation” by Isaac Sacolick, Star CIO

  7. “Low-Code Journey in the Enterprise” by John Rymer, Forrester (Emeritus)

  8. “People Power: The X-Factor of Digital Transformation” by Lisa Heneghan, KPMG 

  9. “Speed is the Key in Pandemic Response” by Darren Blake Bexley Health Neighborhood Care

  10. “Digital Innovation is More than a Side Hustle” by Rob Galbraith, InsureTech expert

  11. ” A Technology Business Needs Simplicity” by Ron Tolido, Capgemini  

  12. “An Economic Revolution” by Michael Beckley, Appian 

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