Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the fastest-growing segment of the enterprise software market. The current size of the RPA market, including software, consulting, and implementation services, is nearly two billion dollars (source: RPA2AI Research). The demand for RPA services is estimated to grow to $7 Billion in 2020. As growth continues, 2020 will be a pivotal year as RPA matures to be viable intelligent automation (IA) solution. The scale of innovation in RPA will lead to a significant shift in the automation industry, delivering processes that are “born-in-automation.”
Trends that will accelerate IA journeys, shape the RPA industry, and change the business landscape are:
- Process discovery tools will take the driver’s seat and act as catalysts for automation opportunity identification. In the past, the approach to finding automation use cases was to find a process discovery team, conduct Gemba walks, and interview your employees. Consuming their time and interfering with their tasks, and then to wait for weeks for a report and possibly a list of automation-eligible processes that likely isn’t exhaustive. Improving process efficiency shouldn’t be so inefficient!
AI-based Process discovery (PD) tools are going to run on employee machines quietly. They will collect data on how they utilize business applications to perform their daily work, and provide an objective view of business processes along with a scientifically derived list of automation opportunities.
- Growth of intelligent document processing (IDP) solutions will catapult RPA from handling structured data to a class of AI solutions that process unstructured data. About 90% of data within an organization is unstructured and locked in email, text, PDF, and scanned documents, which cannot be processed by rules-based RPA. IDP, a critical capability offered by next-generation RPA, handles large volumes of unstructured documents and automates data capture, classification, and extraction.
Imagine being able to reconcile errors in invoices automatically, detect anomalies in tax forms, processing hand-written loan applications, and performing research on fraud alerts. Automation initiatives constrained by first-generation RPA will now accelerate with the power of IDP.
- The emergence of low code platforms (LCP) that complement RPA and supplement Business Process Management (BPM) will fill the remaining pieces of the process automation puzzle. Organizations that use workflow automation, a core capability in intelligent automation, realized definite improvement in their systems. However, it came at the cost of long gestation periods and large development teams. Low code platforms offer a rapid decrease in the time taken to achieve the implementation of workflow automation.
Aimed at applications for operational efficiencies, LCPs will quickly emerge as a productive means to digitize manual, paper-based processes, build business applications on mobile and web, and provide the plumbing for other innovative technologies like AI.
- A resurgence of Citizen development, inspired by business-friendly automation tools, will drive the democratization of automation. As organizations start to move into federated models to scale automation to enterprise-level, more and more non-technical employees from the business will lead the charge of automation. Deploying automation tools can be slow-to-scale if tools aren’t easy enough for them. Process discovery and RPA tools, along with low code platforms, will gain significant momentum within the business community by their non-technical-employee-friendly features.
These platforms also put more problem-solving capabilities into the hands of non-IT professionals, so that everyday workers are more quickly and easily able to create automation solutions that help them prioritize their time on higher-value work. Citizen developers can drive massive democratization of RPA, blending it into the fabric of the everyday business.
- The convergence of all the building blocks of automation into a unified software platform will position RPA as an end-to-end integrated automation platform. RPA platform will bring key ingredients of automation and drive end-to-end intelligent process automation:
- Process Discovery tool automatically discovers processes and creates automation pipeline
- RPA automates pulling and pushing of structured data into disparate systems
- IDP automates extraction and structuring of document-based data
- LCP and BPM build workflow, mobile and web applications for enterprise processes
- Automation of life cycle management solutions drive scale with controls and transparency
- Analytics provide insights into how a process is performing, how it will perform, and what to do to optimize
In summary, RPA, as an intelligent automation platform, will transform enterprise priorities: from a focus on technology adoption to process transformation, from number-of-bot measurement to process improvement metrics and from process output to business outcome.
Kashyap Kompella & Alan Pelz-Sharpe will be leading a one day workshop on the topic of RPA in Dallas on the 2nd March – find out more .
Also check out our research reports on digital process automation:
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