2020 and beyond: The future of RPA (Robotic Process Automation)
RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is less about actual robots performing human tasks, and more about the automation of monotonous, and repetitive activities in the interests of improved effectiveness, and efficiency. RPA solutions technology is advancing at a steady clip, with dynamic technological developments taking place on a daily basis. Automation is rampant across the globe, particularly where SMEs see an opportunity to generate higher ROI, efficiently use their human resources, and embrace a future-oriented approach to business activity. With robotic process automation, the focus is invariably on managing tasks, activities, duties typically performed by humans.
On the flipside, many people are gravely concerned that their own well-being will be jeopardized through RPA. This highly-contentious issue has proponents and opponents on both ends of the spectrum. It is likely that certain jobs will be filled by RPA software and hardware, and additional jobs will be created through the adoption of this new technology. By freeing human resources up to perform more valuable tasks, companies can reduce issues like high staff turnover in low-level positions, and increase employee engagement through value-added activities.
Nonetheless, global robotic process automation has come a long way since 2016. At the time, RPA software purchases amounted to $73 million. This increased to $113 million in 2017, $153 million in 2018, and $192 million in 2019. In 2020, HFS Research estimates that this figure will rise to $232 million, and by 2021 to $272 million. These projections indicate that there is strong growth in RPA adoption in the global market. RPA services have increased rapidly since 2016, rising from $198 million, to $630 million in 2019. By 2021, that figure is expected to rise to $952 million.
RPA Technology Adoption – Short-Term & Long-Term Implications
Among the many benefits of RPA adoption are monitoring compliance and enhanced audits, dramatic cost reductions for companies, effective change management, greater efficiency of operations, and 100% accuracy and performance. RPA is effective at data collection and analysis, particularly when compared to the equivalent tasks performed by humans. Companies that develop performance-based software systems such as Kryon are operating on the cutting edge, with RPA software designed to automate mundane, time-consuming and repetitive tasks.
RPA software is also highly effective for regulatory reporting and compliance, and handling repetitive tasks such as invoicing, billing, payments, customer service issues, messaging systems and so forth. Many business processes are now being automated by RPA software, and this will increase in scope over time. One of the most common uses of RPA software is email sorting. The beauty of RPA software is evident in the fact that it can be implemented on top of existing frameworks and systems – not as a stand-alone service that needs to override existing operations.
Experts roundly agree that RPA is invariably the future of IT automation. To be clear though, RPA is not AI, nor is it VR per se. It is important to understand that robotic process automation is simply the use of robots for rule-based activities that are labor-intensive and repetitive. RPA is fully capable of conducting if/then rule-based activities, collecting and analyzing data across social media profiles, opening emails and attachments, and providing stock responses with customer interactions.
Forrester Research estimates that the value of the global RPA market will exceed $2.9 billion by 2021. With regards to short-term predictions versus long-term predictions of RPA technology adoption, there are very different applications. Organizations will increasingly adopt RPA technology in many different industries and sectors such as oil and gas, retail, manufacturing, analytics, and legal services. Most all computer-managed processes with frameworks and protocols will be managed with RPA. Much the same is true with data collection and management, and formatting of tasks.
Over time, we will see RPA software being used in many different areas, notably:
Smart Process Automation (SPA) – an alternative to scripting with machine learning protocols.
Digital Transformation, AI, and Total Workforce – enhanced efficiency, productivity, communication, and interaction between technology and human employees. This includes RPA integration in an evolved workforce.
A Focus on External Processes and Customers – increasing adoption of RPA technology from theoretical concepts to production.
The future certainly belongs to RPA, and workforces around the world are investing heavily in this efficient technology to fast-track organizational efficiency, effectiveness and profitability.