RPA thoughts for 2020
It’s a new year and not to mention a new decade. We have seen the automation space really heat up during the last few years of the 2010’s. As I alluded to in other blogs, scalability and reliability are the two driving factors to wider adoption of the technology. That being said RPA hasn’t even scratched the surface regarding its potential and adoption (currently less that 15% globally). With that I would like to share some of the thoughts/predictions I have for the coming year.
Intelligent Automation adoption and buzz will increase.
No question this is the hottest part of the automation sector at the moment. All the major RPA vendors are incorporating machine learning and artificial intelligence into their products. Companies like Data Robot and SAS are investing massive amounts of money into their offerings. Google, Microsoft and Amazon have bolstered their cloud-based offerings to be more reliable and exciting. This has made NLP (natural language processing), handwriting analysis, text identification and classification more reliable than ever before. Just in 2019 alone, these cloud based API’s took a huge leap forward. As companies look to solve some of their largest pain points, the use of AI and ML with or without RPA is something they can consider.
Most companies and leaders don’t know what RPA is at all.
My company went to many conferences this past year, and had countless conversations with folks about the technology and we were struck by how few people even knew what RPA is or understand its capabilities. This, to me, says while the adoption of IPA will increase, there is still a lot of room for growth and adoption of RPA. As I stated last year, companies that adopt the technology now will be light years ahead of those that don’t. Automation isn’t an option any longer, it’s the successful way forward for businesses. Developing an automation strategy this year should be a must.
Most automations created will be tied to Revenue Cycle.
The use cases are straight forward, well defined and most importantly there is real ROI. I have been in the RPA space for close to 20 years and to this day, 95% of the automations I have created or that I am aware of, whether it be processing invoices, charges, claims and purchase orders, these can all be major headaches for companies and can take away from the bottom line in many ways. This continues to be the area where the “highest value” use cases are present. I don’t think this will change anytime soon.
More companies will look to outsource their automation needs.
This can come in many different forms. Ranging from being a direct partner that can assist in standing up an automation Center of Excellence to full on business process outsourcing. I saw this trend take place in healthcare about seven years ago where, based on cost and resources, it became more likely healthcare institutions would use an external partner to develop and run their automations. I am seeing this trend continue in all industries where Business Process Outsourcing makes economical and practical sense as a way to automate their operations.
Assisted robots will gain in adoption.
Democratization of automation in an organization will become more common place. Just last year at the UiPath Forward III conference two very large companies PWC and Ericsson spoke about how they allowed their employees to become “citizen developers” to create operational efficiencies in their jobs. The tools are there to do this (e.g. UiPath Studio X) and they will only improve in ease of use. Will the use of automation be as ubiquitous as Excel in the coming year and decade? Only time will tell. The potential is unlimited especially in areas such as call centers, manufacturing, healthcare and many of the service industries.
Legacy RPA Applications will be upgraded.
Some RPA applications that are heavy on scripts and macros are still very prevalent in the market. The components and techniques they employ are outdated and not reliable. These products aren’t scalable and are very brittle. They require a lot of overhead to maintain. Today’s best of breed RPA Enterprise solutions are light years ahead. There is a significant opportunity to identify this space in the market and educate and promote the positives of upgrading.
RPA will continue to evolve in unforeseen ways.
As a lifelong tech geek, nothing gets me more intrigued than the capabilities of RPA. Having developed RPA applications, I have a better understanding than most on how much work goes into creating an automation tool. The amazing thing is the components that are available today in 2020 are very robust and are time tested. Most of these techniques have been around for over 40 years. While RPA is considered a newer technology to most, the good news is that has some age to it. That should be a key factor to those considering starting an Automation COE. It’s not “new” so 95% of the kinks have been taken out of it.
While I don’t profess to be Nostradamus, I am going to go out on a limb and say that RPA is here to stay and will only grow in adoption and capability in 2020.
Peter S. Camp is the CTO and Founder of CampTek Software. He has been developing RPA Applications for over 15 years. For further questions, discussion or inquiry about CampTek Software Services, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.