Quo Vadis, RPA? - The Glorious Future of RPA (Robotic Process Automation)
Bots & People
In 1897, the world witnessed "automation" for the first time on screen in a French short film, “Gugusse et l'Automate,” also known as “The Clown and the Automaton”. About half a century later, American writer Isaac Asimov's stories helped popularize the idea of "robots" to the masses.
Fast forward to the future of RPA: “The global Robotic Process Automation market is projected to hit 23,9 Million US Dollar in 2030.”
For those who are unfamiliar, "Quo Vadis?" is a Latin expression that translates to "Where are you going?"
Hence, in this article, you will be going through the journey and future of RPA, its benefits, and thus potential growth. Eventually, based on the trends, we will also discuss the future of RPA and automation in general.
Furthermore, to gain a better understanding of RPA, we will incorporate words of wisdom from the podcast episode Automation Insider #6-Quo Vadis, RPA. It is hosted by two industry leaders: Nico Bitzer, co-founder of Bots & People, and Andreas W. Zehent, former Head of Intelligent Automation at Adidas.
What is RPA?
"RPA" is an acronym for Robotic Process Automation. It is a software technology that automates software robots' development, deployment, and administration that replicates human actions while working with electronic hardware and technologies.
In a nutshell, they assist you in automating tedious and mundane processes so that you may focus on more complex, creative, and challenging tasks.
The Transition to Mainstream
In the early 1900s, the thought of having "automation" was nothing more than fiction. A century later, the RPA industry became prevalent with the inception of automation companies like Blue Prism and Automation Anywhere in 2001 and 2003, respectively.
In 2016, the automation industry was worth $250 million. However, today, the global RPA industry is worth more than $2.9 billion and is expected to reach $11 billion in 2027.
“Each and every company will use local automation technology in the future that is more democratic and easily distributed.” - Andreas
Why do you need RPA?
Based on reports by Anywhere Automation, here are a few significant reasons why you should implement RPA in your business:
Workers spend 10% to 25% of their time on routine computer chores.
IT teams spend 30% of their attention on low-level jobs.
50% of businesses spend approximately $5 to $25 on manual invoice processing.
A standard guideline-based process can be 70% to 80% automated.
Benefits of RPA
Now that we've explored the fundamentals of RPA, here are a few ways in which automation can benefit your firm, regardless of market or size.
Profit is the bottom line in any business, and using RPA can ensure that your organization is always maximizing profits. Moreover, it can also free up your existing employees' time, allowing them to focus on value-added tasks like business development.
Hence, RPA will not only help you save money but will also furnish you with opportunities to earn more.
Enhances process efficiency
Technology has far surpassed humans' speed and computing power in tasks such as data management. Hence, your employees are wasting valuable time performing tedious tasks that could be automated.
Moreover, RPA makes it more effortless for your workers to complete their assignments, saving time and energy.
Empowers your workforce
RPA isn't just about saving money on human capital; it's also about utilizing your workforce for tasks that require advanced skills and knowledge.
For example, an accountant studies finance for years and then has to spend the majority of their time at work doing mundane tasks like invoice data entry. Instead, you could implement RPA to automate these processes and assign tasks to your employees that complement their expertise.
Moreover, they will feel valued, enhancing employee satisfaction and retention over time.
“If a company doesn’t use automation technology today, to me, it’s a high risk as it makes it hard to be competitive in the future.” - Andreas
"Unless, of course, the company is really advanced in automation and doesn’t need RPA, but of course, they are using local automation technology to scale up!" - Nico
Profit is the driving force of any business. Here’s how RPA helps you achieve your financial goals:
Top performers earned over four times their RPA investments, while average businesses made nearly twice as much.
It is expected that robots will perform a considerable amount of the current transactional operations. On average, it is projected that bots may contribute 20% of FTE (Full-time equivalent) capacity.
This assumption is consistent with the experience of those who have actually deployed RPA.
In fact, those who have already implemented RPA appear to have had such a wonderful experience that their expectations are even more ambitious. Additionally, they predict that robots may deliver 52% of FTE capacity.
This enables human labor to be redeployed to higher-value activities.
By merging hyper-automation technology with new operational procedures, firms will reduce operating expenses by 30% by 2024.
“49% of the companies want faster processes and 48% of the companies want to reduce their costs with their automation initiatives.” - Nico
“I agree! RPA allows you to reduce tasks and manual labor and, in turn, increase efficiency. Even though it’s not really easy to reduce the cost, it’s a good thing that RPA allows you to free up your people from boring and repetitive tasks. So, no more boring, Nico! (Which is also the tagline of Bots & People.) In the end, allow them to do good things or have them available for scaling your business!” - Andreas
Business RPA adoption
More than 53% of organizations have acknowledged enforcing RPA, and around 20% plan to do so by 2025. Based on this steady growth, automation is expected to reach "universal implementation" by 2027.
Let's quickly go through the market share of RPA based on different industries to get a holistic picture of the RPA-adoption.
The top two industries control the majority of the RPA market (66%). Contrary to popular belief, the manufacturing sector leads the way in leveraging RPA, accounting for 35% of the market. The technology industry comes in second with a close 31%.
The healthcare industry has a 10% market share, followed by the finance sector and retail and consumer goods, each with an 8% market share.
With only a 5% market share, the public sector is far behind in terms of RPA adoption. Similarly, the education sector has barely leveraged RPA, with only 3%.
“It’s really easy to integrate automation technology into marketing and sales. In fact, it’s very crucial as we also use RPA to generate more revenue and make our marketing and HR processes more efficient.” - Nico
The Future of RPA
The combination of RPA with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning tools is the next phase of automation, which certain enterprises are already taking.
This series of technologies, also known as intelligent process automation, intelligent automation, and cognitive RPA, empowers businesses to automate more intricate and less rule-based operations.
How will Intelligent Automation Change the workflow?
In contrast to RPA, which focuses on executing repetitive tasks with the highest efficiency, cognitive automation can resolve exceptions and coordinate decisions covering the whole workflow.
Unlike standard RPA, which automates operations using data from conventional databases, intelligent automation can deal with unstructured information such as emails, scanned documents, voice recordings, and letters.
The solution is "cognitive" in the notion that it simulates capabilities such as:
Learning: Collecting ideas and understanding contextual principles using the knowledge.
Self-correction: Ability to learn through its own experience and access past human inputs to ensure it does not repeat any errors.
Logic and Reasoning: Using facts and guidelines to form a conclusion.
Ultimately, a cognitive RPA is capable of self-learning, developing skills, and constantly improving specific parts of its functionality. It can manage increasingly complicated process pathways and input sources without requiring human intervention.
This indicates that businesses will be able to fully automate back-office to front-office operations to deliver a cohesive client experience. Moreover, intelligent automation can assist firms in meeting consumers' expectations that demand transparent and accessible digital customer journeys.
Innovation in RPA using AI
It would be unfair to explore the future of RPA without addressing how more advanced solutions ease the effort of accessing and implementing automation for businesses.
RPA is witnessing massive innovation in terms of discovery automation tools and the rollout of advanced automated systems.
Furthermore, no-code tools enable businesses with limited to no coding skills to build automation systems and map processes.
Additionally, AI-powered automation discovery solutions are also offering up new avenues and helping businesses acquire more clients. It helps collect data on how users interact with services using a discovery technology and then leverages AI to examine the data and recommend automation prospects.
How to Avoid Bot Failure
One of the reasons why the automation transition is not 100% yet is the fear of bot failure. Moreover, since automation is expensive, companies hesitate about the return on investment if they face software robot failure.
“What are the reasons why bots are failing?” - Andreas
“Yea, so this happens for multiple reasons, like when the credentials of the bots expire, the host device changes, host memory changes, CPU or browser capacity limit is exceeded, upstream or downstream data flow fails, and changes in UI in the source application." - Nico
“It basically proves one thing: You need to care for your bots. You need to value your digital workforce like you value your real ones! This starts with onboarding and education about automation. Just like how you test a person’s skills before employing them, you implement and test bots to make sure they’re compatible with your vision. Hence, you need to care for them. It’s not similar to your human employees, but it includes regularly updating the credentials and memory. Also, ensure you don’t exceed the capacity limit. ” - Andreas
“Additionally, what you can do is give your bots voices so that it can inform you where it’s stuck. This will allow you to intervene and fix the situation and avoid a complete bot failure.” - Nico
Quo Vadis, RPA? - The future of RPA
Coming to the ultimate question, Quo Vadis, RPA? Or where is the future of RPA going?
The brief answer is that RPA is still an unexplored technology and has infinite potential when combined with deep technologies like AI and ML. It is also why 98% of IT leaders believe that operations automation is fundamental to generating business benefits.
When you consider statistics like individuals spending an average of 4 hours and 38 minutes per week performing redundant activities that can be easily automated, it becomes relatively apparent how implementing RPA is now a necessity for enterprises, which, conversely, means that the future of RPA looks bright.
Automation is about People and not the Bots
After all, RPA is not about increasing the number of bots in the workforce. It is about empowering people and entitling them to work on tasks that resonate with their skills and nurture creativity. Ultimately, this dramatically improves work contentment and encourages staff retention.
Consequently, if your crew is pleased, their productivity will flourish. When you also factor in automation's power to enhance your operations, you have the perfect equation for scaling up your business.
“Scaling automation is also a lot of politics, not only IT projects not about processors but also a lot about politics.” - Nico
“Yes, I agree! Politics is always involved. It’s a people business, everything is a people game! You need to choose good politics and implement technology in harmony.” - Andreas
We hope you enjoyed learning about the future of RPA. To develop a comprehensive understanding of automation, listen to the podcast from Bots & People on Spotify, titled “Automation Insider #6: Quo Vadis, RPA?”
It is also the inspiration behind this blog. It is discussed by the two well-known leaders of the automation industry, the Co-founder and the CEO of Bots & People, Nico Bitzer, and Andreas W. Zehent, former Head of Intelligent Automation at Adidas.
If you want to learn more about RPA and get the latest news, don’t forget to subscribe the podcast channel by Bots & People. We regularly upload new episodes that include insightful discussions on automation.
Not only will you get to learn from the industry leaders, but it will also help you keep track of the latest events in the industry.
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