10 Robotic Process Automation Predictions for 2020

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Rakesh Sangani

2020 IA predictions

Last year saw robotic process automation experience significant growth, traditional functions like customer contact function, data management departments, finance and HR have been furiously piloting RPA projects as the new decade represents significant opportunities for businesses to automate manual rules-based activities.

I have 10 predictions that we will see progressing in 2020!

  1. From the 'Big Three' to the 'Big Two'

    The market will stop referring to the 'Big Three' as UiPath, AA and Blue Prism, and focus on the 'Big Two' as most enterprises will invest in a core RPA platform from AA or UiPath. The growth of UiPath and AA will dwarf the growth of Blue Prism.

  2. Process and Automation Team integration

    Increasingly, organisations will merge their process improvement capability and their RPA capability into one team to have more of a defined approach for every process. It will be recognised that there is “nothing more inefficient than to automate something that does not need to be done at all!”

  3. Increased adoption of a bot for every person

    There will be many more examples of organisations adopting a strategy whereby they provide a robot for every employee in the business. An attended bot on every employee’s workstation will become more and more mainstream as RPA becomes easier to use and organisations desire innovative methods to attract and retain staff.

  4. Visible impact on headcount

    The elephant in the room is the impact of RPA on FTEs. For the last two years, many companies have at least piloted RPA. The impact of this automation has been a release of capacity to focus on other tasks, or that staff attrition is not replaced. As RPA reaches a tipping point, many organisations will displace existing staff in favour of a lower cost RPA model.

  5. Attended RPA will be the norm for customer-facing roles

    For example, contact centres looking to improve customer satisfaction and the productivity of their client-facing teams, HR onboarding teams, or insurance processing claims will all leverage attended bots as this approach will become the “norm” integrating the power of human and machine.

  6. Standard toolkit for intelligent automation

    By the end of 2020, I predict a recognition that the core components of an intelligent automation toolkit will include more than just RPA.
    The toolkit will require:
    robotic process automation
    process analytics (process mining and / or discovery)
    intelligent data capture (optical capture recognition + AI + more)
    workflow capability (typically through BPM (Business Process Management)


  7. Consolidation in RPA 

    With the high growth of the 'Big Two', other automation companies will acquire in an attempt to keep pace, and new entrants will buy RPA capability in order to enter the market. Just last week Appian (a low code automation player) acquired Jidoka (a small RPA business with Pepsi as one of its clients). We will see many more acquisitions like this within RPA, and therefore a consolidation of the top 10 RPA organisations – but no acquisition into further RPA by Microsoft!

  8. RPA to replace testing products

    With enterprise usability of RPA, and new products being launched focused on testing, increasingly, organisations will use RPA instead of their traditional testing. RPA lends itself particularly well to User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and end-user testing. With its codeless programming, testers can create scripts easily, at scale, in a safe environment. Using nuanced configurations, RPA testing can be more accurate, flexible, productive and cost-effective.

  9. API market will be impacted

    With the growth of RPA as an alternative to sometimes expensive APIs, the growth of companies providing API services will be impacted. More and more companies will reduce the use of APIs in favour of RPA.
    This becomes a “no brainer” for applications where APIs are difficult to set up, i.e., the ERS system in the NHS, or green screen / AS400 systems still in place across industries.

  10. RPA will become key to attracting young talent

    RPA will become a necessity for organisations looking to attract the best talent, particularly in Finance where automation will be a real differentiator for a workforce with different expectations. The next generation of talent will start to expect transactional activities to be largely automated as well as being provided with their own bot.

    Note: Rakesh will be running a workshop  at Shared Services and Outsourcing Week Europe 2020, on Designing, Planning and Implementing Digital Business Services! Register now - below!