5 Intelligent Automation Trends to Watch Out for in 2020

Add bookmark

Beth Hampton

intelligent automation


RPA is most commonly thought of as a productivity and efficiency tool – employees simply don’t WANT to waste time on the menial, repetitive tasks, and through leveraging automation tools they are afforded the opportunity to focus on the stuff that really matters.

However as we enter a new year and a decade of possibilities, we’re seeing the scope and application of Intelligent Automation (IA) technologies expand into previously unexplored territories. Tools that can automatically identify processes to automate, act upon this insight, and optimise deployments throughout to guarantee the best possible results. What a wealth of opportunities this could unlock.

But what can what we can expect to see from Intelligent Automation in the next year? Let’s explore.


1) A shift to the front office

Automation technologies have been widely deployed within back-office functions for a number of years now – eliminating human errors, cutting costs and generating critical time efficiencies. But while many enterprises start by automating a single area, these technologies are appropriate for use across the entire organization.

As the year progresses we’ll increasingly see companies extending automation into the middle and front offices opening the door for full-scale, enterprise connectivity. This incorporates areas like regulation compliance, customer operations, carrier development or marketing. In the front office especially, automation is now being deployed in customer-facing situations via chatbots and virtual assistants. While chatbots are not new, advances in AI will continue making them more powerful and capable of effective assistance.


2) The future of work: skills, jobs & workforce management

Are robots really going to take our jobs? Well, although automation will continue disrupting the job market, our prediction is that robots will CHANGE our jobs. RPA and AI integrations have historically created new jobs that weren’t yet invented, and, in return, other jobs either disappear or fundamentally change. The future job market is a work in progress.

As a result the call for RPA skills will continue to appear across all industries and job functions by the end of 2020. Those hiring developers, business analysts, program and project managers within IT, BPO, HR, education, insurance, banking etc will call for RPA skillsets and pay higher salaries to fit.

Digital workforce management will also grow in importance. IA platforms allow for integration of digital and human workforces and can better manage compliance issues, version control and software robots. In deploying an IA platform, the work between human and digital workforces can be managed, governed, measured, monitored and scaled.


3) IA for security

The 2020s are shaping up to be the decade defined by Big Data, and the simple fact is that old-school, human-only security approaches can’t scale to handle this information downpour.

RPA will play a pivotal role in global data privacy and governance initiatives, helping to alleviate human blunder as they effectively and accurately manage data-intensive tasks. This is especially as RPA is increasingly being paired with more cognitive technologies. Ultimately, they can help lessen the most universal risk of all: human mistake.

What’s more, even malware now uses AI to identify network vulnerabilities – it’s only logical we use it to beat them at their own game.


4) The global economic downturn will encourage automation adoption

Many respected experts and financial analysts warn that 2020 will herald another global recession.

With much of the RPA market still untapped, the economic slowdown will drive businesses to introduce automation to find new means of increasing efficiencies, reducing costs, growing revenue, meeting customer needs and remaining competitive.

Rachel Reeves, Labour MP and Chairperson of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee says: “The real danger for the UK economy and for future jobs growth is not that we have too many robots in the workplace but that we have too few. The government has failed to provide the leadership needed to help drive investment in automation and robot technologies.”


5) RPA will become intelligent

Enterprises continue to mature their RPA initiatives, and the reason is simple: all the easy tasks have been automated. So without further ado… welcome one and all to the world of Intelligent Process Automation (IPA)!

Moving forward, RPA and process analytics will become infused with tools such as AI, Machine Learning, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and advanced analytics, and we’re already witnessing a shift in buying behaviours towards these tools which deliver higher business value.

As these complementary tools become integrated, robots will become more capable of autonomously monitoring and refining business processes. This allows businesses to automate on a greater scale and with greater intelligence.

Expect IPA – as well as variations like “cognitive automation” – to be popular anew in the year ahead.



Going into the new year, we should anticipate that IA (as well as varieties like cognitive automation) will become a mainstream business priority, particularly as companies become more in tune with the limitations of standalone, rules-based RPA. Through use of these integrated, intelligent tools we can penetrate a new sphere of capabilities and uncover a whole new means of driving business value.

Are there any IA trends for 2020 you think we've missed?