RPA (Robotic Process Automation): Predictions For Next Year

BERLIN, GERMANY – DECEMBER 12: UiPath Co-Founder and CEO Daniel Dines and TechCrunch Senior … [+] The writer Darrel Etherington speaks on the stage of the TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin 2019 in the Arena Berlin on December 12, 2019 in Berlin. (Photo by Noam Galai / Getty Images for TechCrunch)

Getty Images for TechCrunch

This week, UiPath filed for its IPO (confidential) and is expected to hit the market in February. As with other enterprise software companies like Snowflake, C3.ai, and Palantir, the offering should do very well.

UiPath is a leader in Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which enables the automation of repetitive and tedious tasks. And yes, the sector is the fastest growing segment of enterprise software. A key reason is that the ROI (Return On Investment) is quick and substantial.

Keep in mind that UiPath is on track to have over $ 360 million in revenue this year and that it has more than 6,300 customers. The company recently raised $ 225 million, valued at $ 12.2 billion, from investors including Accel, IVP, Dragoneer, Coatue, Sequoia, Kleiner Perkins, and Capital G.

This IPO will surely increase the visibility of the RPA market and there will likely be more dealmaking. Remember, there are tons of smaller operators in the industry.

But what are some of the other trends that we can see? What’s on the radar next year? Let’s take a look:

Muddu Sudhakar, the CEO of Aisera:

“Bigger players are entering the market. One notable case is ServiceNow, which bought Element.ai. This will bolster workflow automation to compete with Automation Anywhere and UiPath. ServiceNow aims to scrape documents, create a knowledge diagram, and perform analytical queries on the knowledge diagram.

“Then there is Adobe, which bought Workframe. Adobe is the “Document Maker” and has knowledge and PDF creation as well as document scanning. Adobe wants to take over the entire automation process for documents. “

Tolga Tarhan, CTO at Rackspace Technology:

“Digitizing work at this new scale will cause technology leaders to rethink corporate security and the increasingly popular zero-trust strategy will take center stage.”

Alex Rinke, the CEO of Celonis:

“One group that we see in the automation area is the crew who hyper-automate everything. You can find many RPA providers here throwing bots at anything that moves. The effects of Covid have resulted in fewer workers looking for help, and in the short term the automation fix may feel good, but the automation tax will be high once these bots start to limp and eventually collapse. This approach has proven to be brittle and fails when the business changes because it automates steps regardless of the business context, process situation, management objectives, etc. It is believed that there is always a way of doing things – which is never the case in business. “

Eric Musser, General Manager for Intelligent Automation at Pega:

“Next year RPA providers will decline as they try to diversify their solutions and expand into other markets. Organizations are realizing the fact that RPA didn’t live up to the hype and delivered the value it promised. Standalone RPA providers will do their best to rename themselves. “

Michael Gilfix, Vice President, Cloud Integration and Chief Product Officer, Cloud Paks at IBM:

“In combination with AI, RPA can help CIOs, for example, to identify, diagnose and react to IT anomalies themselves in real time. RPA can help close the loop and ensure consistent data for all tools that connect to the AI ​​system, such as: B. Watson AIOps from IBM. This can increase data quality and improve the accuracy of the AI ​​as well as the productivity of the engineers involved. “

Sebastian Schroetel, Vice President and Head of Intelligent Robotic Process Automation at SAP:

“Accelerated by the pandemic, a more comprehensive and agile implementation of automation in all functions of a company is becoming a top priority. With the ability for business users or community developers without programming knowledge to automate processes and tasks, companies can adapt to changing business requirements much more flexibly and quickly. These business users are also the ones who know their processes best and therefore can unlock a full automation experience for citizens. Citizen Automation is the application of the current low-code / no-code trend to the world of business process automation. “

Vadim Tabakman, Director at Nintex:

“When things settle down in the workplace and get back to normal, RPA providers will no longer be able to do what they did in 2020. The development of the business will be needed as it will stand out from the rest of the pack. “

Dennis Ortiz, Managing Director for Strategy and Analytics at Deloitte Consulting:

RPA becomes part of the AI ​​solution set. RPA, while less complex, will be a fundamental component of a number of AI solutions. “

Stephen DeWitt, the Chief Security Officer at Automation Anywhere:

“Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) in particular will prove to be an important tool for companies to successfully navigate a completely remote workforce. Every company must be able to process structured and unstructured data autonomously in order to work efficiently. With IDP, bots can process emails, signatures and PDFs. Document-intensive processes such as insurance claims, loan applications and invoices can be automated. “

Jon Knisley, Principal of Automation and Process Excellence at FortressIQ:

“As the market moves from point deployments within a particular business area to wider adoption within a company, the problem of data security and privacy is growing and suppliers are being scrutinized. Suppliers must be able to mask sensitive company data and personal information (PII) in order to meet the requirements. “

Michael Beckley, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of Appian:

“2020 was about buying RPA bots and AI services. 2021 is about organizations that want to scale these technologies and realize the full value of these investments by unifying the modern workforce – with people under control. “

Guy Kirkwood, the chief evangelist at UiPath:

RPA will be the new ERP. I anticipate the global systems integrator (GSI) community and exam-based consulting firm will encourage and train thousands of employees to dedicate themselves to automation. And that GSIs will do the same as they did in the 1990s with ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software. I believe these companies are realizing that the automation industry is poised for explosive growth and seeing a very real opportunity to sell business strategies and enablement services to help their customers gain new benefits, much like they did before ERP. “

Shay Antebi, Kryon’s Chief Technology Officer:

“The largest RPA vendors will be forced to explore new industries, and the small and medium-sized enterprise (SMB) sector will be one of them. I assume that RPA providers will do everything in their power to appeal to SMEs. But if they want to gain a foothold in this market, they will have to redesign their entire user interface. The UX needs to be far less complex and onboarding needs to be easier. “

Rajendra Prasad, the global leader in automation at Accenture:

“We will witness the rise of the digital workforce, with AI and machine learning fueling the human workforce and helping human-machine collaboration. This includes not only chatbots, for example, but also AI assistants that help with project management, testing or data management. Coupled with a culture of modern engineering (Agile, DevOps) and a continuous innovation mentality, automation in software development and application management open the door for IT to be an innovation partner for the company. “

Eric Tyree, Head of AI and Research at Blue Prism:

AI-infused automation will increasingly be associated with core strategic initiatives such as improved customer focus, revenue growth, capital allocation, supply chain management, risk management, cost and operational efficiency, and more. AI-powered digital employees are used as the main tools for implementing corporate strategy and managing risks on a corporate scale. “

Spiros Liolis, the chief technologist at Micro Focus:

“While RPA is very early in the supply chain, many if not all companies have implemented supply chain automation to ensure efficiency and speed. Technologies such as barcode scanning, QRs, RFID, resource planning and CRM are very well established and offer a high degree of automation, speed and flexibility. However, these were mostly individual system automations, usually with very structured data. In more complex systems or systems with unstructured data, manual intervention is the key. With the introduction of intelligence with cognitive and machine learning, RPA systems are now mimicking many human actions. With these additional capabilities for RPA, we can automate rule-based tasks and follow workflows and instructions for processing inputs and developing outputs. In addition, RPA can be “trained” incrementally to predict outcomes and enable digital decisions. The assembly of these parts will not happen immediately. The development of a strategy and the creation of a roadmap for implementation and integration as well as the step-by-step introduction of a culture of change enable the company to advance the necessary digital transformation. “

Tom (@ttaulli) is a Startups Consultant / Board Member and author of Artificial Intelligence Fundamentals: A Non-Technical Introduction, The Robot Process Automation Guide: A Guide to Implementing RPA Systems and Implementing AI Systems: Transform Your Business in 6 steps. He has also developed various online courses, for example for the programming languages ​​COBOL and Python.

April 2, 2021