Top Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Trends in 2017

Top-Robotic-Process-Automation-(RPA)-Trends-in-2017.pngA mega revolution is currently kicking up a huge storm all over the world. The wave of automation is sweeping over everyone, and it is up to you to latch on the wave and take the ride of your life. The Robotic Process Automation phenomenon is here to stay, despite naysayers bragging about RPA being a temporary trend.

The Robotic Process Automation market in IT is forecasted to grow at a compound annual rate of 60.5%, from 2014 to 2020.

The pace that picked up heavily over the recent years has made automation one of the biggest buzzwords around, with organizations seeing up to 200% increase in various types of benefits. It is time for you to stake your claim as a frontrunner, whether as a beginner or a current user of automation. Let’s take a scoop at the top trends 2017 has seen in Robotic Process Automation.

RPA Is Disrupting Costly BPM

To start off, we need to keep the definitions in mind. Business Process Management (BPM) is a functional or strategic level operation that aims to overhaul target business functions that were drowning in legacy operations.

But Robotic Process Automation is a layering over certain functions that renews and expedites targets through the power of software that can surpass human capabilities. BPM, therefore still remains the umbrella term of the overall function, while Robotic Process Automation can be termed as a branch of BPM.

However, BPM has turned out to be a relatively expensive service that organizations cannot dispense. Now since we keep talking about disrupting your own business or industry before someone else does, Robotic Process Automation is cutting off the excess fat that is accumulating around BPM, because of its nature of being simple and easily installable onto existing systems. This trend has increased in 2017, and we are in the process of limiting the legacy BPM has, of being time-consuming, and costly.

Central Control of Various Robotic Implementations

Vendors who are trying hard to sell a myriad of solutions like Robotic Process Automation for telecom, are bungling their efforts, as organizations are now having to tame the flock of these robots. If the enterprises are huge with vast operations, robots and chatbots are being dropped all over the organization, with each having its subjective goals to achieve. Add the combination of numerous bots and narrowed goals and the long-term view is relegated to the backburner.

This year has seen organizations grappling as their control center consoles are struggling to manage large implementations, and it raises some robotic process automation security issues. The next year will see how larger objectives could lead to the meticulous selection, setup and coordination of these software.

There could be a centralized, hub-and-spoke architecture to the RPA implementation, and a design flow to the whole customer experience. A report talks about mitigating possible rogue robot actions like the recent episode, where Microsoft’s Zo belted out offensive and racist dialogues that shocked the tech world.

Identifying & Balancing RPA & Human Intelligence

The prospect RPA holds of cutting down both cost, and the chances of human error in business operations is immense. There is no doubt about it. But as industry representatives have been claiming, tasks which involve cognitive and reasoning skills – both which are unique to human intelligence will not be rendered to the software systems.

Robotic Process Automation, in its current stage, does not draw parallels with artificial intelligence. Rather, it is proficient in routine, unsophisticated, and repeatable processes that can be translated into code and instructed to be executed time after time.

Vendors and organizations are taking different digital paths, and we aren’t countering that trend, as each one needs to adopt a strategy that works for them. But in the hype being built around RPA, this year has seen a spillover of tasks that require reasoning, and the results are proving to be a PR nightmare.

RPA Analytics Has Been The Biggest Revelation

When we take the covers off the primary benefits that Robotic Process Automation offers, and look below the hood, there are ripple effects that must be mentioned. If you think about what happens after the systems have been set in place and the automation begins either through desktop simplification or chatbot integration, analytics track and ensure quality assurance.

The architecture could also involve updates and changes to existing desktop apps or algorithms that warrant business automation to move forward as well. Further, adding the power of predictive analytics and machine learning are essential to ensure that the whole technology setup is working in sync with each of its elements.

Further advantages could be when the analytics starts lending its insights into process assessment, user interface and customer experience metrics, helping the business and IT teams course-correct, and improve along the way. Barclays has been using the power of Robotic Process Automation for Banking to save around US $250 million in bad debts.

Enterprises Focus On Supporting Culture & Increased Resources for RPA

Despite all the hype, implementation of automation processes requires a supporting culture and dollars to invest. A report by Process Excellence Network this year talks about enterprises citing lack of resources and unconvinced management as the reasons behind process automation not being implemented.

Interestingly though, only 6% said that budget was an actual concern, proving how economical it has become to implement robotic automation, but also about the lack of a skilled workforce that is lagging behind the current demand.

2018 will see more engineers and specialists upskill themselves, as RPA becomes a hot career option to pursue. Robotic process automation in sectors like healthcare and finance are being disrupted by enterprises that are actively focusing on increased automation, as the development continues to make the technology more robust and diverse for different industries.

Governance basics are being defined as we automate

Robotic Process Automation in telecom & petroleum industries are some that call for attention, as they are heavily regulated. Since technology has to be governed and all systems need to comply by the same rulebook, there are deployment constraints at enterprises where RPA systems do not comply with existing manual or digital processes.

For example, the technology management at a large oil group halted the process of replacing 100 finance and accounting employees with business automation because they required the same compliance rigor as their existing SAP host systems. Use cases could also extend to client onboarding, expense validation, and operational reconciliation processes.

2017 has shown how RPA has become a buzzword after artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, thanks to its true nature of advancing digital transformation across the enterprise. Enterprises are now talking about improved processes, rule-based implementation and Lean Six Sigma capabilities along with governance and control of the entire automation portfolio.

Industry-specific solutions like Robotic process automation for healthcare or banking are going to become mainstream in the near future. Argos, a UK retailer, has realized tremendous ROI through its automation framework and has become the third largest player in its space. Industries, creators and regulators are important stakeholders in helping automation penetrate deeper into industries.

Rama Krishna (RK)
Rama Krishna (RK)
RK is the Vice President, Business Solutions & Strategy for UNLOCK INSIGHTS.
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