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Robotic Process Automation

5 RPA Trends to Note as Bots become All-Pervasive

If you aren't already aware of what Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is, you really should be. That's because the industry demand for RPA services and technologies has been growing insatiably year-on-year, with research reports estimating the total spend on the technology as all set to cross the billion-dollar mark this year.

So here's a quick primer on what the buzz is all about, and some trends driven by RPA that you should be looking out for.

Robots in business processes

The robots used to automate business processes are actually software programs capable of carrying out actions on a computer interface that would otherwise have been done by human employees. For instance, such 'robots' using certain pre-programmed rules can copy and paste data across software applications, trigger and execute application commands, and also, send and receive data from other systems.

So, whether it is the processing of insurance claims or the scanning of medical records, if the work needed to be done is rule-based and repetitive, the robots (also known as bots) can be used to automate many of the processes involved.

Since bots neither need rest nor make mistakes, RPA enables the processing of large volumes of work at minimal cost while also freeing up human employees to take on more challenging, complex, and meaningful work. And even as RPA adoption increases and matures, the technology promises to offer businesses across the spectrum beyond just cost reduction and efficiency. This can also improve resolution rates and deliver consistency, while enhancing both employee and customer experience.

Five noteworthy RPA trends

As the bots continue to take industries by storm, driving transformation in their wake, here are four noteworthy trends you're likely to see going forward:

  1. The scale of RPA implementations will grow

    Enterprises having tasted of RPA's low-hanging cost savings and efficiency fruit, will seek to maximize these benefits and seek deployment opportunities across the organization. However, for such large-scale deployments to be truly effective, organizations will need to parallelly invest in org-wide change management and employee reskilling.
  2. RPA will be the gateway to other technologies in the digital toolbox

    Enterprises will begin to consider augmenting RPA's capacities using artificial intelligence, analytics, and/or machine learning for an intelligent automation approach. The congruence of these technologies is what will deliver truly transformational impact.
  3. Business and IT will increasing align

    as RPA begins to be used more as an agent for digital transformation rather than as just a productivity enhancer. This alignment will require thinking together through an overarching strategy for integrating processes, data, and technology, with close collaboration and mutual respect. It will also require relooking process impact from the end-user experience perspective.
  4. The job market's concerns about RPA's impact will reduce

    The early debates about the massive job losses due to automation have begun to die down as the increasing deployment of the technology opens up new avenues of collaboration between humans and the machines to solve challenging business problems. With that being said, traditional professions will evolve and employees will need to embrace the skills of unlearning and relearning.
  5. The scope of RPA solutions will widen to include blue collar work

    While RPA's early wins have been in automating extremely mundane and repetitive tasks requiring minimal decision making, this is already changing, and fast. Coupled with increasingly complex machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms, bots are already processing a wide array of blue collar work across fields with use cases including medi-care, legal, HR, retail, finance, insurance, and customer service.

RPA is no longer a fad that the business world can afford to ignore. The coming era will be one where enterprises will bolster human creativity and ingenuity through the widespread deployment of RPA. Businesses should aim for the solving of increasingly complex business challenges rather than merely seeking to cut costs, as they move into this brave new world.