Robotics Process Automation (RPA) is neither new or old. In the past few years, RPA has grown in popularity among the IT and modern business landscape. A Deloitte study shows that 53% of organization have launched RPA initiatives and 78% of the organizations with existing RPA programs plan to significantly increase their investment in RPA.
Another data from a leading research company finds RPA as “the fastest-growing segment of the global enterprise software market.” Gartner has also predicted that the global market for RPA services will hit an estimated £5.98 billion in 2020.
That said, RPA is expected to remain a staple in taking over menial, repetitive, time-consuming but important business processes. This is set to be a pivotal year for automation as the global economy reacts and adapts to it – most companies taking the leap to expand and broaden their RPA strategies, while those curious ones will move to acquire and tap on RPA vendors to remain competitive.
Take a peek into at some key RPA trends we should watch out in 2020.

Increased RPA Adoption and Spending

With RPA’s successful takeoff in the global market, small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) are likely to catch up by acquiring and standardizing new business models with automation. Rather than lay off employees and struggle through, businesses will scale up robots to help boost their workers’ productivity.
Top RPA market players also see an increase in automation technology being used to improve the human element of a business.
The RPA market will continue its rapid growth in 2020 as more enterprises come to understand both the power of process automation overall and the number of legacy processes for which RPA is an effective answer,” says Aaron Bultman, director of product at Nintex.
More RPA bots will be deployed in all industries where manual repetitive actions are being performed by human resources,” says Vishnu KC, senior software analyst lead at ClaySys Technologies.
An increase in adoption also projects that spending on RPA software will become a billion-dollar category in 2020. Gartner projects spending on RPA software to hit $1.3 billion this year. Forrester, meanwhile, has predicted the RPA software market to total $2.9 billion in 2021.
[Planning to start your RPA journey? Read How To Start RPA In Your Organization.]

Objective and Practical Review of RPA Tools

As a rule of thumb, stock markets do not always stay in the bull territory. This will force companies to go back to their drawing boards to review their existing automation programs. Organizations will also be pushed to look into different RPA solutions to reuse or combine with other technological advances in a bid to improve their internal processes and more efficiently achieve their business goals. They will learn how to better standardise robots and apply them across use-cases and departments, and eventually across companies and industries.
As more and more companies adopt and look to scale with RPA solutions, the focus will need to be on choosing the right processes and the right automation tool in order to support employees and make the most of RPA,” says automation expert Paul Necklen.
The RPA market will also undergo a reality check in 2020 as enterprises pursuing digital transformation become more aware of the differences among processes, the range of automation technologies available, and the importance of using the right tool for the job,” Bultman says.
Organizations that will be deploying RPA solutions this year will also begin to explore the complex systems of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Intelligent Automation (IA), and RPA. “Those who have seen an RPA bot in reality know the difference. RPA is for mimicking human interaction [with a machine],” KC says. “A bot simply follows instructions based on a series of [rules-based] decisions, whereas AI has a mind of its own and is capable of making decisions on its own based on the training set given to it. The decisions an RPA bot has to take must be configured beforehand.
[Here’s an in-depth discussion on AI and RPA: Augmented Workforce: The Best of Two Worlds.]

Entry of Fresh and Tech-Talented Workers

Given the opportunity to learn about automation, whether in school or through daily use of the internet, students entering the workforce will be familiar with better options and will compel businesses to transform and modernize their processes.
LinkedIn has noted this trend in employment in their Future of Skills 2019 report wherein it listed AI and RPA among the top ten “rising skills” in the Asia Pacific region. The study indicates that growing use of AI, automation, and robots in the surveyed companies calls for other business leaders to upskill their staff and expand their capabilities.
Automation is coming, regardless of whether we use it or not,” says Allan Tan, managing director of Monstar Lab Philippines. “People who are able to adapt to these changes will lead the industry and the laggards will be left behind.

Intelligent Automation Will Take Another Leap

The terms “intelligent automation” and “cognitive automation” will get another turn in the spotlight as businesses gain a more practical understanding of the limits of standalone, rules-based RPA
In 2020, tech leaders will augment their initial RPA efforts with a convergence of rules-based and AI-powered automation via a fully integrated intelligent automation approach, enabling them to find new value in the way of workforce capacity and operational efficiency,” says Chris Huff, chief strategy officer at Kofax.
Guy Kirkwood, chief evangelist at UiPath, noted that while it’s hard to keep up with the advancement of RPA and AI, having insights into these trends can give organisations a head start, and provide them with a competitive advantage.

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