RPA major trends

In 2022 the adoption is increasingly exponential and visible from the creation of hybrid workforces (human and digital) with the main objective of complementing each other in daily productivity

Robotic Process Automation, in terms of evolution, has always shown a rapid and constant growth, through initiatives aimed at innovation / continuous improvement, sustained by the return on investment (ROI), and by the transversal and generalised adoption, justified by the total adaptability to the multiple functional areas in the various business activity sectors.

In 2022 RPA will be characterised by an even more accentuated increase and the five major trends, which have been identified, through careful market analysis, are the following:

1st) The increasing influence of CIO’s in RPA governance

According to McKinsey, RPA is one of the strongest trends and, according to Gartner, 80% of organisations continued to invest and increase their budgets in this area. In this context, CIO’s have gained influence and taken the lead in defining the strategic approaches to the “digital workforce” for both its governance and the adoption of the technological platforms that will support it.

As investment grows, boards want to make sure it is well spent, so ‘automation mandates’ are being created. They require strategic implementation plans that deliver Process Automation capability on a global scale – with centralised governance, visibility and control.

And following these mandates, CIO’s will need to address significant challenges such as: What types of technologies should be standardised? How to balance central initiatives with individual ones? What capabilities should be built in-house or outsourced? How to ensure best practices in governance, security and quality?

Regardless of these questions, one should always monitor and take into account all the savings generated by the efficiency gains and, mainly, how these can enhance the growth of new business opportunities. At this point, RPA already has a long track record in processes focused on generating more revenue, such as self-service solutions, contact centres and sales operations.

Taking into consideration this convergence towards the savings driven by the adoption of RPA, it is that the increased relevance of CIO’s, who are responsible for building the innovation programmes and who consider RPA as an integral part of the operational “core” of the various business models, is framed.

2nd) The Semantic Robotic Process Automation revolution

Nowadays, developers continue to instruct robots, via RPA code, on how they should perform tasks. So, even with drag & drop and/or low code, automating a complex process from scratch is a very exhaustive job.

However, the so-called Semantic Automation allows developers to move away from rule-based, variant and step-based approaches. Semantic robots will “observe” a repetitive activity and simply start “mimicking” it, without “step-by-step” coding. In this way, they will assimilate the process flow, understand the “input” data, know where to get it and where to move it.

From the above, it can be said that semantic-based RPA has the potential to revolutionise the development cycle by freeing up the time that was previously consumed by the developer in programming, democratising RPA, and making it even easier to scale within the functional departments of organisations.

3rd) RPA is moving towards so-called Green IT

As everyone realizes the need to create more and more environmentally friendly solutions, the number of Chief Sustainability Officers (CSO’s) in organisations is growing, namely in the FORTUNE 500, where there are already 95 professionals, which in itself is a strong indicator of the paradigm shift in some of the largest companies worldwide.

Unsurprisingly, processes that employ RPA can help align business and sustainability goals. For example, automatic processes to shut down infrastructure during periods of low or no use can significantly reduce electricity consumption.

The annual use of cloud infrastructures can be reduced by 65% through daily and automatic adjustments during the different periods of workloads in order to make the infrastructures much more energy efficient. Automation accompanied by dematerialisation of invoicing processes, issuing contracts and other paper-based flows, can significantly reduce their consumption.

In 2022, RPA and the so-called Green IT are in fact fully complementary concepts that help address some critical challenges, such as climate change and the issues of our society derived from these.

4th) Growth explodes across the entire RPA ecosystem

From this booming of RPA solutions, we should see that, besides the technology itself, also the services around it are equally scaling up with this exponential growth. Whenever one tries to measure both the size and growth of RPA, manufacturers are just a subset amidst a paraphernalia of players.

Thus, you have to take into consideration the whole ecosystem around it – those who provide the “software”, the “hardware”, the technical services of integration, development and consulting – that unleashes the maximum power of this technology as it is actually infinitely greater. Moreover, everything is growing at a very fast pace, which really is excellent indicator, because just like in nature, a healthy ecosystem is a sign of strength and sustainability, underlying the RPA market in general.

By 2025, IDC states that the size of the RPA ecosystem will rise to USD 16.4 billion – creating a cumulative opportunity of USD 51.2 billion from 2021 to 2025.

By 2022, this growth will be much more visible, as will intensified marketing, sales and new market / customer development efforts, as all participants in this ecosystem look to grow their end customers’ automation initiatives to maximise both profitability and efficiency by scaling their existing RPA solutions.

5th) The management of the hybrid workforce (human and digital)

It is estimated that in the next 5 years hybrid (human and digital) workforces will be very common in all organisations.

The most critical issues in HR management will be:

  • How to accelerate and democratise the adoption of RPA solutions?
  • How to manage the transition from manual to 100% automated roles?
  • How to redeploy employees and train them to take on more demanding skill challenges?

As robots increasingly take over less-skilled tasks, employees will go about their daily work using personal robotic and virtual assistants, sharing and delivering tasks that will free up much of their time by relieving them of repetitive manual workloads.

The response HR teams will make to all these issues will undoubtedly pose many future challenges, as they will have to rethink all existing departmental roles, how to hire in the future and finally how to implement employee redeployment plans as RPA solutions scale.

The need to train employees on how to work and deal effectively with RPA’s will be increasingly accentuated, and it can already be said that it is a very present and strongly growing trend in the Human Resources areas of large organisations.
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