RPA Trend 2022: 8 Developments companies should know
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is conquering all industries. Since 2018, the revenue in the market had grown by a total of 100%. In 2022, the market will continue to grow around RPA. Gartner expects growth of 20%. What’s next for automation technology in 2022? All about trends, forecasts and opportunities in the RPA Annual Outlook 2022.
Stronger focus on processes
Automation is only one aspect of RPA. Automating existing processes simultaneously creates a deeper understanding of the individual process steps. Finally, Process Mining is an essential prerequisite for the subsequent automation. Process Mining uses various tools to collect and visualize process data. The knowledge accumulated in this way can be used to make the processes themselves more efficient. In most companies, process descriptions exist – but they do not always match the real processes in the company. This results in inefficiencies that can be made visible and eliminated through Process and Task Mining.
No-code/Low-code RPA platforms gain in importance
No-code/Low-code platforms are intended to enable the development of applications even for normal users without in-depth IT knowledge. In practice, the idea of complex applications being created without any help from the IT department proved to be unrealistic. But platforms are evolving and users are gaining experience as well. Microsoft Power Automate demonstrates how simple user interfaces can already be designed to enable ordinary users to develop and run simple RPA applications themselves. Through a graphical interface, users choose from a library of over 500 pre-built building blocks that create full-fledged automations with just a few clicks.
Modern Workplace creates RPA infrastructure
The pandemic forced many companies to digitize processes and switch to remote working. The shift to the Modern Workplace was thus much faster across the economy as a whole than experts had predicted. This is also good news for the future of RPA. The Modern Workplace is connected to all systems in the company and thus also creates the prerequisite for effective recording and automation of individual processes.
In addition, RPA has the potential to solve challenges posed by remote work. For example, working with customer data is always fraught with hurdles in terms of data protection regulations. By automating such sensitive processes, such challenges can be easily avoided by cutting out the human factor. Companies then only have to worry about the integrity of the digital infrastructure and their IT systems.
Service Robots: RPA in the service industry
The Corona crisis had other effects worldwide. The restaurant and service industries, which were hit particularly hard, had to lay off a large proportion of their salaried staff. With the situation easing, many companies are now struggling to fill positions. Forrester estimates that in response to the skills shortage in the service industry, 35 percent of companies will look to RPA to compensate for the skills shortage in the future. When it comes to automation, companies can draw on lessons learned from business process outsourcing. They show that outsourcing has more benefits than merely cheaper labor.
The trend toward Hyperautomation
RPA solutions have long been limited to single tasks. In 2022 and beyond, hyperautomation will gain in importance. Hyperautomation deals with the automation of end-to-end processes. End-to-end processes cover all steps that take place between a customer and a company or two companies.
Gartner observes a transformation of hyperautomation from an option within business strategy to a necessary condition of existence. As soon as relevant players in the industries succeed in establishing Hyperautomation in core business processes, competitors will have to follow suit in order to remain competitive.
Semantic automation will transform RPA
RPA solutions today often need precise instructions to perform the desired action at each step. This is time-consuming even when rules are added in a drag-and-drop visual interface. Semantic automation promises an alternative to rule-based operation. Semantic software robots are not based on rules, but on AI algorithms. They can observe situations and independently understand processes and derive the next necessary steps. The executing employee is then often only left with the task of initiating the work of the software robot.
Due to the great advances in the field of Machine Learning, semantic automation will also be implemented in more and more real-world use cases in 2022. It promises greater efficiency gains and a broader scope of action in terms of Hyperautomation.
Stronger focus on strategy to avoid silos
Automation is moving into all areas of the business. Solutions exist for all business solutions such as ERP and CRM that integrate RPA into the respective systems. This allows companies to quickly gain initial experience and create use cases – but in the long term, they cannot avoid a holistic automation strategy. Otherwise, there is a risk that automation silos will form. Once silos have been established, they are then difficult to reintegrate with each other.
In the coming year, companies will therefore increasingly focus on the strategic dimension of Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Companies will have to formulate strategies that focus less on individual platforms and more on specific corporate functions. As a result, there will also be a reduction in the tools used, which in turn will contribute to consolidation on the market for RPA.
RPA as a means to greater sustainability
Sustainability is one of the most pressing social issues of the next 10 years. In the next few years, Robotic Process Automation will show how important automation is to the advancement of existing supply chains. Digital workers can reduce costs, making it easier and cheaper to test new products. By digitizing meetings, conferences, presentations, maintenance and other processes, companies can also reduce their travel volume, thereby reducing their carbon footprint. As Blueprism shows, RPA will therefore also become more important from this perspective in 2022.
RPA 2022: What should companies do?
For companies, the key in 2022 is to build on this year’s successes, automate more processes, but also re-evaluate existing processes and put them to the test against the backdrop of sustainability and competitive pressure.
Companies that have not yet invested in RPA will increasingly need to look for ways to make Process Automation work for them in 2022. Software solutions such as Microsoft Power Automate can play a decisive role here: It maps the entire spectrum of Digital Process Automation and allows companies to find and implement meaningful use cases quickly and cost-effectively.