Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a $1B technology industry that is growing at a rate of 63 percent per year. The top three software contenders, UiPath, Automation Anywhere, and Blue Prism each received investments of over $500M from investment funds in 2019. These companies have used those funds to deliver sophisticated technical capabilities to customers, and they are poised to deliver even higher-caliber solutions in 2020.
All three RPA vendors are now delivering four distinct capabilities that customers are demanding:
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Managed Cloud Platform
Each vendor is offering its own managed cloud platform. For organizations that are comfortable using the public cloud, these platforms provide the tools they need to create and run bots that meet their automation requirements. These platforms come complete with industry certifications, security infrastructure, and SLAs that one should expect from a managed service. All three RPA vendors are actively promoting their cloud solutions to customers.
Now non-IT users can create their own sophisticated robots, too! Citizen-developer toolkits provide pre-built frameworks that allow business analysts to drag and drop business steps to create a robot. This new no-code/low-code capability gives Finance, Operations, and HR analysts direct access to RPA, allowing them to apply specialized knowledge of their respective business functions in ways that an IT generalist might not consider.
All major players in the robotic process automation space have also introduced AI-driven capabilities like machine learning, computer vision, and document understanding. AI models and “bring-your-own-model” capabilities are now stock features included in leading robotic process automation tools. These native and custom AI capabilities allow robots to make use of new information sources and process information in new ways.
“Human in the Loop”
Until now, most robots (attended or unattended) supported simple, “point A to point B” processing. However, many business processes that require a decision mechanism in the middle don’t match this straight-through automation pattern. For example, you could train a robot to perform an Initial Disclosure mortgage process. If a change in interest rates or some other business event affects the mortgage process, the bot would halt.
Now RPA robots can be trained to wait for a human user’s action, such as a loan officer’s approval. New human-in-the-loop RPA tools can ask business users for a response before they continue with their task. This new ability will dramatically change the business landscape by integrating software robots into processes that still rely on human users.
Analysts like Gartner, Forrester, and McKinsey are now altering their vocabulary regarding process automation. They are slowly transitioning away from robotic process automation and adopting a new term: IPA – Intelligent Automation Processing.
RPA is moving far beyond simple screen-scraping and has begun to acquire new, sophisticated abilities. Integrating human decision makers into RPA workflows and bringing AI into the fabric of RPA/IPA tools will allow this technology to grow dramatically. Business analysts will use RPA/IPA citizen-developer toolkits in surprising new ways. Companies that want to jumpstart their RPA/IPA journey can sign up for their preferred managed cloud platform and to begin taking advantage of automation processing right away.
So what are you waiting for? Get in touch with a Visionet RPA expert to learn how these leading-edge advances in RPA can make a near-instant impact on your organization’s bottom line.