The Current State of Robotic Process Automation
It's all over the news in the B2B world — Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is going to disrupt the way organizations operate. But before we start beating the RPA drum, let us take a look at what the numbers and facts say.
RPA is a relatively new technology that helps companies effectively transfer mundane tasks from human workers to bots. These computer programs replicate actions of the users, such as opening files, moving folders, copying information, etc., and emulate the tasks with lower risks, higher efficiency, and decreased costs.
The technology has seen significant growth just recently, especially with the new improvements to screen scraping tools and developments in AI. Many believe that RPA is the next big thing in B2B.
So where does the field stand in 2019?
Let the Fun Begin… with Statistics
Interested in what experts have to say about RPA? Here's a quick rundown.
American market research company Forrester predicts that in 2021, the RPA market will grow to $2.9b, which is enormous growth compared to mere $250m in 2016.
If we take a look at other consulting and research companies, they give similar predictions. McKinsey & Company, for example, say that the global financial impact of automation technologies (“RPA is expected to be a leading element”) could be approximately $6.7trn.
“Robotic process automation (RPA) software revenue grew 63.1% in 2018 to $846 million, making it the fastest-growing segment of the global enterprise software market,” according to one of Gartner's press releases. “Gartner expects RPA software revenue to reach $1.3 billion in 2019.”
What do these numbers tell you? That the expectations as well as the potential are enormous, and the adoption within various industries has already started.
Unsurprisingly, those who are dealing out the RPA cards in the market are increasing in valuation, too.
The Most Significant Players
If you are familiar with the venture capital waters at least a bit, you know that when such names as Sequoia, CapitalG, or Accel decide to invest into something, you should pay attention.
And according to VentureBeat, these and several others have participated in the D round investment series of UiPath, the leader in the RPA market. With their 600% growth in a single year, the company occupies more than 13% of the market, leaving behind the 2017 leader Automation Anywhere.
Although the market share is quite similar (12.8% for Automation Anywhere), the revenue differences are powerful. While Automation Anywhere went from $74m in 2017 to $108.4 in 2018, UiPath increased its revenue tenfold ($15.7 in 2017 to $108.4 in 2018).
Together with the third big player, BluePrism, Gartner identified these companies as Leaders of the market in its Magic Quadrant, while the fourth company NICE is a Challenger.
What Are the Current RPA Limitations and What Does the Future Hold?
Despite all of the above, the RPA technology comes with its own set of challenges.
First and foremost, RPA won't improve your processes.
True, you could say that it's not a feature of the technology as much as it is a bug in company processes (wink, wink, Process Mining). Still, it needs to be stressed — if you deploy RPA into a company with ill-working process, you'll end up multiplying the errors instead of preventing them.
Among other issues RPA faces today, you can definitely count in processing of unstructured email content and capturing inputs from diverse formats. On top of that, RPA as such has no ability to gain knowledge from its previous experience and is unable to apply it to other dynamically evolving processes.
An answer to that, however, might be just behind the corner.
It's called Cognitive RPA, or Cognitive Process Automation. If things go well, not only should RPA be able to use natural language processing for better understanding of unstructured data, it should also understand the context of this data and act accordingly.
However, the question is what you can do now to get the most out of RPA initiative. A good start would be our e-book on How to get RPA right in 2019 or get in touch with us to help you figure that out.
Photo by Pat Krupa on Unsplash
Michal Tomek Writer & Content Manager at Minit
24. 09. 2019