Opening of 2019 and Anthologized RPA Predictions

Diving into the automated universe and engaging in expectation alteration

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Shail Khiyara

If there was ever a most recent case of expectation alteration’ it was the video of Magdalene as she appeared on stage in Glasgow in April 2009 convinced of her ‘trial’ performance and was quickly ‘labeled’ by the crowd based on her simple looks and accent. The next 120 seconds (see video) were transformative in expectation alternation’ and in the judges’ words ‘the biggest wakeup call ever’. You know her as Susan Boyle.

Expectation alteration can occur in hyper-growth environments, though RPA, I would say has already shot past the hype stage and the last several years in this space have felt like a decade of growth. Questions in this market have morphed from ‘what is RPA’ to “How do I deploy it within my organization, how do I scale, how do I measure value?” to “How do I find the right talent and help me drive cultural adoption?”.

Accelerated growth of this nature and a congruous trifecta (I have talked about this in my prior blogs) of efficient investment, return on investment, time to value of return is seldom seen in industries.

“One of the lesser known outputs of RPA is – ‘Talent Transformed’, an impact seldom seen by other technologies.”

There have been multiple predictions in this first week of 2019 and towards the end of 2018. Here are almost all of them, summarized for your perusal and brief thoughts below. I have segmented them in this fashion to show predictions that drive Market Growth, or those that directly impact customer value, and finally those that help the vendors (eventually could end up helping the customers).

Mg Outcome Predictions

The term ‘Digital’ becomes so diluted, it is rendered meaningless as “Integrated Automation: drives the narrative.

The misplaced faith in ‘retraining’ will fade.

RPA-as-a-service will get traction in 2019.

AI as a term will get tiresome and we will revert to something more meaningful.

2019 will see increased RPA adoption.

Teams of Humans and Attended robots will be on the rise.

The pace of automation will increase, and large-scale RPA implementations will advance rapidly, turbo-charged by the spread of expertise through widely available training programs, new open marketplaces and the maturation of internal COE’s.

  Process Predictions

For RPA to deliver value, longevity and resilience – at scale, automations should be carefully planned, modelled and designed.

Digital transformation is going to get harder before it gets easier. It’s more than just adding a new digital channel. Its redesigning the core operations of an organization: legacy systems, silos and historical processes.

People and Process synergies, ie eliminating process fragmentation and ensuring people alignment, will be the crucial difference between Scale or Fail automation.

Cv Value Predictions

2019 will be the year of ‘how’. The why (customer experience, revenue impact, internal alignment) and what (emerging technologies) for transformation are now fairly clear after intense debate for last couple of years.

We will see increased job opportunities due to RPA, in 2019.

Business cases for automation will stop being built on headcount reductions and start being built on improved employee engagement.

CX and employee engagement will be on the rise at various customers who have successfully deployed RPA.

Automation will be democratized through global vendor education initiatives.

  Feature/Functionality Predictions

2019 will see a shift from rule-based decision-making automation – to mode advanced intelligent automation.

2019 will not be so much about RPA. Artificial Intelligence will slowly bleed into the mainstream.

We will see more integrated solutions with the advancement of AI and ML.

  KBFs (Key Buying Factors)

RPA has a very important part to play as organizations are increasingly searching how to improve and modify their applications on a continuous basis, so everything that is repetitive and reoccurring in nature and is a sequence of steps, RPA is very well positioned to address.

Greater focus on design - 2019 will be the year where more rigor is applied to RPA vendor selection. Higher numbers of organizations will adopt a more strategic approach when selecting RPA products. Greater proof will be demanded that a RPA product is really designed for the enterprise.

A new Enterprise standard will emerge - Having a universal RPA standard will become more important than ever to ensure that organizations avoid choosing either the wrong options or bad, poorly designed, options.

Vendor differentiation will become distinctively clearer by the second half of 2019.

Vv Acquisitions

2019 will see large software companies acquiring RPA capabilities.

M&A activity in Intelligent Automation will start as vendors put investments to work and round out their product portfolios

  Segment Growth

Attended robots will accelerate past unattended robots.

RPA in the public sector will explode (high growth).

Public sector organizations will follow divergent paths to automation.

Ready-made Bots for specific use cases, in an all-inclusive (OCR, RPA, AI, ML) single cloud-based platform – will emerge and likely fit about 15% of the uses cases in 2019 automation deals.

Insurers will strike out for AI. Natural language processing, machine learning, optical character recognition and sentiment analytics will augment automation and insurers will start deploying attended software robots on more and more employees’ desktops.

A humble point of view

Experts with more experience than me have made these predictions above (includes predictions from Blue Prism, HfS, Pega, SAP, UiPath, myself).

Will there be a major expectation alteration aka Susan Boyle example above, most likely not? Will the RPA bubble burst (as is one of the predictions).

I don’t think of it as a bubble when there is tangible value that Telcos, Retailers, Manufacturers, Financial institutions, Banking, Automobile & Insurance companies, Shipping and Logistic companies and many more are realizing today.

To put it in simplistic terms, there are two prime reasons for automation – to serve your customer and to serve your employees. There is a distinctive ‘and’ not if, not or. Organizations that do both drive scale, competitive advantage and growth.

Scale is often talked about as coming from ‘enterprise grade software’ which is attributed to ‘complex’, ‘rigorous’, ‘holistically strategic deployments’, etc. All good but getting Cinderella to the ball, in today’s fast paced business environment, requires easily consumable, quick ROI, democratized training and an immutable focus on customer centricity. Speed being incongruous to scale, is a misnomer, nor can it be classified as non-enterprise grade.

“People and Process synergies, ie eliminating process fragmentation and ensuring people alignment, will be the crucial difference between Scale or Fail automation.”

This is just one way of looking at these predictions, it’s not perfect and likely I may have missed some. What is interesting to see is that there are so few predictions on what will ‘directly’ impact and drive customer value.

Thanks for reading. Looking forward to your comments.