RPA is your gateway to a future driven by AI

3 minute read, posted on 02/18/2020, by Brad Levy

RPA is a gateway

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the fastest growth area at present in enterprise software. Gartner recently estimated that the RPA market grew by 63% in 2018 and growth in 2019 was over 100%. The two market-leading RPA platforms, UiPath and Automation Anywhere have received over $1.5bn in investment between them in the past few years. After years on the ‘hype cycle’ RPA truely has arrived.

RPA doesn’t really involve robots. The bots, if you like, are actually just software agents that can perform specific tasks. The beauty of RPA is that it can be applied on top of existing systems so repetitive tasks can be automated. A good example might be a bank with a legacy back-office system that works, but requires manual data entry and is repetitive. RPA could automate much of that boring data entry making the process work much faster, but also increasing accuracy and diverting a team member into a more interesting job.

But as HfS Research has suggested, there is an opportunity for RPA to do so much more than just shift data around the enterprise faster than when much of the work was manual. When you start combining RPA with artificial intelligence (AI), you can start training the system to not just manually repeat a process, but to make decisions about what needs to be done. This strategy creates an enormous opportunity.

HfS Research recently published a 10-point manifesto that they believe will lead to this smarter use of RPA. I particularly like point 3:

“If automation is not part of the overall business strategy, senior leadership will not focus on delivering automation projects because of their risk of failure—or at least mediocrity. Most businesses can only deliver against three or four strategic initiatives at a time, so they should stop any automation projects that are not directly contributing to one of them. Automation’s focus always needs to be on the desired measurable business outcomes of these high-level initiatives; otherwise, they become too tactical and will lack management commitment. The short-term targets and KPIs need to have a clear and logical relationship to the bigger picture.”

In summary, you cannot ignore this. Just like AI is the number one strategy defining the future vision of companies such as Microsoft and Alibaba, every senior executive needs to have RPA on their agenda and to be considering it an essential and strategic tool that will redefine their business. For most businesses, RPA will be the first step to building a company that embraces machine learning and AI and is therefore far more important than just a tool to speed up some manual workarounds – this could transform your business.

At VXI Global Solutions we have built an RPA center of excellence staffed with designers and engineers ready to help our clients on their RPA journey. Our team has  also been actively improving our own internal processes in addition to advising others – we really are walking the walk and can talk about both our internal and external experience in Robotic Process Automation projects.

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