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Pandemic shapes RPA market trends

 

RPA market trends: New automation groups, priorities

In the coming market, partners could encounter changes in how enterprises organize their RPA work. The creation of strike teams is one such direction, noted Craig Le Clair, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester and author of the 2019 book Invisible Robots in the Quiet of the Night. He said the center of excellence term has become dated and brings with it a reputation for heaviness or excessive centralization and bureaucracy.

“If you look at how projects are being done at companies, they tend to be more federated and driven within the business,” he said. “So, the strike team is meant to reflect the agility needed in the post-pandemic era.” He noted the pressure on companies to automate at a much faster clip than previously anticipated.

RPA vertical market chart
Partners can find RPA opportunities across a range of industries.

The new thinking is also influencing customers’ automation roadmaps. Projects that provide more operational resilience and address business continuity concerns — an investment to automate a more localized supply chain, for instance — will move to the top of the list, Le Clair said. Ditto for automation efforts that support remote business. Examples could include remote deposit projects for banks or e-forms and e-signature initiatives across a range of industries.

“Investment in automation, in particular, is crucial to supporting growth and innovation, in turn, improving business resiliency and leading to cost-savings and efficiency gains,” said David Schatsky, managing director at Deloitte.

In addition, RPA is getting a lift from digital transformation initiatives, some of which are still going forward despite the economic downturn.

“RPA has become a major part of digital transformation, which is continuing to see significant investment across industries,” Schatsky said. He cited Deloitte’s digital maturity study, which found respondents, on average, planned a 15% boost in their digital transformation investments in 2020. The study, published in May, polled 1,200 U.S.-based executives.

Schatsky said companies are automating processes across a range of business functions. Popular internal business functions include IT and finance, while consumer-facing processes include customer service and order fulfillment.

Processes that span more than one department are also ripe for automation. The purchase-to-pay process, which links an organization’s procurement department with accounts payable, provides one example. Rapid Deployment Solutions (RDS) Inc., a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., consulting firm is focusing on this area. The company provides strategy, planning and implementation services around content and records management systems.

Greg Kowalik, president at RDS, said the procure-to-pay process is often very paper-heavy, adding that a few companies — particularly, those still processing paper invoices — have reached out to RDS during the pandemic. “They see the problem and the problem is much magnified in the current environment,” he said.

RDS earlier this month entered a reseller agreement with Nipendo, a company that provides an RPA platform for purchase-to-pay process automation.

Eyal Rosenberg, CEO and co-founder at Nipendo, said new sales prospects now have a better understanding of RPA’s value due to COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown. Existing customers, meanwhile, are expanding their use of the company’s purchase-to-pay RPA platform. Rosenberg said customers’ management teams noticed their RPA-based procurement and invoicing processes were operating normally, despite the pandemic. That observation left an impression.

“What we are seeing is a massive ramp up with existing customers to add more spend categories and add more suppliers,” Rosenberg said.

 

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