MARKET | Mar 14, 2017

What future for Robotic Process Automation?

Market, advantages and sectors of use

By the year 2020, the market related to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will reach the value of 4.98 billion dollars.

In fact, according to an Everest Group survey, 28% of companies have already implemented robotic process automation technology and 50% of corporate in-house IT departments and centers are already actively planning or implementing pilot projects. Over 40% of the sample believes that RPA is currently one of the best enabling technologies that is really worth investing in.

Process Robotic Automation: what do we mean?

As defined by the Institute for Robotic Process Automation (IRPA), RPA allows employees of a company to configure a system or a “robot” for manipulating data by triggering automatic responses and communicating with other digital systems. Therefore, RPA allows companies to benefit from advanced automation of processes and analysis within production flows at low cost, which was not possible with previous methods of automation.

Automation software tools are programmed to be used within processes for monitoring data in order to obtain, on the one hand, an improvement in productivity and, on the other, accurate compliance with standards and quality. Robotic automation has modernized modes of management and support of various business processes, and those of workflow and back-office, managing all in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.

A recent Transparency Market survey estimates that the market for robotics related to the IT sector will expand by 47.1%, reaching the figure of over 17 billion dollars by 2024.

Which sectors are affected?

RPA solutions can be applied to a wide range of sectors: for example, the automation of routine processes such as approvals of loans in the banking sector or order confirmation in the manufacturing or travel sectors where, through use of these solutions, the time of human operators is freed up. These solutions can dramatically reduce the time required to complete tasks, reduce the number of errors in transactions and free up workers to direct them towards different and more innovative activities.

Today, companies in almost all sectors are facing a number of challenges related to their business processes. A first critical issue lies in the non-interoperability and fragmentation of different back-end and front-end systems, which is central to interaction with customers. Speed ​​and accuracy in these cases are of vital importance and for this automation can only bring benefits.

A specific case which can be instructive is that of a major financial services group in Italy which had its own contact center company for providing business process outsourcing services for financial and insurance institutions. The daily services delivered by the contact centers had reached their maximum capacity: 650,000 monthly calls handled by about 500 operators, forced to spend too much time in data entry and follow-up tasks. The financial services group was able to improve the quality, predictability and speed of its contact centers by integrating RPA solutions and reaching the point of thus handling well over 8,000 reports per month, with a 99% accuracy in preventing fraudulent type activities and a reduction in the average delivery time of the wrap-up phase which increased from 82% to 100%.

Which markets, in which countries?

The IT market related to robotic automation is segmented in the survey on the basis of two fundamental types of solutions offered: tools and services. The market related to tools is expected to expand to a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) that is 51.8% faster than in the services segment. Robotic automation IT services currently represent the largest segment, with a share of over 68% in the international market compared with 2015.

Robotic automation has been adopted mainly by various companies in North America, making this region the dominant shareholder in terms of revenue in the global IT automation market. Estimates indicate that the region will also continue to register significant growth in the field of robotic automation in coming years.

In Europe, healthy growth is expected from the point of view of demand for robotic automation by 2024, also considering the phenomenon of digital transformation within the production base.

It is estimated that the Asian region will see the development of a high-potential market in coming years: Technologically advanced countries such as Japan and China are the largest contributors in terms of adoption of process automation.

Processes will therefore change and with this, through automation, also work: according to forecasts provided by the World Economic Forum , as early as next year about 5 million jobs in the world’s 15 major economies will be “pulverized” .

Thus, the increasing use of Big Data, artificial intelligence and processes of automation will profoundly change not only companies and their processes, but also, and above all, the way people work.

Emma Pietrafesa