The Future of RPA

The new year is upon us and things are moving fast! We talked to our RPA experts about what 2018 has in store, and we’ve compiled it all. From buzzwords to best practice for the future, these are five predictions you’ll want to read!

1. The Impact of RPA will spread within organizations

More and more companies are implementing RPA, and in 2018, the impact of RPA will become broader. Within organizations, RPA will be used in more ways and across more processes than it is today. One new aspect of this is that RPA will focus on external, customer-oriented processes in addition to internal processes from this point on. For example, incoming email classification is one area where smart robots can offer huge productivity gains. This means that in terms of your overall business, the impact RPA will have on your company is going to be greater in 2018 than it was in 2017.

Part of this will happen when RPA implementations start to move from pilots and proof of concepts to real production. While many if not most large organizations have tested RPA, it’s truly proven its usefulness in many situations at this point, so more organizations will take RPA to the next level. The area is rich for innovation at this point, and new applications will certainly emerge.

2. RPA will be integrated with other tools

It will become ever more common to see RPA used together with other types of technologies. This is because companies are realizing that automation tools don’t function best as stand-alone systems, but should instead be integrated with other tools to get the most out of them.

That isn’t to say that you can’t get great results purely from RPA. You certainly can, but the next step isn’t merely to expand your RPA in isolation, but to expand it into other tools you are using (or you should be). Think of RPA as a big, powerful, and versatile tool in your toolbox. You can do a lot with this one tool, but really, you’ll get the best result from using a combination of tools when building something.

RPA works well on its own, but in the near future, RPA best practice will likely see RPA become integrated with the work performed by human employees, creating a more powerful ‘total workforce’. This will mean that RPA will be used together with process and work management tools, such as Kofax TotalAgility, which includes features like case management.

3. What’s the difference?

If the hype about RPA seems to be dying down – that’s because it has become almost a given for many companies. And as RPA changes from something nice to have, to something essential to have in your toolbox, the feeling around it is changing.

The conversation in the market will rapidly move away from just RPA, and will focus on the broader concept of SPA (Smart Process Automation). This change will lead to innovations that make business processes smarter than they are today. In order to do this, RPA is just the beginning, full transformations can make use of entire Digital Transformation platforms.

4. Artificial Intelligence

AI (Artificial Intelligence) and self-learning capabilities are the next step for the RPA market. As we move into RPA 2.0, RPA itself will develop, and AI won’t seem like this futuristic technology. RPA itself will move beyond being a rule-based technology, and will start to integrate aspects of AI. How and to what extent will largely be based on the needs of each individual organization.

5. New buzzwords will take over the field

This year, we can expect to see different buzzwords taking over the field! While these might not sound completely new, their importance in the area of RPA will increase in 2018:

RPA 2.0 (essentially the changes described here in this list), AI (Artificial Intelligence), Digital Employees, Total Workforce (this is the total power of your digital workforce plus your human workforce), and Digital Transformation.