During the COVID shut down, I have been hearing a great deal about Robotic Process Automation (RPA), including the award of some fairly large federal deals in this space. With so much dialogue centering around this cutting-edge technology, it creates a lot of questions.
Will Robotics Process Automation (RPA) be bigger than the Cloud? Is this the next rapid growth area? And the biggest question — how big is the market for RPA and what are the opportunities?
What do the reports say?
Forrester reported that the total addressable market for Robotics Process Automation is expected to reach $12 Billion by 2023.
As per a recent Gartner report – Robotics Process Automation software is the fastest-growing segment of the global enterprise software market.
The report elaborated further to say that RPA is expected to eclipse Cloud, Internet of Things and Blockchain, receiving the most significant investment focus for enterprise buyers looking to achieve operational effectiveness.
So, does this growth in RPA surprise anyone? And has COVID accelerated the roll-out of this technology?
RPA + COVID
The impact of COVID has been far spread in the workplace.
Not only has it changed the way companies operate, but from where they are doing so. While some organizations have already returned to the office, many are still having employees work remotely.
For a lot of teams a change in location has no impact on the quality of work being produced. But, for dispersed remote data entry teams, the potential for human error is higher than ever, making the appeal for automated tasks that much greater.
In my opinion, this need for automation is part of what is driving the conversation to center so heavily around RPA and its use of computer software ‘robots’ to handle repetitive, rule-based digital tasks.
What’s the ROI?
Does the return on investment make sense when you are automating a function to replace a low-cost data entry resource?
RPA does not require the development of code, nor does it require access to the code or database of the application. So, in theory, the cost of the resources required to support the implementation and ongoing success of the project should be manageable.
However, that assumes you have access to these resources at a reasonable cost to implement and maintain these systems. Unfortunately, the market has not evolved to a point where that evaluation has happened.
In order to make RPA a success, access to cost-effective software professionals is going to be key. Additionally, that tech talent needs to be specialized and affordable.
Unless this ecosystem can grow, continuing expansion and development in RPA will be slowed by the lack of resources available to support it. It will be interesting to see how investors approach this challenge as they continue to channel funding into this technology space.