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Robotic Process Automation, the automation of repetitive tasks that historically have been done by humans using software scripts, is growing at a rate of 60 to 70 percent annually and has been accelerated by constraints placed on worked during the COVID-19 pandemic. The RPA sector is currently about $1 billion in sales, as reported by Wikibon. Spending for RPA has topped spending for other IT categories, including cloud computing and containers.
Companies usually get started using RPA to help with back-office processes. Those types of tasks automated by software bots are typically very deterministic and structured. The market has grown around smaller companies specialized in automation, but larger companies like Microsoft and SAP are now entering it.
But many see back-office as just the start. Wikibot projects four phases of automation that start with back office and progress into customer-facing, digital process transformation, and then ultimately something that they’re calling hyper-automation. Each of the phases is more expensive to design, implement and deploy, but the rewards in terms of payback could be substantial.
Especially now as we move from the pandemic environment, the ability to restructure, digitize and transform the economy is important. Bill Taylor-Mountford, vice-president at Blue Prism, said that “automation is more important than ever in helping organisations create and enhance jobs, save time and costs, improve work quality, and make them more innovative, resilient and competitive.”