Robotics Process Automation will continue to play a critical role in the digital transformation technology stack in 2022. It is all set to mature in terms of its evolution and in ROI for the companies that have made big investments in the tech. The RPA market crossed the $2billion mark in 2021 and is slated to surge over $3.17billion, an increase of 53%, in the upcoming year. According to Gartner, 80% enterprises will continue or increase automation spending and also restructure organizational capabilities with automation at its core. RPA is result-oriented and in 2022 enterprises will see it doing just that; delivering spectacular results.

If you are looking to make investments in RPA or if you are planning to multiply your RPA projects to optimize new avenues, then 2022 can be a great year. Here are the top seven predictions we have made for RPA this year:

Robots and jobs:

The notion that RPA will take away jobs will finally lose steam in 2022. Yes, automation will impact jobs over time, however it will only impact job duties and not take them away completely. RPA can master rule-based repetitive data processing tasks, but it will still require critical thinking, creative solutions, handling nuances and innovation; and these are the skills organizations will look for in employees. With rise in companies adopting RPA, it is important for business administrations to clear the air on employee fears as silence from the top will only fuel job-loss anxiety.

Interestingly, The Great Resignation has amplified RPA efforts as businesses are facing a severe staff crunch more than ever. The trend of job hopping among millennials due to tedious, mundane work is more reasons for companies to take up RPA and increase employee retention, while accelerating their digital transformation.

Intelligent RPA:

As the world recovers from the economical impact of the pandemic in 2022, the RPA market is expected to see a boom. Companies who are moving employees to full-remote or hybrid mode, need to rethink their approach to automation. There will be an increase in organizations embracing IoT-enable physical workplace solutions.

Intelligent RPA or semantic automation is augmenting RPA tools with AI, ML, NLP capabilities to revolutionize RPA solutions and scale businesses more efficiently. This technology could make their way into factory floors and warehouses to collaborate alongside humans or in places where humans are absent. Cognitive bots will become a valuable addition to a hybrid or remote workforce.

Widespread automation adoption:

Small and medium enterprises have realized how powerful RPA solutions can be, for them to stay in the competition as the world emerges to the realities of a post-pandemic world. This year could see more SMEs adopting RPA to streamline their business processes, address labor shortage and maximize output. A Deloitte survey states that 73% of business executives said they have entered the path to intelligent automation.

Although, finance and accounting remain the top use cases for RPA, 2022 will see RPA being used across multiple business functions and industries from customer service to managing end-to-end HR processes.

Low-code/ No-code revolution:

By 2024, 80% of technology products will be built by those who are not technology professionals, says Gartner. In 2022, we may see the beginning of the dependence of core developers shift away to ‘anyone can code.’ Low-code and no-code modules will help SaaS platforms to create useful RPA solutions faster and at reduced costs. With user friendly drag and drop interface and readily-built features, low-code platforms use a visual approach to development. They can help businesses to automate tasks, end-to-end processes and workflows at scale. It will bring a significant change to how enterprises operate, support their employees and serve customers.

Ascent of Hyperautomation:

Hyperautomation will continue to march up the hill in 2022 as investors are accelerating their automation pipelines. Enterprises are looking to automate more complex, end-to-end processes for greater ROI, efficiency, quality and cost savings. The application of AI/ML will increase as automation moves beyond rule-based tasks and onto the next generation of automating decision-based business tasks. It is said that 65% of enterprises that deployed RPA will introduce AI, ML and NLP to their automation processes in 2022 to interpret anomalies, learn patterns and capture large amounts of hidden business insights.

Doing RPA right:

It is not often, but sometimes RPA deployments fail. In 2022, companies will put more effort to understand the ideal scenarios for RPA and aim to implement it for the correct business use cases. To get intelligent automation right, too many pieces of an organization need to move in the right direction. Collaborative ecosystem is paramount for the success of RPA. It is unfortunate that many a times enterprises do not understand how complex their day-to-day operations actually are.

With investment in billions, visibility and focus on people and processes is vital to automate and transform the processes. In 2022, more enterprises will come to understand that adding AI/ML to their RPA projects will not magically solve deployment problems, but they have to use the right strategy to get the desired result.

Adoption of RPA CoE:

RPA Center of Excellence is a central team that will tackle all RPA implementation related tasks. With businesses taking up more RPA automatable projects across different functions from IT, HR and customer service, this kind of a center will prove to be useful for governance and management. The team essentially comprises of RPA consultants, IT experts, process managers, functional experts from various departments. The aim of CoE is to establish best practices, optimize ROI, improve efficiency of bot development cycle, RPA integration, training and support.

Subashini Suresh