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RPA Outlook for 2021, Industry Unicorns and Executive Insights

Outlook on RPA for 2021

RPA Outlook for 2021, Industry Unicorns and Executive Insights

BPM Transformation from RPA to IPA

Business Process Management (BPM) has undergone significant transformation in the last 10 years with a lot of start-ups disrupting the entire segment and gaining significant market share along the way.

Traditional BPM has transformed into Intelligent BPM with RPA(Robotic Process Automation) and IPA(Intelligent Process Automation) as the new norm using AI and Analytics into workflows. In 2021 and beyond, IBPM will become more of a standard for enterprises and will make inroads into sectors that not have gone through the same kind of transformation, especially in the case of Small and Medium Enterprises.

Integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and Robotics can make BPM processes faster and more effective. In addition to Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Users can use Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) to make automation scalable, adaptable and smarter.

Healthcare has adopted IPA in recent years by helping Hospitals build models to improve patient experience along with replacing outdated and mundane processes. Conventional banks and financial institutions integrated IPA into their workflows to process massive amounts of data, learning as it goes and interprets anomalies, along with automating highly repetitive manual tasks.

Following are the latest trends in IBPM (Intelligent BPM):

Unicorns in Process Automation

As per Gartner Magic Quadrant in RPA and IPA, UIPath and Automation Anywhere are considered leaders in the quadrant followed by Blueprism.

UiPath, a robotic process automation startup and one of the leaders in Gartner magic quadrant has filed confidential paperwork with the SEC with the intention for a potential IPO. UiPath valuation has increased from $7B in April 2019 to $10B as of July 2020 and has been steadily increasing its market share with sign-ups from new enterprises. In June 2020, UiPath was named to the CNBC Disruptor 50 2020 with more than 6000 customers and includes high-profile clients like Bank of America, Verizon.

Automation Anywhere, is another start-up in robotic process automation that might soon follow UiPath and is valued over $6B as of July 2020. Automation Anywhere is backed by Softbank and like UiPath supports RPA and IPA in Cloud-based platform. Automation Anywhere’s customer roster now including nine out of 10 of the top public sector agencies, seven out of 10 of the top telecom companies, eight out of 10 of the top healthcare companies, six out of 10 of the top technology, and seven out of 10 of the top financial institutions which are impressive.

New Entrants, Mergers and Acquisitions in Automation Space

Digital Transformation in BPM starting with the use of RPA and IPA has finally brought long-awaited attention from high profile Tech Giants and created a lot of M&A activity in RPA sector.

Microsoft bought Softomotive in May 2020 and integrated with Microsoft Power Automate to further democratize RPA space and to become a leader in the space.

ServiceNow bought Element.ai in Nov 2020 to enhance and build an intelligent workflow platform is again one significant change adapting IBPM.

Adobe acquired Workfront in Nov 2020 with an intent to become a leader in the IBPM space for Documents.

IBM acquired WDG Automation, a leader in RPA space in Brazil as of July 2020 is again another entrant in RPA.

RPA Software market continues to attract strong M&A Activity due to strong customer demand with increased focus in process automation and digital transformation tools.

Executive Insights on IBPM, RPA and IPA

Michael Beckley, CTO of Appian:

"2020 was about buying RPA bots and AI services. 2021 will be about organizations looking to scale those technologies, realizing the full value of those investments by unifying the modern workforce–with humans in control."

Mihir Shukla, CEO and co-founder, Automation Anywhere. 

"Automation Anywhere Robotic Interface (AARI) democratizes RPA so that anyone in an organization can participate in the automation process, moving humanity closer to the full promise of a digital workforce where enabled by bots, we can achieve more than it was ever possible before."

Sebastian Schroetel, VP and Head of RPA/IPA at SAP:

"Accelerated by the pandemic, a broader and more agile implementation of automation in all functions of an enterprise is becoming an ultimate priority. By enabling business users or citizen developers without coding skills to automate processes and tasks, companies are much more flexible and quicker to adapt to changing business requirements."

Shay Antebi, CTO for Kyron:

"The largest RPA providers will be forced to explore new verticals, and the small-to-medium enterprise (SME) sector will be one of them. I expect to see RPA vendors will go all-out to appeal to SMEs."

Sunder Pichai, CEO of Google:

"Looking to the future, the next big step will be for the very concept of the "device" to fade away. Over time, the computer itself - whatever its form factor - will be an intelligent assistant helping you. We will move from mobile first to an AI first world."

Gartner Inc estimates that in spite of challenges presented by COVID, software revenue in Process Automation will reach almost $2B in 2021, a 20% increase when compared with the year 2020. Now with major CSPs like Microsoft and IBM entering the market, 2021 will see increased activity in Digital Transformation with the integration of Cloud Computing, AI into Process Automation.

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Hari Prasad Bairaju
See all posts by Hari Prasad Bairaju