RPA sales are down significantly YOY but are still strong, indicating the emergence of ‘hyper-automation’.

RPA-Robotic Process Automation. Business, Technology.
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While down significantly over 2021’s numbers, sales of robotic process automation (RPA) software are projected to reach $2.9 billion by the end of 2022, according to Gartner. This is an increase of 19.5% from 2021.

“By achieving a growth rate of 31% in 2021, the RPA market grew well above the average worldwide software market growth rate of 16%,” said Cathy Tornbohm, distinguished vice president and analyst at Gartner, in a press release. “Organizations are leveraging RPA to accelerate business process automation initiatives and digital transformation plans … to improve operational efficiency.”

Gartner expects worldwide RPA software sales to increase at 17.5% year over year through 2023.

What is RPA and where is it best used?

RPA is an human emulation technology that allows a user to create scripts (usually referred to as bots) to automate specific keystrokes and actions, Gartner said. RPA mimics transaction steps within a process or workflow including data manipulation, passing data to and from applications, triggering responses and/or executing transactions. RPA relies on a combination of user interface interaction and descriptor technologies that overlay on one or more applications.

RPA and other intelligent automation technologies rely heavily on AI, said Varsha Mehta, senior market research specialist at Gartner.

“AI is an extremely important component of intelligent automation because it helps drive data-driven decision-making and via machine learning it can start to extract and categorize emails, customer applications which include structured and unstructured text for example,” she said. “AI is the foundational core of these listed technologies/capabilities.”

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Why business leaders should consider using an RPA

Because of the business benefits including the streamlining of business processes and productivity gains, organizations are expected to increase RPA adoption in an attempt to automate repetitive manual tasks, said Gartner. The goal is to free up employees for more strategic and value added work.

“Technologies like RPA can be used to combine multiple interaction types with the UI interaction to complete a process flow which requires for example data being manipulated from the internet, in mainframes and on client servers,” said Mehta. “For example, when a new regulation is introduced like personal protection plans, this involves lots of data being combined and collated and this would have needed banks to hire many new people to perform this work.”

RPA vendors also are expanding to offer a suite of tools that encompasses low-code application platforms, process mining, task mining, decision modeling, iPaaS, computer vision and intelligent document processing capabilities.

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Hyper-automation factors into RPA growth

Hyper-automation is a business-driven, disciplined approach that organizations use to rapidly identify, vet and automate as many business and IT processes as possible, said Mehta. Hyper-automation involves the orchestrated use of multiple technologies, tools or platforms, including but not limited to, AI, ML, event-driven software architecture, RPA, integration platform as a service, intelligent business process management, low-code/no-code, process mining, task mining, IDP, packaged software and other types of decision and task automation tools.

Gartner forecasts that by 2025 the market for software that enables hyper-automation will reach nearly $860 billion. Demand for hyper-automation is being driven by a strong need for digital transformation and automation of business and IT processes.

Most RPA sales are expected to occur in North America, Western Europe and Japan, which together represent 77% of 2022 RPA revenue. North America accounts for the largest revenue share at 48.5%, followed by Western Europe and Japan at 19% and 10%, respectively.