Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in 2020: 5 trends to watch

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in 2020: 5 trends to watch

What’s next for robotic process automation? Look for reality checks about fit, new partnerships between IT and HR, and increasing use of RPA for security tasks

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RPA trends

4. Automation will bring CIOs and HR chiefs closer together

KC from ClaySys Technologies anticipates that 2020 will be a rubber-meets-road year for the notion that IT automation, RPA included, will entail widespread job loss. He disagrees with this idea and thinks it will be increasingly exposed as a myth.

“RPA only eliminates the need to allocate humans for manual repetitive tasks,” KC says. “By making a robot take care of such tasks, human resources can be allocated to more meaningful jobs that involve real decisions that an RPA bot won’t be able to [make]. My personal opinion is that allocating humans for performing a repetitive task is a bad utilization of the human brain and an insult.”

That said, RPA and other forms of automation will change some people’s jobs, hopefully for the better, but realizing this more optimistic view will require real leadership. That’s particularly true in organizations with a growing digital workforce – a term that describes RPA bots and AI working alongside people. As Huff notes, this will require new management and governance approaches.

Prince Kohli, CTO at Automation Anywhere, expects CIOs and other IT leaders to begin working more closely with their counterparts in HR as a result.

“We will see new crossover between the chief human resources officer and chief information officer roles.”

“As RPA adoption snowballs in 2020, this technology will transform job roles from entry-level all the way to the C-suite, as enterprises achieve new levels of efficiency and productivity. In particular, we will see new crossover between the chief human resources officer and chief information officer roles as organizations meld human and digital workers,” Kohli says.

“While a robust cognitive automation strategy has numerous benefits for business performance,” Kohli explains, “realizing these benefits will require a people-first approach that is centered on the redistribution of work, shifting roles and responsibilities, as well as the creation of new roles, requiring new levels of collaboration between CIOs and CHROs.”

5. RPA bots will become tools for risk management and security

RPA is most commonly thought of as a productivity and efficiency tool. Reducing or eliminating repetitive manual processes is an efficiency unto itself. Kohli predicts that RPA and other forms of automation will become a more visible part of information security strategies, not because an army of bots will be fighting threats on the front lines, but because they can help reduce the most universal risk of all: human error.

“Work today is happening faster than ever before and increasingly from on the go, making the challenge of protecting sensitive data increasingly complex and vulnerable to human error,” Kohli says. “As important information flows in and out of organizations – across disparate teams, partners, devices, clouds, vendors, and customers – the old-school, human-only approach to information security simply can’t scale to handle this data deluge, which can lead to costly mistakes.”

Automation is becoming a bigger deal overall in security, and RPA could become a less glamorous example of this trend, especially as RPA is increasingly paired with more cognitive technologies. By automating certain processes, you can potentially reduce the human element at the root of many risks.

“RPA bots will help mitigate human error as they are perfectly suited to handle data-intensive tasks efficiently and without error, saving companies valuable time, reducing security risk, and freeing humans to focus on higher-value, more fulfilling work,” Kohli says. “We’ll soon see more organizations using bots as intelligent guardrails that ensure accuracy and reduce the chance of accidental internal data leaks.”

[ How can automation free up more staff time for innovation? Get the free eBook: Managing IT with Automation. ] 



Your first 3 items mirror what has been going on (and continues to be so) with Software Test automation (or Automation in Testing, AiT). Adoption of automation tools for software testing has been growing for years, with the last 10 plus showing the biggest increase due to the acceptance and implementation of Opensource tools such as Selenium.
And this leads into the second item you list, and its inherent issues. The problem with over-inflated expectations of the tools and process, what I call "Automagic" (I'm know for the saying "It's Automation, Not Automagic!"), has always been around. Companies jump into implementing the automation tools without understanding the process and effort involved. Thus they set themselves up for failure due to ignorance. I've already heard about this happening with RPA implementation. As you mention they try to do too much too soon without understanding the real problem they are trying to solve. One of your other articles covers this in more detail.
Finally, the promise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) is becoming important for both AiT and RPA tools. How this will pan out is to be seen, but it is promising in that AI in the tools will help to improve their capabilities to increase coverage of usage scenarios of the system/process being automated. This can lead to more robust and reliable automation.
Otherwise, I like this article. I'm starting to switch from AiT to RPA, and as part of that I'm seeing some things repeated with RPA implementations that I've dealt with for over 25 years of AiT work. Hopefully the business side will be a bit more cognizant and strive to do a better job of implementing RPA tools/process.

Thanks Kevin

Thanks Kevin

Excellent article really reflects what is in my book Business @ the speed of bots (on amazon)

Would love to get your feedback on this


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