In the past few years, we have seen steady growth in Robotic Process Automation (RPA). It gathered momentum in 2019
and became a hot topic in IT and business circuits.
In 2020, the power of process automation will be felt even more strongly, propelling its adoption as a replacement
for legacy processes. McKinsey, in its article, `Harnessing automation for a future that works,’ estimates
that about half of all the activities people are paid to do in the world’s workforce could potentially be
automated by adopting technology. This would result in 60 percent of all occupations to have at least 30 percent
technically automatable activities.
RPA’s Adoption and Benefits across Segments
Financial services have become commoditized, and banks are mandated to focus on improved front-end and back-end
services. Front-end has already seen the adoption of RPA. However, in the recent past, we have witnessed wide-scale
adoption of RPA to manage back-end processes. Repetitive rules-driven tasks are now being managed by RPA, bringing
down errors, time, and costs.
Insurance companies typically have overwhelming processes, multiple applications, and regulatory requirements. RPA
has helped to automate data entry enabling on-the-go calculations followed by validation which is extended to
branches through self-service. It has helped to manage high volume processes related to claims and underwriting,
quotes, and payments related to policy surrender, bringing down turnaround time significantly.
The retail industry has, in many ways, been at the forefront of RPA adoption. It is not uncommon to have physical
robots working alongside humans in warehouses and retail outlets. Along with this, based on the fact that online
sales in the US can grow to double its size by 2023, there are numerous functions that RPA has already infiltrated,
such as order processing, procurement, inventory management, and payments. It is helping retailers to manage complex
supply chain relationships by automating workflows between manufacturers, suppliers, and customers.
The manufacturing industry has witnessed the widespread adoption of RPA to reduce errors across various functions.
In Bills of Materials, for example, where various components such as sub-assemblies, components, and raw materials
come into play, RPA reduces human errors. Similarly, with compliance, RPA has simplified the process while
maintaining updated requirements for adherence. Data migration and automated communication are the other RPA
empowered areas that are transforming traditional manufacturing companies into lean and nimble companies.
As the education industry continues to transform, its surging need is to manage online and offline correspondence
with students, staff, and stakeholders. RPA intelligently manages these relationships, ensuring faster and smarter
A Brave New Bot World for Businesses
In 2020, there will be more RPA bots deployed across industries, i.e., wherever repetitive manual actions are being
performed. It will allow business leaders to improve their performance and venture into new territories. This would
be a direct outcome of lowered labor costs, better processes, and improved quality.
To maximize the potential of RPA to turnaround their businesses and prepare for expansion, business leaders will
have to start at the ground level. A thorough inventory of processes across the organization will be required to
identify all the processes that can be automated.
The question that arises is, `how will process automation help to grow businesses?’ Robotic automation will
result in labor displacement. Organizations and their leaders must review the opportunities for business growth and
strategically deploy their workforce to achieve business goals. New roles, new activities, and new opportunities are
the benefits of RPA that 2020 would bring along.
Humans versus Bots
RPA from being a buzzword will become a practical reality for workers who will need to familiarize themselves with
the technology to maximize its potential. The ability to let go of their tasks and watch machines performing the
same tasks will be challenging if it is not dealt with in the right way. Therefore, 2020 will see senior executives
sharing their business visions more openly within their organizations to show their employees the new vistas of
opportunities that lie ahead - opportunities that will require strategic thinking and smarter ways of working.
Organizations that view technology disparately will have to rethink their strategies. The human factor will play a
pivotal role not only in the adoption of RPA but in how the displaced workforce uses their abilities to help achieve
business visions. To simplify, the human factor will have to take precedence over automation, and careful evaluation
of existing human resources is required to ensure that organizations are not just bot processes but `intelligent
A Surge in Need for RPA Technology Solution Providers
As with any new technology innovation, there is likely to be a surge in demand for technology professionals with RPA
expertise. This could create new work opportunities and even lead to outsourced demand for robotic automation
process service providers. Technology workers whose roles require repetitive programming will now have to retrain
and prepare for roles that RPA will create. The need for new technology professionals will see a spurt in the
education industry as it prepares to train and certify robotic automation professionals.
AI Enabled RPA
2020 will see businesses grappling with robotics and AI and trying to figure out the difference. Without a clear
understanding of the difference, there will be breaks in processes that will adversely affect business development.
Bots, as we know, perform repetitive tasks mindlessly. For tasks that require more intuitive predictions, AI will be
the answer. To understand how and where to deploy AI versus RPA will require expert intervention from technology
solution providers. Spending on RPA software is predicted by Gartner to hit $1.3 billion in the coming year. Will
all of this result in business benefits, will be a question mark with the answer hidden in its maximized and correct
To summarize, 2020 will see wider adoption of Robotic Process Automation across industries. It will help businesses
to shift their expenses from process management to business empowerment, provided they can manage and maximize the
existing workforce responsibly. It makes more sense to have bots managing customer queries and offering faster
responses to complex questions. For employees, RPA promises to take the mundanity out of boring tasks, opening the
space for creative thinking. 2020 will be a game-changing year for the IT world with more opportunities for humans
to tap on innate skills that machines cannot replicate. The companies that have already begun their RPA journey have
witnessed significant benefits, and they will have an undue advantage over the competition in 2020.
Nous Infosystems is a leading RPA solutions provider assisting organizations in their RPA journey right from
assessment, strategy to implementation and deployment. To learn more about our RPA services, get in touch with our
'Harnessing Automation for a Future That Works.' McKinsey & Company.
Harnessing automation for a future that works