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The Future of RPA & Hyperautomation: 5 Predictions for 2021

RPA continues to rapidly accelerate results worldwide through 2020 fueled by rapid COVID job loss and the evolving technology market. The transition to RPA for new users and the increased use of RPA among existing users should drive innovation in the automation space and continue to drive value through time savings, efficiency gained and scalability.

Here are five RPA market predictions for 2021:

1. RPA platform providers will see an increase in translation services through software based translators allowing RPA clients to save development time spent in one platform and gain benefits from features in another platform.

Whether you started with UiPath and decided to move to Blue Prism you cannot just copy and paste the “bot” from one platform to another. The development aspects and platform frameworks are so different that you must start from scratch. That’s ok if you’ve only pushed a pilot or two, but it’s a different story when you have over 500 automation in production. We saw similar trends in the mid-2000’s with video transference. Cisco, AT&T and Skype had various video platforms and were working to capture market share, but clients had to decide which video platform to choose from since you could not call from one platform to another. Then, the original founders of BlueJeans had a simple mission – create a bridging technology that will allow users from multiple platforms to schedule and make video calls no matter the platform. The clear winner here, as shown in 2020, was Zoom.

Currently, most automation platform providers have the ability to export the “bot code” to .xml format. Parsers, code analyzers and translators can be constructed to take the origin platform automation and translate a portion of that bot code to the destination platform language. We won’t be at the point where we can translate 100% of all high complexity automation, but saving fifty percent of previous development time is better than starting over. The JOLT Analyze and Translate capability can certainly get you started.

2. The Hybrid Center of Excellence model will surge through 2021 as RPA training becomes more rampant and platform providers tailor designers for business users.

Anyone can have an automation program by deploying a pilot or proof of concept and push something simple to production. You can use spreadsheets and sticky notes to stay on top of the automation. However, automation creation and deployment is becoming simpler, and training to build more complex automation is rampantly available. There is no need for pilots or PoCs – the proof is found on YouTube. This is where the center of excellence (CoE) becomes crucial for businesses wanting to formalize their RPA management methodology and build for scale. The centralized CoE can set the standards and focus on the large automations that save countless man hours, evolve processes and refine business operations. However, platform providers are enabling regular business users to build the simple automation that will help them complete their tasks expertly. UiPath’s “A Robot for Every Person” initiative helps bridge the gap between larger automation efforts driven by a COE and the standard needs of the business user.

As a result, centers of excellence will be forced to identify the most impactful automation deployed by business users and determine reusability and scalability across the enterprise. Those business users will then be tasked with developing new automations as part of the CoE. The Hybrid model, combining a centralized CoE structure with citizen developers, will start to take shape and become the “new CoE” structure of choice for the future.

3. RPA as a Service (RPAaaS) will begin to become mainstream and lead to easy transactional pricing and seamless cloud deployments. 

Everything as a service, right? If trends continue as they have in the past with ITaaS, PaaS and SaaS, we should see a rapid advance with RPA as a Service. RPA platform providers are moving to cloud offerings. As businesses saw by leveraging ITaaS and deploying their assets to the Cloud, there was less IT for the business to have to staff for and manage. The same is happening with RPA, so let’s embrace it.

RPAaaS will decrease development and deployment costs and drive the need for deploying the most impactful and most reusable components. Cloud deployments will also help create transactional and gain-share pricing models for businesses adopting the RPAaaS model.

4. “RPA Only” service providers will begin to evolve into automation system integrators to be able to truly provide intelligent automation services expertly coupling data science, machine learning and fringe technologies together with RPA for larger expert solutions.

The RPA industry went through the “general practice” movement from 2012 through 2018. Then, the surgeons showed up and specialized by horizontal or vertical. The concept of intelligent automation came about to allow automation to make decisions by leveraging process, information, and knowledge. Human-in-the-loop capabilities made us feel safer and gave us the ability to push the “stop the presses” button when human approvals were needed. The general practice RPA movement saturated the market with low complexity simple bots. The surgeons brought us mid to high complexity automation.

Professional services providers that only provide RPA will see a market segment switch that will force them to join forces with other specialists to partner on “more-than-complex” solutions. The RPA ProServe providers that are able to evolve and seamlessly bring advanced technology capabilities into their automation operating model will be more competitive through 2021 and beyond.

5. RPA platform providers will focus on form factor to expand and drive enhanced capabilities for business users.

Many of us have been using scripting or automation for decades. RPA is not new. The centralization of capability through platform based RPA was a blessing, but the platform is reaching it’s limits and the platform movement will be diversifying through 2021, expanding the core solutions towards hyperautomation. RPA vendors will further embrace and encourage use of a mobile form factor as part of their platforms to deploy and manage an automation library through the cloud on your mobile device. UiPath already has a mobile Orchestrator available to deploy.”. RPA platform providers and third-party development houses will stand up and perfect bot marketplaces to download reusable RPA components based on social media score or impact generated. This could reduce a lot of the guesswork in development and standardize pricing for “off-the-shelf” automation.


2021 will prove to be the catalyst year in the evolution of the RPA industry. We’ve never been at a more volatile period with the use of RPA as a need for businesses and not just a desire. What are you planning within your own business through 2021 that would benefit from one of the above five predictions? Book a meeting with our experts to talk about your hyperautomation goals!

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