Robotic Process Automation (RPA) made strides over several industries, including retail and healthcare, in 2020. 2020 posed unprecedented challenges that expedited the conversation of RPA among the c-suite, with many businesses opting for it to automate routine work and do more with less. As we move in 2021, what will change, and how will the RPA landscape look like? These are some of the questions this blog will try to answer while providing the top nine RPA trends in 2021. 

RPA Trends in 2021

Trend 1. Rise of Smart Automation

Smart automation is expected to take center stage yet again in 2021. Smart process automation is an expansion of RPA that includes machine learning capabilities of bots to allow them to work better with ‘if-then’ rules and scenarios. It allows RPA bots to take advantage of artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning, so that they can work like humans and mimic their actions.

Trend 2. Further Dependencies on Modern Innovations 

Another RPA trend in 2021 is the increased dependency of technology on other digital transformation solutions. The eventual fate of automation will be its further use alongside modern innovations like Advanced Data, Business Process Automation, Blockchain, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), AI, etc.

Trend 3. RPA Vendor Differentiator 

When the year began, businesses had an option to choose from more than 100 RPA providers, all of which claimed to increase ROI and save valuable man-hours. While the number of vendors is unlikely to decrease, companies will see RPA sellers falling into two general categories: quick-fixes and strategic service providers. The former sellers will provide quick-fix bots that plug and play into the system to offer instant results, while the latter will focus on more strategic business transformation through process re-engineering.  

Read more about business process reengineering

Trend 4. Bot for Each Individual 

As work from home becomes the new normal in 2021, companies are likely to devise a strategy that provides a bot for each individual. It does not mean replacing the human workforce but reinforcing their capabilities to be more productive by providing instant help and removing mundane work. 

RPA trends in 2021

Trend 5. Distinct Divide Between Bots and Digital Workers

RPA trends in 2021 will make a clear distinction between bots and digital workers. Bots will be classified as software programs that perform tasks based on recorded process steps whereas digital workers will be cognitive bots that have the ability to learn and mimic human actions. While RPA bots may be used to automate simple, structured processes, digital workers will help organizations perform complex tasks that involve extraordinarily use and access of various frameworks to automate processes.  

Trend 6. RPA To Enter Other Departments 

Finance and accounting, and Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) in general, have been an early adopter of RPA. The popularity of this technology doesn’t seem to fade away anytime soon, since these departments involve a high volume of repetitive tasks that are most suited for automation. Another RPA trend in 2021 to watch out for is the growing adoption of this technology in other departments such as HR and customer experience. More and more businesses will try to integrate RPA and other digital transformation technologies to achieve higher-order use cases in these departments.

Read about 1o RPA use cases in HR 

Trend 7. Focus on Employee Experience 

2021 will provide employers the opportunity to boost employee experience through technology, especially when working from home. The automation market is likely to address operations and tasks that enhance employees’ morale, productivity, and engagement. 

Trend 8. Data Privacy Concerns For RPA

As RPA is adopted in different departments such as client services and Human Resources, concerns around data privacy and security will increase. More and more companies will deploy process mining or process intelligence technologies across systems to discover and automate data. However, this will increase the risk of potential data leakage, and companies will have to address data security concerns before scaling the use of RPA.

RPA Trends in 2021

Trend 9. Measure and (Re)evaluate

In 2021, the question won’t be if the adoption of RPA will grow or not. Instead, debates will increase over the effectiveness of RPA initiatives over last year. One of the RPA trends in 2021 will be organizations’ shifting focus on determining if their long-term RPA will deliver actual, desired results. Several companies are likely to re-evaluate their RPA projects to see if they were effectively architected or not and whether the core processes were understood correctly to further scale the project. 

Conclusion

There you have it, our top 9 RPA trends in 2021 that you need to watch out. How will digital transformation affect your organization in the coming year? Let us know in the comments section below. 

From all of us at Nuummite Consulting, happy and a prosperous New Year!