UiPath’s customer experience officer adventures into RPA

Can you tell me about the RPA market?

RPA is one of the most exciting growth areas in technology today. Global 2000 company adoption of RPA is expanding and this growth is fuelled across many industries and functional areas. Forrester had recently been on record stating that “85% of all firms now believe Robots as Digital Workers are good for their organisation.” RPA is highly adopted within the government sector as well with the highest adoption of UiPath at +23 government agencies.

The TAM (Total Addressable Market) estimates for RPA in the range of $5bn (depends on which report you look at) are quite conservative, in my opinion. The RPA market can emerge as a $100bn opportunity (recent KeyBanc Capital analysis by Arvind Ramnani) across a $1.3tn BPO, IT services and application software market. The market consists of 48 players with three leading companies driving unprecedented growth, having approximately 5000 customers in total, and an under-penetrated customer base, many of whom are using far less robots than their desired potential, and a high potential for using more robots/digital workers in their organisations.

Some argue this market has not changed, though I say it’s the exact opposite. The equation that held true for this market in 2018 is not the same as it was in 2017 and prior, and certainly not the same in 2019.

RPA predictions for 2019, from UiPath

Robotic process automation is growing fast, indeed Gartner has forecast that the RPA business will grow 57% over the next year. Here are six RPA predictions. Read here

Compared to the recent past, quite a bit has changed. Organisations are using RPA for use cases not thought of five years ago. Over a billion dollars of investment has flown into the market, 2014 to 2018 has generated approximately 600m in software revenue and about three billion in services (if not more), adopters have leaned in, two RPA acquisitions, one IPO, rise of AI-powered automation, rise of adjacent ecosystems like process mining solutions — might seem glacial, though there are peripheral offshoot businesses that are possible today due to RPA.

High ROI, fast time-to-market, low friction implementations, limited RPA talent, growing technology and implementation partner ecosystem, high awareness & increasing adoption, investment flowing in, under-penetrated customer base — are the key characteristics of this market today.

Shail Khiyara from UiPath has held roles in the other major RPA players: Blue Prism and Automation Anywhere.
Shail Khiyara from UiPath has held roles in the other major RPA players: Blue Prism and Automation Anywhere.

Where is it going?

Growth is still a constant in this market and we are starting to see RPA being complementary to AI solutions. RPA and AI are often Board level topics, synergistic with (and sometimes synonymous) the dialogue of Digital Transformation.

“Organisations are made up of two things — people and everything else”

Most often, executives are tasked with growth and on the People side growth comes from hiring the right skills and talent augmentation. One of the lesser talked about benefits of RPA is talent augmentation. In fact, I often say that talent augmentation is the new talent acquisition. Freeing people from the mundane so they can rise up to a higher order of work is happening all around us. This has been the source of inspiration and the vision of UiPath when launching the Automation First initiative, and our goal of ‘one robot for every person’.

In the ‘everything else’ bucket, growth comes from deploying capital, and one way to get more capital is through operational efficiencies which is the raison d’être for and an outcome of RPA. Many digital transformation initiatives are largely driven by productivity improvement and leveraging technologies to do the same things better. Efficiency and effectiveness are different – and RPA provides an opportunity to transform your business, your customer experience and your competitive advantage.

RPA: we take a look at UiPath, Blue Prism and Automation Anywhere

Robotics process automation, or RPA, is becoming big. And this month, RPA is our main theme. Information Age talks to three of the top players: Blue Prism, UiPath and Automation Anywhere. So here we begin RPA month by comparing and contrasting. Read here

What is the current customer demand?

Customer demand in this market continues to grow fuelled by the desire to start digital transformation, operationally efficientise (sorry displeased dictionary gods), increase capacity, drive compliance, increase customer & employee satisfaction, and achieve an augmented or re-skilled workforce.

“‘Skilling me softly’ is an outcome of RPA that is under measured and often overlooked”

Why are companies not scaling RPA across their organisations? And, what is the market doing about this?

There are good stories about scale and a lot has to do with training, democratisation of RPA, ease of deployment. In my humble opinion, vendors in this space can do more to help drive RPA education and training. Maria Terekhova from HfS Research has talked about the need for enterprises and service providers to make RPA talent their top priority.

I am excited to see the UiPath Academy, Community, Go! and our series of local meet ups with developers around the globe allowing us to stay connected and engaged. In the last 18 months the UiPath community has grown to over 300,000 members worldwide and the Community Cloud now has over 35,000 robots and 17,000 tenants.

“Our tenants love to stay, for free and build an Automation First economy”

Global UiPath community.
Global UiPath community.

These engagements are what customers are seeking to keep up the momentum and help them share their knowledge within the community and build a stronger sense of network. We have introduced a LinkedIn-like platform called UiPath Connect to engage with UiPath developers from all over the world.

Other elements that impact the scaling of RPA are process fragmentation and being able to identify which processes to automate, lack of appropriate IT support and unclear broader vision to drive internal adoption.

RPA: the key players, and what’s unique about them

We sat down with some of the key players in RPA: Automation Anywhere, NICE, UiPath, Blue Prism, Kofax, and Another Monday; to ask: ‘what’s special about you’? Read here

What RPA hype needs to be debunked?

Robots will replace humans is one myth that come to mind immediately. I am a firm believer in the human resilience to rise above and this is not as a zero-sum game with machines taking over, but growing possibilities and opportunity for talent augmentation and higher human-robot productivity.

Other myths that can be debunked:

– RPA will market the end of BPO.

– RPA will not work in my industry.

– RPA is only about cost reduction.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...