It's no surprise that RPA is gaining traction in the market. Source: Shutterstock

It’s no surprise that RPA is gaining traction in the market. Source: Shutterstock

RPA is now the world’s fastest growing enterprise software category

PEOPLE love what’s easy to understand and simple to use. It’s why businesses seeking digitization seem to have fallen in love with robotic process automation (RPA).

Among all of the emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics and visualization, and the internet of things (IoT), RPA is the most accessible.

RPA is simple to understand, deploy, govern, and optimize — and therefore, has recently been crowned as the fastest growing segment of the global enterprise software market.

Gartner’s most recent forecast suggests that RPA software spending surged to US$846 million and grew 63.1 percent last year, and is expected to reach US$1.3 billion in 2019.

“The RPA market has grown since our last forecast, driven by digital business demands as organizations look for ‘straight-through’ processing,” said Gartner Research VP Fabrizio Biscotti.

“[…] RPA software is appealing to organizations across the world due to its quicker deployment cycle times, compared with other options such as business process management platforms and business process outsourcing.”

According to Gartner’s study, RPA’s biggest clients come from the banking, insurance, telecommunications, and utility companies primarily because its an easy way to integrate the various legacy infrastructure products that they rely on for everyday business-as-usual operations.

Most recently, the appetite for RPA seems to have been growing among bankers and insurers in India, with HDFC finding a use case for its credit applications, Yes Bank using the technology to automate payment processes, and ICICI Lombard General Insurance leveraging RPA for a variety of processes including quote and policy issuance and claims processing.

ICICI Bank in India is another strong use case that has often been cited by the media.

The banking and financial services giant with several subsidiaries including ICICI Bank Singapore and ICICI Bank Canada recently said it has deployed about 750 RPA bots that handle close to 2 million transactions per day.

While no cost or time savings have been reported as yet, it’s interesting to see that human error has gone down significantly.

“These robots are being used across different operations and LoBs including retail, wholesale banking, forex, treasury, agro and international operations. And most of the robots deployed have been developed in house,” said ICICI Bank India’s Senior GM and Head of Operations Anita Pai.

Although recent news stories suggest that there’s tremendous demand in India, RPA is in vogue across Southeast Asia.

DBS Bank Senior VP Anand Singh Chandel recently talked about how his company uses RPA to get rid of the slow manual processes (with plenty of opportunities for human error to creep in) which can create a poor customer experience.

“Our solution was robotic process automation, or RPA, in which software bots can emulate human execution of clearly defined, repeatable processes. Not only would RPA accelerate our processes, but it could help keep automation costs down through the reuse of developed automation objects,” Chandel explained.

What’s interesting to note is that RPA is incredibly efficient when it comes to stitching together legacy systems — which is especially what makes it attractive to banking and financial services institutions around the world.

“The ability to integrate legacy systems is the key driver for RPA projects. By using this technology, organizations can quickly accelerate their digital transformation initiatives, while unlocking the value associated with past technology investments,” explained Biscotti.

While the top RPA vendors don’t currently include any of the tech giants, Gartner believes the landscape and competition will change over the next three years as some of the biggest software vendors begin to penetrate the market and leverage their existing customer base to gain a lead.

The next few years, according to Gartner, should be incredibly exciting, with new RPA use cases coming into play and bigger vendors creating more tailored solutions for customers.