What Know-How Will Be Normal?

Skyways|April 2020

What Know-How Will Be Normal?
Tech trends are likely to change the way business is done and money is spent this year
Aaron Harris

Robotic Process Automation

This year is going to be a momentous year for Robotic Process Automation (RPA). This is the process of automating mundane tasks, such as taking data from one file and entering it into a business application like Customer Relationship Management. It’s about computerising repetitive tasks that are an inefficient use of people’s time.

RPA is not a physical robot. It's an approach to working across multiple software applications and entering, maintaining, migrating, integrating, mining and testing data on spreadsheets. It’s the equivalent of an employee who never sleeps, eats or makes mistakes on tasks that need repeating over and over again.

At the moment, only big enterprises are employing RPA at scale. In 2020, we’ll start to see this trickle down to small- and medium-sized businesses. RPA software revenue grew 63.1% in 2018 to R12.7 billion and to R19.5 billion in 2019. That makes it the fastest-growing segment in the global enterprise software market, according to research company Gartner.

RPA provides improved accuracy for automated and repetitive tasks. Two-thirds of financial processes are now automated in some way. The remaining third is taken up by ad hoc or ‘human’ requests for information. The next step will be to automate those processes too.

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April 2020