2020 Predictions: How Did We Do?

As the new year approaches it’s natural for technology companies to reflect on their respective industries. Not surprising, as it’s a good time to forecast the market landscape, strategize business goals for the coming year and address how best to accomplish them.

At EPSoft, we too find the beginning of the year to be a great time for setting our business course. Each year we ring in the next by making predictions for the industry. But before we stake our claims and make our market predictions for 2021, let’s take a look at how we did for some of our 2020 predictions.

2020 Prediction: RPA ROI will hit a high, thanks to process intelligence
The Verdict: Partly True

A quick Google Trends search reveals a moderate spike in interest in the term “process intelligence” during 2020 vs. 2019. However, the unanticipated effects of COVID-19 probably offset at least some of the anticipated returns. Entire economies were thrown into turbulence and companies around the globe had to adapt fast to survive. So while process intelligence likely did contribute to the ROI for process automation in many organizations, it was probably not as significant as it might have otherwise been, as these changes happened in the wake of many others.

2020 Prediction: The C-Suite will make RPA an integral part of their overall business strategy
The Verdict: Mostly True

While we couldn’t have anticipated the virus being the catalyst, this prediction played out nonetheless. Global supply chains were disrupted, some industries went virtual, others adjusted to brand new operations and protocols. It was a time that spotlighted the ineffectiveness of siloed work, and necessitated a cohesive business strategy. As such, RPA and intelligent process automation were seen as drivers of efficiencies in a way that hadn’t previously been considered, and became part of the larger conversation. In their year-end roundup,
Gartner predicts that nearly half of all new RPA clients will come from business buyers who are outside the IT organization–a clear sign that businesses are thinking enterprise-wide.

2020 Prediction: Companies will want to expand their RPA initiatives with AI components
The Verdict: True

Many businesses have already begun some form of process automation. Once RPA bots are deployed, and the benefits are realized, the next question is usually one of scalability. With RPA, the best way to scale beyond the task level is to incorporate AI. Intelligent process automation (IPA) is used to bridge gaps in the workflow and incorporate cognitive abilities into the digital workforce. Allowing the digital workers to think, evolve and adapt similarly to their human counterparts. As Gartner puts it, hyperautomation is “inevitable and irreversible.” In a September 2020 survey, 75% of businesses said they would continue or start new AI investments in the next 6 to 9 months.

The pandemic certainly re-shaped the year we thought 2020 was going to be, but it wasn’t all bad news. In many ways, RPA and IPA became unsung heroes, helping to alleviate pressure and accelerate efficiencies in the midst of crisis. To check out the rest of last year’s predictions, you can read the whole post here. And be sure not to miss our 2021 predictions in our upcoming post.

If you have any questions about process automation as you’re planning your year, the EPSoft team is here to help. Reach out any time to schedule a free consultation.

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