Breakfast Talk: The Robotic Process Automation Revolution

13 Jun 2017 – Companies have always been looking for new ways to improve efficiency. For example, over the last two decades, we have seen the rise of ERPs (Enterprise Resource Planning), Shared Service Centers (SSC), offshoring and outsourcing. Robot softwares (also called digital workforce, or RPA) are now considered as the new revolutionary initiative to drive productivity. It offers strong advantages compared to previous initiatives: higher speed of implementation, shorter payback periods, and lower disruption to existing processes and systems.

Robotic Process Automation is revolutionising the way leading companies operate their businesses. Specialists refer to it as the fourth industrial revolution. It is impacting all functions and all industries.

Repetitive rule-based processes which usually require a human touch to execute, can now be performed by a software robot at a fraction of its usual costs, not to mention with a higher level of consistency. RPA does not only provide high productivity gains, it also improves customer experience, compliance and process quality significantly. In addition, it is the necessary first step into digital operations. In the golden journey toward digitizing operations, companies will utilize more intelligent systems – They will use RPA as a foundation to support Artificial Intelligent applications such as a chatbot and many more.

In 2016, the global RPA licensing market reached about USD 700 million according to Transparency Market Research, almost twice the revenue generated in 2015. Furthermore, the amount of new adopters jumping on the RPA band wagon is doubling every 6 months. The dynamism of the RPA market is also evidenced by a number of indicators such as: M&A (Openspan acquired by Pega, Alsbridge by ISG), the success of Blue Prism’s IPO and the growing number of new vendors on the market. We also see aggressive moves on the market, like the launch by Workfusion in March 2017 of RPA Express, the first free RPA software. This might be a game changer in the RPA market as it forces other vendors to focus on value added functionalities, differentiators and new business models.

Overall, this pushes the market in a direction where it has already made headway- toward more Intelligence.

Moving on from rule-based automation, RPA is climbing the value chain to encompass cognitive functionalities – functions to “think & learn” and “interact” with the environment. In other words, an evolution toward Artificial Intelligence (AI), including the ability to autonomously drive other robots.

Whilst industries such as offshoring and Business Process Outsourcers (BPO) have been highly disrupted by RPA, others like banking, insurance, telecommunications, government and pharmaceutical see their operations strongly benefiting from it.

At this Breakfast Talk, Pascal Bornet, Leader for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Global Business Services (GBS) Advisory, Asia, Ernst & Young and Jayanth Jagadeesan, Partner and Senior Project Executive, IBM shared with us their insights on the subject, discussing the questions:

  • How do leading companies realize the benefits associated with RPA?
  • What is a typical journey to digital operations: Where to start and what comes after RPA?
  • At which pace can we expect this market to evolve?
  • What can be the impact of RPA on our society?
  • How to fully take advantage of the RPA revolution?

Thank you to our speakers for the insights and to all for joining us this morning! Do visit our website for more upcoming events.


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