Robotic Process Automation(RPA) seems to be everywhere these days and even on the lips of those who are in the C-suite. RPA has proven itself as able to reduce or eliminate low level tasks, particularly in processes. The momentum is strong at the moment and any sight of an economic downturn will drive organizations for more operational cost reductions. Just because Process (P) is in the name, it doesn't mean that there aren't other opportunities to leverage RPA in other contexts. Even if you have mined out RPA in process, there are still other opportunities to leverage RPA as it is combined with other intelligent software thus expanding to more complex work/tasks.
Business Process On Ramp:
There is still significant benefit left in discrete processes besides low level process tasks, particularly if there are any documents involved with the process/workflow. Often a number of steps in forms scanning, data recognition, data deployment and forms flow can be assisted by RPA along with email related activities. There is more potential in creating completely automated processes (straight through processing) as well. As the scope of RPA expands to end to end processes and chunks of related processes, more benefits will emerge. There are still more benefits to mine.
Infrastructure Management On Ramp:
The care and feeding of the infrastructure is ripe with task to automate, especially when it comes to monitoring tasks and taking automatic actions. This true even if most of your work is done in the cloud. Since most organizations are still operating in a hybrid cloud environment, there are many tasks that can be automated in an around operating job streams, processes and applications. The health of the infrastructure as a whole with all the contributing pieces, especially the network, are a natural for RPA. The opportunities abound here.
Development On Ramp:
While low-code is the darling of development at the moment, there is still room for RPA to play a role. There are many tasks in and around the testing environments that are ripe for RPA. Also there are many tasks that are executed on a regular basis in promoting and demoting code and change versions from test to business testing and production environments. Any time there are mirrored environments (a best practice), there will be opportunities for RPA to contribute.
Resource Assistance On Ramp:
Resources are crucial for applications and processes to complete work. Some of these resources will be carbon based, others will be software and some will be machines. These resources, especially humans, need to be assisted with just in time data, information, content and knowledge. The more complex the task, the more RPA, especially intelligent RPA can help complete work. This is especially true of customers that interact through their specific custom journeys that require dynamic interaction with an organizations processes and applications. This is an emergence set of opportunities likely sparked by more complex tasks.
Dynamic Supply/value Chain on Ramp:
RPA bots will be come more intelligent over time to the point of becoming autonomous agents that can bid for work in a dynamic fashion, complete the work and report results. These agents/bots can participate in dynamic supply chains which are the backbone of Industry 4.0 efforts. These agents/bots, either hardware or software, can participate in linking partners together dynamically through agent representation and execution to complete tangible products and/or soft products with value chains. This is a new area for RPA and will emerge in the next few years.
Some would say that there is an RPA bubble, but it is clear to me that there is more to do especially when RPA is combined with other technologies such as process management, process mining, analytics, and all forms of AI. There is an eventual end of the road if RPA isolates itself, but I'm not seeing that right now.
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