RPA is poised for a big business break-out

Software that automates basic tasks is catching hold in large enterprises, where CIOs are seeking to inject greater efficiency into business processes.

Called robotic process automation (RPA), the technology enables IT departments to configure or train software to perform routine tasks, such as generating an automatic response to an email, or to tackle more complex jobs, such as process flows in insurance systems. Unlike machine learning and artificial intelligence, which organizations also use to automate workloads, RPA is governed by set business logic and structured inputs.

RPA’s potential for streamlining processes sees its use across every sector. AT&T, Ernst & Young, Walgreens and Deutsche Bank are among those investing in RPA to drive efficiencies in their businesses.

Spending on RPA tools will top $1 billion in 2019, but will ratchet up to $1.5 billion by 2020, according to Forrester Research, which says that 40 percent of enterprises will operate automation centers and frameworks in place this year. These investments have been a boon for Blue Prism, UiPath and Automation Anywhere, which are collectively valued at $11 billion.

“Investment dollars continue to flow into RPA platform companies,” wrote Forrester analyst Craig LeClair in an April blog post.

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