Beyond the Hype: Assessing the Evolution of Robotic Process Automation was the title of a webinar recently hosted by Ovum’s Tom Reuner,
 a Principal Analyst 
with the UK-based research and analysis firm.  In the webinar, Tom discussed innovative approaches to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and how he anticipates it will evolve over the next few years.

Topics covered on this information packed webinar were as follows:

  • What impact will RPA have on IT and business process services delivery?
  • Which vendors are providing innovation in process automation?
  • How will the market adoption for these technologies evolve?
  • What experiences do the panel have of deploying these technologies?
  • How should governance structures evolve to leverage these technologies?

To make sure the discussion was as real world and practical as possible, Tom invited a premiere panel of process automation experts, including:

Unlike other recent webinars that have seemed to focus more on simply promoting – or yes, even hyping – Robotic Process Automation, Tom and his panel kept this discussion very centered on actual examples of RPA in business operations today.  Along the way, several intriguing conversations were raised, including one about the increasing role of the RPA “solution integrators” (such as GenFour and Virtual Operations) and how they differ in value-add from the pure-play RPA technology vendors.  Also discussed was the growing popularity and increasing relevance of RPAaaS cloud delivery models.   (Author’s note: it sounds like arago, GenFour and Virtual Operations continue finding increasing interest in our respective RPAaaS models – to learn about ours visit Robot Minute).

A particularly insightful portion of the webinar was that which revealed the innovative ways HP views process automation.  Richard Mason explained that automation is a central theme for this leading outsourcer and technology provider across their BPO and Enterprise services organization.  Mason explained HP’s automation success comes foremost from having a thoughtful process automation strategy, which is followed by very selectively implementing the right technologies for each situation.  Mason also echoed earlier comments about the value RPA solution integrators play with their experience in deploying multiple process automation technologies in many different situations.

Agrago’s Chris Boos added another very provocative angle to the webinar, when he talked about the work his firm is doing to integrate automation software with artificial intelligence and in effect create, “a machine that acts more like a human.”  This decision-making machine behaves more like a ‘thinking human’ and works through a problem or process more like a human would.  In other words, it handles and resolves issues, discrepancies and one-off challenges rather than simply executing a preprogrammed script that won’t address the exceptions.

Fortunately, this webinar has been made available by Ovum for replay and the presentation content is available for download.  For both end-user buyers and outsourcers out there still in research mode on Robotic Process Automation and how it can apply to their delivery models, you have to check out Beyond the Hype: Assessing the Evolution of Robotic Process Automation from Ovum.   It’s well worth the investment of time to give it a listen!