RPA software that enables enterprises to automate routine tasks is a burgeoning and rapidly evolving market. It’s an area of marked activity, as seen in the recent Salesforce purchase of RPA provider Servicetrace following high-profile RPA acquisitions by Service Now (Intellibot), IBM (WDG), and Microsoft (Softmotive).
In the increasingly diverse segment, tools combine elements of workflow support, low-code design, task automation, rules management, and AI components and as a result sound surprisingly similar. Yet they have evolved from different roots and as a result, have distinct strengths and weaknesses. As a result, decisions for CIOs have become blurred. So, what happens next will be defining. The market is moving quickly as capabilities are expanding, and companies add better artificial intelligence algorithms to help with customer service and other common tasks. That’s where the title of the new report comes from.
Forrester’s report explores the current marketplace and speculates on the future. It predicts that the companies in the marketplace must exploit all of the powers of artificial intelligence while building strong and maybe even increasingly invisible connections with cloud companies and other software packages. In other words, RPA will become more powerful, more automated, and often just another feature that’s embedded in other tools.
The report foresees a marketplace that’s expanding as vendors crowd under the umbrella of intelligent automation (IA). Some are traditional RPA vendors who will continue to expand their capabilities. Others are low-code and no-code competitors that will gain enough functionality to compete with RPA tools.
The report notes that good, AI-based automation can now be found in a number of product niches:
- Traditional business process management (BPM) — an early set of tools originally designed to track workflow and which are now gaining the ability to offer intelligent assistance and occasionally take over;
- Intelligent automation (IA) or robotic process automation (RPA) — tools that were built from the beginning to offer deeper automation support, often relying upon AI algorithms to simplify standard tasks like form processing;
- Embedded process support — tools that were built to do something else entirely, like Salesforce, but are now gaining the ability to use good algorithms and AI to simplify and even automate some tasks;
- Emerging AI-led transformation – tools with roots in early AI tools, such as optical character recognition, which are gaining the ability to tackle entire workflows.
You can find more insights from the full report which is available for individual purchase on this page.