We already know that the automation market is booming. During the Covid-19 pandemic, many organizations identified a need for digitization—with manual, paper-based, or in-person processes made difficult or even impossible by a remote workforce. This trend is set to continue into 2022, with new AI-led entries into the market and a shortage of workers driving automated alternatives. The automation revolution has come, and it’s about to get interesting.
What automation trends took place during the pandemic?
The pandemic marked an acceleration toward new technologies in the workplace. A survey by McKinsey found that Covid-19 has sped up the digital revolution by several years. A rapid shift took place in customer service, with organizations forced to interact with a much higher volume of customers through digital channels. Retailers across the globe have evaluated their digital offerings in response to a new consumer landscape. With customers relying solely on deliveries from goods bought online, it became important for retailers to modernize and streamline their online delivery process, including upgrading their e-commerce capabilities. These businesses have adopted AI solutions throughout the supply chain, which automate deliveries, manage the inventory, and provide accurate forecasting.
Across almost all industries, it became obvious any paper-based administrative process, or those requiring signature capture had to be replaced. Enterprises discovered that process automation services could streamline and digitize these processes. These changes took place rapidly, across sectors, bringing new technologies and ways of working into the equation.
Teachers learned how to use automated workflows for grading papers. Office workers realized that processes like employee onboarding or invoice management could all be moved online. In customer service, with employees less equipped to work from home, organizations turned to AI-powered chatbots, which take quick action on tasks and connect customers to the information they need with a new immediacy.
What will automation look like in 2022?
Automation trends in 2022 are predicted to change, as the market grows. Research conducted by Forrester predicts that “enterprises will embrace an automation fabric to fuel innovation”. Businesses are looking less at automated or digital solutions as a temporary alternative to pandemic-driven conditions. Instead, enterprises are embracing digital innovation, recognizing its value in a business model. Here we look at the key automation trends for 2022 and beyond.
- New players in the automation market
In 2020, the robotic process automation (RPA) market grew by 38.9%, according to Gartner. This and the digital process automation (DPA) market are expected to experience exponential growth over the next five to eight years, as enterprises race to adopt more sophisticated automated solutions. Forrester predicts that a new wave of AI-led RPA enterprises will enter the market in 2022. At the moment, there are a few key players, but it is only a ten-year-old industry, and it’s expected that new players will emerge.
- Platform convergence
As RPA and DPA become more widely used, the technologies will be integrated into other existing platforms, inhibiting market growth by 10%. Cloud service providers like Salesforce have already added RPA and DPA offerings, and this automation trend is predicted to continue throughout 2022, with more sophisticated use cases across different technologies.
- Introduction of physical robot workers
It’s a dystopian concept, but robot workers aren’t just on the horizon—they’re already here. Restaurants are already testing out automated technology solutions to work alongside humans. Japanese restaurant, Dawn Avatar Robot Cafe, made the news this year, with automated bots creating more job opportunities for disabled workers (who control the bots from their homes). These bots shuttle food to and from the kitchen, equipped with a microphone and camera, which allows them to “speak” via the controller. Those looking at automation in 2022 predict that automated bots will upscale the service-worker landscape, introducing a hybrid (robot/ human) model for jobs like food preparation, food delivery, janitorial roles, and surveillance.
- Automation to tackle climate change
As businesses look to reduce their ecological footprint, they are turning to process and robotic automation. Automation trends in 2022 show that, as more Chief Sustainability Officers (CSO) are appointed across enterprises and tackled with reducing energy bills and paper waste, they are turning to process automation for the answers. Automated processes can power down data centers or machines, reducing a company’s electricity usage. And paper-based processes will continue to be replaced by digital ones, cutting down on paper waste to meet company quotas.
- Low-code automation solutions
Automation in 2022 will focus on robotic and digital process automation solutions which can be easily managed and installed. Low or no-code technologies are desirable since they mean that customers don’t have to significantly upgrade their skills. For businesses wanting to adopt new automated processes, they are prioritizing solutions with easy deployment, like Nintex’s low-code solutions. These put The Power of Process® automation in the hands of business professionals and facilitate a smooth transition to a hybrid automation working model.
Automation is the future
The automation industry is not slowing down. Businesses are taking key lessons from the pandemic and building upon them, as the far-reaching benefits of automation become apparent. Automation in 2022 will move away from necessity, and into innovation, as more businesses adopt a digital hybrid working model. It’s time to sit back and watch as the automation movement unfolds.
If you want to embrace the trend toward automation contact the team at Nintex today.