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5 RPA Predictions for 2024

1. A RPA winter looms as RPA enters the trough of disillusionment

This is not an indictment of RPA. When applied thoughtfully, RPA as a technology provides real, meaningful value to the business. Rather, the issue here is that the technology is being oversold in the marketplace as a panacea for everything.

2. A major shake-up in the RPA software vendor landscape

Driven by the commoditization of RPA software, companies are increasingly rationalizing their investments in RPA platforms. Notwithstanding the vendors’ best efforts to differentiate their products, companies will prioritize reducing their Total Cost of Ownership and adopting a best-of-breed technology stack instead. In addition, we expect the adoption of open source RPA software and the trend of RPA platform migration to continue to accelerate.

3. AI+Automation will help to tackle the long tail of RPA

Automating the right process has always been a key success factor for RPA given its inherent limitations. The corollary is that only 20% of all the business processes in an organization can and should be automated. Not anymore. The emergence of AI, specifically generative AI, will dramatically enlarge “the art of possible”. Use cases that were deemed technically or commercial prohibitive — the erstwhile long tail of RPA — are now achievable by combining AI with RPA.

4. There will be at least one major security breach involving RPA

The proliferation of citizen-developed bots is raising concerns around governance, compliance and security. Citizen developers, while well-intentioned, may inadvertently introduced logic flaws and security vulnerabilities that may compromise entire systems. Also, the rise of shadow IT is reducing the visibility of IT and security teams of the various threat vectors that are lurking within the organization. We expect the outbreak of a major RPA security breach to be the trigger for an industry rethink on how to discover, mitigate and monitor such threats.

5. RPA copilots will remain a holy grail (for now)

The holy grail of RPA is to “automate the automations”. The emergence of generative AI and its application into RPA development platforms will undoubtedly be an important first step in the right direction. Nevertheless, we caution against the hype and hopes of copilots and autopilots (see prediction #1). We do not expect widespread adoption beyond fancy demos and proof-of-concepts.

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