The market for robotic process automation (RPA) and intelligent automation (IA) was already on a strong
growth trajectory before the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly because of IA generating quite a bit of buzz
on the back of ever-advancing artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and capabilities. Despite the onslaught
of challenges brought on by the pandemic, IA, in particular, remains high on the list of enterprise IT
priorities because of unprecedented resource constraints. Having to do more with fewer resources, pivoting
to a more permanent hybrid or all-remote working strategy, and digitizing and automating enterprise
operations and supply chains have all become critical areas of enterprise RPA and IA areas of investment
both now and in the near term.
Over the longer term, enterprises will continue to embrace automation and AI technologies as they nurture
digital cultures and continue to adjust to the ever-evolving, ever-more digital ways of doing business. RPA
and IA are well-suited to automate an ever-growing number of processes across IT, HR, sales, marketing,
finance and accounting, and customer service departments to make processes such as new hire onboarding
and invoicing less time consuming for employees and allow their time to be focused on higher level,
business outcome-oriented tasks.
While RPA and IA are well-known for the positive financial impact they have on businesses, especially in the
way of cost and time savings, they also help make IT and business workflows and operations more resilient
to any forthcoming disruptions and more agile, enabling companies to pivot and act fast if and when
needed. Together, these benefits lend a hand to business continuity, something at the forefront of so many
conversations at this time as the pandemic persists.
RPA can be most easily described as software that programmatically automates the performance of routine,
rules-based repetitive tasks that can be broken down into a series of steps or processes that span multiple
applications or systems. Many of the tasks that are particularly good candidates for RPA are those that were
once handled solely by humans, such as data entry. IA takes RPA a step further, plying AI technologies such
as machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP), image recognition, and more such tasks and
processes that are not entirely rules-based (i.e., they are highly variable and require decision making) and
those that involve unstructured data such as text, images, video, and audio files can be either partially or
fully automated as well.
RPA and IA are evolving to support the automation of increasingly sophisticated tasks and processes, but at
the same time, they are becoming more user-friendly, for both technical and non-technical users as vendors
incorporate low- and no-code options into more facets of their platforms. Omdia expects a notable uptick in
enterprise RPA and IA deployments through 2026 and beyond across regions and industries as organizations
of all types and sizes look to become more streamlined, strategic, and resilient to business and supply chain
disruptions. Continued advancements in AI technologies, policies, and governance will significantly affect the IA space. It is increasingly important for vendors and enterprises alike to mind global, regional, industry, and company regulations and policies around AI as the technology plays an ever more prominent role in technology,
business, and government even while most current laws and regulations remain outdated in terms of
factoring in new technologies. Key vendors in this space include Appian, AntWorks, Automation Anywhere,
Blue Prism, Datamatics, EdgeVerve, Hyland, IBM, Jacada, Kofax, Kryon Systems, Microsoft, NICE,
Pegasystems, Redwood Software, SAP, UiPath, and WorkFusion. The market is fast evolving and everchanging,
with niche players emerging onto the scene, large enterprise software vendors acquiring their
way into the market, and business process management (BPM) and process mining vendors enhancing their
Key messages & Predictions
- Automation provides organizations a layer of resilience for organizations against operational disruptions such as the COVID-19 pandemic, during which many businesses have had to alter their day-to-day internal and customer-facing operations. As a result, AI and automation are moving up the list of enterprise IT priorities.
- Enterprises value the positive impact AI is having on the robustness of RPA solutions, driving demand for IA, which enables organizations to automate processes with variable unstructured data that require decision making (i.e., they are not entirely rules based), something RPA alone cannot do.
- First-mover enterprises have helped pave the way for fast followers to get started with RPA and intelligent automation, generating use cases as well as helping improve vendors' portfolio developments.
- Intelligent capabilities and features are and will continue to be targeted areas of investment for both enterprises and RPA vendors alike.
- The RPA and IA market is poised for strong growth, with a 37% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2019-26, driven by growth across all regions and all industries.
- IA will show greater momentum than RPA as more companies advance their AI strategies and look for additional ways to save time and cost but to also promote better business outcomes. ML and NLP, in particular, provide the opportunity for enterprises to enhance their customer facing processes and capabilities, ultimately improving both the employee and customer experiences.
Table of Contents
- Market context
- Forecast results
- Regional highlights and outlook
- Industry highlights and outlook
- Business function highlights and outlook
List of figures, tables and downloads
- Figure 1: Change in importance of technologies because of COVID-19
- Figure 2: RPA and IA market size and projected growth
- Figure 3: RPA and IA current splits and projections
- Figure 4: RPA and IA regional splits and forecasts
- Figure 5: RPA and IA industry splits and forecasts
- Figure 6: RPA and IA business function splits and forecasts