Enterprises all over the world faced the need to battle with COVID-19 constraints throughout 2020. As the “CxOs and Innovation” survey by KPMG revealed, such digital technologies as AI and ML, AR, VR, wearables, and blockchain turned out to be the best weapons in this unequal war. But what’s next? As experts in intelligent automation and RPA trends, TEAM International constantly analyzes the market and is eager to share its insights on what these technologies will bring to the table in 2021. How should business stakeholders prepare for the next decade’s challenges?

Top AI and RPA trends for 2021 

Gartner projects RPA applications revenue to surpass nearly $2 billion globally in 2021, a 19.5 percent increase from 2020’s indexes. Forrester’s prediction isn’t far behind, saying that the RPA market will reach $2.9 billion by 2021, while IDC expects that investments will reach $110 billion by 2024. Artificial intelligence and RPA software becomes handier for almost every business. Therefore, despite the economic collapse, the automation market will still grow.  

AI and RPA instruments help workers in: 

  • Healthcare 
  • Supply chain and logistics 
  • Manufacturing 
  • Oil and gas field 
  • Smart home sector
  • Retail and banking
  • HR and recruitment   
  • Legal field 
  • Agriculture
  • Satellite construction  

1. AI for corporate strategy generating  

Up until the recent decade, corporate strategy development relied only on people’s decisions. Now, things will change. Surprisingly, but artificial intelligence will soon be able to craft your corporate strategy. Under certain regulations and constraints, of course. 

Recently, the breakthrough happened in the strategic thinking area as AI proved its capability to model enterprise and even governmental decision-making journey. AI tools that automate strategies have started infiltrating the world economy long ago. We have the Policy Change Index — Chinese decision-making machine learning model. DeepMind’s AlphaStar solves Real-Time Strategy game theory. And there are other related systems like algorithmic-based machines that are said to control eighty percent of US stock market trading. 

Although automation in corporate strategy development isn’t something new, this recent progress in the AI and ML algorithms’ capabilities makes it possible to move forward into a business domain. AI systems will be able to beat us with machine learning-based corporate strategy generation. 

2. Increased RPA adoption as the post-pandemic effect 

COVID-19 became the engine for faster RPA implementation in many organizations. Businesses now require location independence, reduced manual work, and decreased operational costs for routine digitalized processes. It is combined with the need to improve employee experience, keep attracting and retaining clients, and ensure business resilience and flexibility.  

With the ability to improve the quality and productivity of procedures and human workforce, RPA tools provide all means to achieve these goals. So, in 2021, RPA adoption for streamlining critical business operations will only increase. In the “Forecast Analysis: Robotic Process Automation, Worldwide.” Gartner predicts that ninety percent of large enterprises globally will grow their automation capacity in various forms by 2022.

3. Hyperautomation — automate everything you can 

The idea behind hyperautomation is that any process in your organization that can be automated should be automated. Basically, it’s a big brother of the classic intelligent automation (IA) and RPA practices. 2020 demanded the fast-paced acceleration of digital business transformation to bring more intelligence and agility. Hyperautomation has emerged as a game changer in automating and streamlining as many operational processes as you possibly can with a combination of AI, RPA, ML, event-driven tech, IA, and other decision-making and task management tools. 

Moving forward, hyperautomation will be the ‘dominant key’ to ensuring both digital-first operations and business resilience in the long-term. It helps large-scale companies get rid of technical, data, architecture, documentation, and talent debts. Consequently, it significantly improves your brand’s value proposition and position in the market, maximizing ROI. 

4. The rise of intelligent document processing tools  

Twenty percent of enterprises will focus on investing in the intelligent document extraction platforms (IDEPs) as we yet to know how our future of work will look like after the pandemic.These tools help classify and extract various data from documents, emails, forms and handle e-discovery, contract analytics, compliance risk. 

In 2020, offices have shut down, and employees can no longer manage or hand over papers on-premise. But now, the AI industry offers far more extensive capabilities in computer vision and ML. IDEPs became more valuable for businesses and much easier to develop and maintain.  

5. Intelligent automation to become 2021’s mainstream  

Intelligent process automation (IPA) incorporates the full potential of the low-code tools, AIOps, ML, ModelOps, and RPA power combined to optimize your business and IT systems to the best possible level. This trend’s core is an advanced technology that allows fundamentally redesigning processes, while the IPA system continuously learns and evolves based on the data obtained during the automation cycle. It’s a single platform for all operational areas that enforces your business scalability and adaptability. 

As corporate automation agendas rapidly shift to back-office processes, customer experience, and resilient delivery during the pandemic, the IPA market is expected to get $232 billion of enterprise investments by 2025. This technology will revolutionize corporate efficiency and strategy globally, diversify ways of working, and encourage new business approaches to arise. 

6. Bots for risk management and information security 

Among other RPA trends, this one is about intelligent automation and AI-based bots that can play a vital part in a corporate IT security strategy by mitigating the most dangerous risk of all — human errors. Smart, self-learning technologies are being applied more often in the fields of risk management and safety measures. RPA bots are the perfect assistants for performing data-sensitive and time-consuming tasks related to information security governance without errors and bias and with close attention to the smallest details in your code. 

7. Cloud Automation? Yes, please 

Worldwide known edge chip manufacturers like Intel, NVIDIA, Kneron, and Qualcomm are rapidly integrating AI into their products. So, it’s not even a trend; it’s a fact that next year we’ll see a collaboration of edge and distributed cloud computing with AI.  

Businesses will automate not only repetitive and tedious tasks associated with cloud maintenance but also the overall transformation strategy. With cloud automation, you’ll solve issues of high expenses on virtual data centers, unused machines, and inefficient data management. The cloud automation platforms provide a transparent overview of your virtual infrastructures and resources, along with smart, data-driven recommendations on optimizing their usage.  

8. Responsible AI engineering for the greater good 

Aside from praising AI, there are still many concerns about its ethics policies. The implementation of artificial intelligence into corporate processes often brings up challenges with its maintainability and governance. That’s why we see a rising demand for ethical and compliant AI. 

Responsible AI engineering creates a framework of the best practices directed at resolving the conflict of data ethics, transparency, fairness, accountability, privacy, interpretability, and reliability of this technology. The forward-looking enterprises will need to embrace automation more responsibly to meet their customers’ and employees’ expectations and gain their trust.  

How to plan your business in 2021? 

The 2021 trends can be divided into three main directions: people-focused, location independent, and resilient delivery. At TEAM, we believe that intelligent automation is now rightfully standing on the verge of future technological revolution for global businesses. And one of its best benefits is that you don’t need to start your IA voyage big.  

intelligent automation

The digital transformation is never easy for any executive, but IPA is already a must-have. You’ll need to reshape your enterprise to prepare not just for 2021’s challenges but to compete in the next decade of an AI-driven business. Dedicated RPA centers of excellence (CoEs) can greatly help you in this battle by teaching you or your employees how to handle the automation most efficiently and productively.   

Back to the future II: flying skateboards? No, just global automation  

In 2020 alone, RPA and AI/ML technologies allowed thousands of enterprises to survive the COVID-19 impact. The explosion of automation and data analytical tools adoption touched almost every industry. 

CIOs who leveraged automation increased operational efficiency and accelerated the delivery cycles while safeguarding their businesses from any future catastrophic events similar to the coronavirus outbreak. For them, the successful integration of IPA tools will have a long-lasting profitable effect.  

The way forward is uncertain due to the recession, but totally intelligent automation oriented in terms of tech trendsThere is always room for discussion and collaborationTEAM experts are here to make your journey cost-efficient and less risky if you have some project to share or obstacles to talk about.