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Jouko Ahvenainen
By
February 23, 2022

INSIGHTS ARTICLE: Robocorp - Robotic Process Automation

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Robotic Process Automation

The automation evolution: new tools, practices, and business models to automate simple or complex processes
 
The core focus of the RPA and automation market has been on the automation of simple routine tasks.It was a natural starting point—and still relevant today—but the market has made significant developments. For example, we can now build more demanding robots, and we see companies offering robots-as-a-service (RaaS). This means a shift for the whole market.
 
We can see three significant development trends in the automation market:
1. Open-source tools and cloud platforms become the core of solutions
2. Better integrations with other software and software development tools
3. The RaaS business model.
 
Traditionally, RPA projects have been large in nature and included significant front-end license investments. This limited the availability of these tools to smaller businesses, or those without the appetite or budget to invest the time and money. However, with the new models—open source among them—it is possible to start with minimal costs and only make a significant investment when achieving real value from robots. This offers an easy path to start and experiment with automation projects in all kinds of companies. Small and medium size companies can now utilize RPA and automation tools.
 
This new-found accessibility of automation tools doesn’t limit the opportunities to scale up automation projects and build more demanding solutions. The reality is actually the opposite. Open-source tools based on standard programming tools, cloud environment and consumption-based business models also enable the automation of larger mission critical processes. Robocorp’s AutomationOps model brings DevOps best practices to automation. The AutomationOps methodology brings together the business users and the technical team to plan, build, maintain, and continuously improve automations.
 
While RPA has been an isolated area with proprietary tools, it doesn’t make sense to see RPA separately from ordinary IT and software development practices. Automation tools and platforms are, and must be, part of other tool sets. This enables automation to be combined with the existing IT systems, utilize it in the new software development and integrate e.g. AI solutions with automation. Instead of simply connecting to platforms with UI-based actions, automation is now seeing API connections and other, more stable integrations.
 
Robot-as-a-service, RaaS, or other new business opportunities like robosourcing, will disrupt the RPA market. New service providers come to the market with solutions that meet specific needs, which means that companies can pay for the automation without building them from scratch. In the RaaS model, a company pays for the use of robots. Robosourcing means outsourcing when the service provider offers services that can include robot and human work.
 
Core to AutomationOps is iterative development, which requires business users and developers to work in sync. New automation tools and platforms make it possible to shift the automation implementations and business to a new era. I am confident that we will see more companies offering RaaS and robosourcing services on these cloud platforms. The new automation ecosystem consists of open source tools, cloud robotics platforms, and companies that offer robots to their actual users. Which means that so much more is possible. 
 
Jouko Ahvenainen is a serial entrepreneur with extensive experience in data analytics, AI, fintech and automation solutions in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. In addition to serving as co-founder and COO of Robocorp, he writes regularly about technology trends and visions. Find him on LinkedIn.

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