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A new year has started in its own right, and with a retrospect of 2019 in mind, it’s time to have a look at some 2020 predictions about robotic process automation. We start by saying that automation trends for 2020 have also been in the spotlight at UiPath Forward 3, the event that we attended last year. You can find more details about the topics touched upon at the event in the News section on our website.

We’ve come a long way since the predictions that we were making in 2018 for this year. One of the developments that we anticipated then, regarding the joint venture between automation and other technological advances, is confirmed by the mere title of this article: this year’s predictions include RPA, AI and Intelligent Automation in parallel.

Let’s see in more concrete terms what we can expect to happen in these related fields in 2020, and how you might tailor your own business decisions accordingly.

RPA, AI and intelligent automation in 2020

To start with a generic, all-encompassing remark, throughout this year, the ‘automation first’ mindset will be even more of a strategic must for companies that are set on becoming more competitive. The list of predictions below substantiate this claim.

1. Organizations will reach a mature stage of RPA deployment

The time has come when software robots can be more efficiently standardised, and this warrants their application across a wider range of use cases, departments, whole companies, and even industry sectors. By combining bots into reusable and repeatable elements, both their applicability and their power are enlarged to a considerable extent.

According to Chet Chambers, vice president and chief evangelist of the Americas at UiPath, the metaphor that best captures this trend is that of snowflakes turning into snowballs. The ‘snowball robots’ are equally predictable across industries and geographical spaces, which makes deployment itself more predictable, and, as a consequence, it facilitates scaling.

2. Mature RPA will continue its advance towards intelligent automation

Because of its increased versatility and disruptive potential to transform business processes, intelligent automation will be the next milestone that our efforts are worth investing into. The joint usage of RPA and complementary technologies like, e.g., artificial intelligence, business process management, optical character recognition, process orchestration, machine learning, natural language processing, enables the automation of increasingly complex processes.

Gartner also notices this strategic trend, and labels it ‘hyperautomation’. The expected benefits of cognitive automation are robots’ increased capacity to master unstructured data, to engage in intricate decision making processes that take into account a wider range of variables, and to learn from experience. As a consequence, the performance of a wide spectrum of business processes will be significantly upgraded.


“The impact of #RPAimplementation is profound, and it takes time to obtain a clear image of its effects at levels beyond finance. Test your RPA solution before going live.”


3. Intelligent automation will continue to move forward towards the front office

When it comes to 2020 predictions about intelligent automation per se, awareness of these technologies’ “functional agnosticism”, i.e., the fact that they can be used for operational efficiency across an entire organization and not merely for the fulfillment of specific functions, will be crucial.

The extension of intelligent automation into the front office in customer-facing situations is a step ahead towards enterprise-wide connectivity. What makes this possible is the fact that the progress in AI allows chatbots to provide more intricate customer assistance, and thus to be better qualified for the job of virtual assistants.

4. The risk management and security functions of software robots will become more prominent

Software robots’ capacity to eliminate human error altogether is one of the best-known benefits of RPA. During 2020, a greater emphasis will be placed on its effects on minimising risks and more efficiently protecting sensitive data. Risk mitigation is called for by an increase in the information flow across different teams, partners, departments, clouds, vendors, and customers.

Human error is simply unacceptable in this new dynamics of business processes, hence more weight will be placed on the security function of automation. This 2020 prediction about RPA amounts to a more integrated perspective of the roles of automation, whereby productivity, efficiency and security are deeply interwoven.

5. Intelligent process automation will generalise across successful business organizations

Among the 2020 predictions about AI, the most relevant for our purposes is that many top-level companies, i.e., those listed in the Fortune 500, will use AI building blocks such as text analytics or machine learning to create novel intelligent process automation use cases.

Based on a recent AIMultiple article, a quarter of the Fortune 500 are predicted to make use of AI tools to enhance the benefits of RPA, in a turn towards intelligent automation. Conversely, the main contribution of RPA will be the scaling of AI.

So this year, we can expect the continuation of the AI – RPA joint venture, framed in terms of a win – win situation. And this is just the beginning of a new trend. By 2024, AI is forecasted to become indispensable to all parts of companies, driving innovative services and increasing business value.

6. Technical expertise will undergo a democratization process

This trend is very much in line with the recent human-centered approach to technological development. Democratization means that people’s access to technical and business expertise will become simpler, and it will not require temporally extended and expensive training.

Gartner illustrates the concept by reference to “citizen access” and no-code automation tools. By granting non-IT specialists access to technological tools, and by empowering them to fully exploit bots’ potential despite lacking high-level training in robotics, automation comes one step closer to the real world.


We hope that the above list of 2020 predictions about robotic process automation and related technologies will minimise the distress caused by the typically human intolerance of uncertainty and of the unknown.

We strongly believe that the evolution of CiGen parallels this generally positive technological forecast. We recently launched an extensive eBook of over 30 pages, which provides step by step guidance for the process of RPA implementation, offering concrete, hands-on examples from over 11 industries. If you haven’t done this yet, you can download the eBook for free here.

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