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Cloud-native RPA launches to drive pandemic recovery

More than a year and a half after the pandemic started, three capable trends are pushing cloud-native Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to the forefront of automation industry trends.  

To start with, the acceleration of RPA adoption persists. Research and markets discovered that the RPA market was valued at more than 2$ billion in 2020 and will have a very formidable compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31.5% between the years 2021 to 2026. The expansion of RPA has been trending upward for quite a while now and was just rushed by the pandemic, as smart automation eradicates monotonous, manual labour, enhancing the productivity and cumulative experience of staff members stressed with adapting to a new way of working. 

Secondly, the total shift to the cloud has also quickened up during this time. Enterprises continue to embrace multi-cloud and hybrid cloud techniques and are enhancing the investments they make in the cloud across the board, going by the Flexera 2021 State of the Cloud Report, which detected a higher -than-expected adoption of cloud owing to the pandemic. Cloud-based businesses support distributed labour forces and avoid heavy capital investments – two basic factors for ongoing success in the previous year when several enterprises were facing cash-flow challenges. 

Lastly, compelled by the requirement for flexibility and agility that the pandemic engendered, application modernization is now a fundamental sphere of concentration in organization’s digital transformation journey. A latest survey discovered that 75.2% of businesses already host a majority of their applications in the cloud. And more than six in ten (60.9%) of businesses are modernizing their legacy applications in addition to developing new ones to be cloud-native: 60.9% are already leveraging microservices in production, and 59.2% run a majority of their new applications in containers such as Kubernetes. Application modernization provides businesses the agility to adapt whatever occurs next. 

As recovery moves forward, a convergence 

With this trio of megatrends meeting together, it is natural that Robotic Process Automation (RPA), as it persists to make inroads into the business world, will naturally migrate to the cloud – and not just as a “cloud-washed” or “cloud-friendly” application, as a true, sophisticated, cloud-native one. 

Maureen Fleming, IDC’s program vice president, Worldwide Intelligent Process Automation Market Research and Advisory Service, stated about this convergence. “Whether businesses take up RPA as a cloud service or buy software and deploy on public cloud infrastructure, trends in 2020 favoured cloud adoption, and this trend is expected to persist over the next several years.” 

An innovation deluge with payoffs yet to pay off 

Even though 2020 was evidently difficult for several businesses, it happens that the investments that were made in technologies like cloud, app modernization, and RPA have established a robust foundation on which to develop tremendous economic momentum in the upcoming years. 

Going by McKinsey, regardless of the uncertainty and stress, enterprises that were “bold and innovative” in reaction to the pandemic are very well positioned presently – with the possibility of doubling productivity through to 2024. Specifically, stated McKinsey, automation seems to have quickened up these productivity gains. 

More than 50% of enterprises that took part in a survey in December 2020 stated they had amped up investment in new technologies, digitizing several business processes 20 to 25 times quicker than they had prior thought doable, one McKinsey survey discovered. 

Why modernization of applications became a priority 

“Modernize apps!” turned into a battle cry for several businesses as they discovered their legacy systems exhibited too much rigidity to adapt to the swiftly changing market and economic dynamics that happened with COVID-19. Outcomes from IDC’s Industry CloudPath Survey in excess of 5,000 organizations indicate that nearly 50% have already undertaken deployment or intend to deploy enterprise business applications within the cloud. Going by another IDC publication, “Businesses must be ready to run high-value processes in the cloud in order to attain levels of agility and scalability required to successfully compete in digital economies.” 

Another survey discovered that in excess of three fourths (77%) of enterprises are presently modernizing both internal and client-facing applications. 

But here is where we are required to clarify terminology. What is exactly “cloud-native”? It implies that an entire application, top to bottom of the stack, takes full benefit of the cloud. RPA vendors have conventionally developed their applications for on-premises deployments. But observing the demand for cloud, most have just taken this on-premises deployments. But observing the demand for cloud, most have just taken this on-premise software and hosted it in the cloud. Deployment of this variant of “cloud-washed” RPA application implies you retain all the hassle and cost of building and upkeeping conventional software and infrastructure. 

A silver lining to the pandemic cloud? 

There may well be a silver lining to the disaster that was 2020. And that is, several enterprises took on the challenge and performed what they required to do to survive: invest in digital technology. Agility and flexibility and a solid mindset are now basic ingredients for business success. Specifically, accelerating automation, shifting to the cloud, and modernization of apps proved to be a successful strategy as we go into the second half of 2021. With this trifecta, we obtain cloud-native RPA, and its capability to eradicate manual procedures, enhance productivity, scale as required, and minimize the requirement for maintaining infrastructure. 

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