Robotic process automation (RPA) is already underway in India and is very subtly but quickly changing the way businesses function. A new study reveals that 84% of the Indian organisations will scale up their RPA initiatives or achieve an enterprise-wide RPA deployment by 2025.
The study done by research firm, International Data Corporation (IDC) and automation software company UiPath, also revealed that 88% of the organisations in India agree that automation will be a critical requirement for business excellence, customer experience, and competitive success within the next three years.
“We have seen significant growth in India’s RPA adoption, as 82% of Indian organisations have increased spending on automation between 2020 and 2021, with 32% of these organisations increasing spending by 20%,” said Scott Hunter, vice president, strategic engagements and transformation lead, Asia Pacific, and Japan at UiPath told TechCircle.
For example, some of the challenges faced in the adoption of RPA in India include difficulties in finding automation skills and talent (74%), selecting an implementation partner (68%), and in developing a business case (60%). In fact, 90% of Indian organisations today do not have an enterprise-wide RPA program in place despite recognising the importance and benefits, said the study.
The problem, however, is not just unique to India, believes Hunter, as the study done in over 350 organisations with 1,000 or more employee across Australia, China, Indonesia, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand, cited similar challenges, albeit in varying degree, across regions when it comes to RPA adoption.
“These are internal challenges that can be resolved through citizen-led development and training, which will become critical for automation adoption at scale in India,” said Hunter. Citizen developers are non-IT domain employees who build automation for their work and departments.
“APJ business leaders are increasingly acknowledging the pivotal role of automation in resolving their pain points and accelerating growth across the region, against the backdrop of an intensifying competitive climate and turbulent macroeconomic environment. While improving operational efficiencies and enriching customer experience have been top of mind for leveraging automation, many organisations also believe that automation is a pathway towards meeting ESG and sustainability goals, which will be a game-changer for corporate trustworthiness,” said Michael Araneta, Associate Vice President, IDC Financial Insights.
“However, despite securing these unprecedented benefits, most organisations have been slow in taking the leap into implementing an enterprise-wide automation program due to myriad yet addressable challenges, including finding automation skills and talent, identifying the right automation software, and ensuring robust security and governance.”
“Training employees on automation skills, as well as soft skills like leadership, critical thinking, and adaptability is key to a successful RPA deployment," said Hunter.
He added that in a future where robots and virtual assistants are able to take over mundane, repetitive tasks, the traits that make us human will be our workforce’s competitive advantage. That said, organisations will need to develop a comprehensive training and development plan focusing on reskilling and upskilling across teams and units, which only 46% of Indian organizations are currently doing, said Hunter.
The global robotic process automation (RPA) software revenue is projected to reach $2.9 billion in 2022, an increase of 19.5% from 2021, according to an August 2022 forecast from analyst firm Gartner Inc.
RPA, recognised as one of the most widely adopted automation capabilities, simulates repetitive human tasks such as logging into applications, entering tons of data, and sending emails, remains the fastest-growing market in the software industry, said the research firm. While there have been discussions and debates on robots taking away the jobs of humans, during the global pandemic, RPA technologies helped enterprises in survive through this phase, reducing costs and increasing efficiency.
“Organisations will look to increase their spending on RPA software solutions because they still have a lot of repetitive, manual work that through automation could free up employees’ time to focus on more strategic work,” said Varsha Mehta, senior market research specialist at Gartner.
Gartner said, in India too, the market for RPA is scaling at an unprecedented level in traditional industries, government systems and service sectors. Last year, Kenneth market research report also noted, India’s RPA market is expected to grow at a CAGR of above 20% during the forecast period 2019-2025.