RPA software sales forecast to jump this year

North America will account for the largest revenue share at 48.5 per cent, followed by Western Europe and Japan at 19 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

Driven by the ongoing need for companies to automate repetitive tasks, global RPA (robotic process automation) software revenue is expected to reach US$2.9 billion in 2022, up by 19.5 per cent from last year, according to a market research report by Gartner.

North America will account for the largest revenue share at 48.5 per cent, followed by Western Europe and Japan at 19 per cent and 10 per cent respectively, Gartner said.

“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, a senior market research specialist at Gartner.

The demand is also breeding competition among RPA software vendors who, according to Mehta, are pushing beyond a traditional single technology-focused offering to a more advanced suite of tools that encompasses technology including low-code application development platforms, process and task mining, decision modelling, iPaaS (integration platform as a service), computer vision, and identity management capabilities on top of their existing RPA offering.

RPA embraces tech that will lead to hyper-automation

This phenomenon will enable vendors to offer hyper-automation-enabling technology in the future, Mehta said. Hyper-automation, as defined by Gartner, involves the use of multiple technologies that companies can use use to rapidly identify, vet and automate as many business and IT processes as possible.

However, even though RPA revenue will continue to increase, growth will slow down, Gartner says. RPA software revenue grew at 31 per cent year-over-year during 2021, higher than the projected growth of 19.5 per cent this year, and next year the market research firm expects that growth will further slow, to 17.5 per cent, reaching $3.5 billion.

This is because other technology improvements — such as modernisation of integration strategy, distributed cloud storage, and spending on cloud-native applications — to achieve business architecture composability is taking precedence over automation or process efficiency demands, the company said. 

Composable architecture treats IT resources as services that can be made available on an as-needed basis, depending on the needs of different applications and users.

“Slow implementation across one or multiple business functions slows down the ROI cycle — one of the causes of slow spending on RPA,” Mehta added. He said that one reason for slow deployment is that RPA projects are usually focused on a particular process or initiative, which then pose scalability issues for tailoring RPA bots to varying organisational or business function needs.