Automation Innovation Conference

Whether experts on or students of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software, the 200 or so attendees of the IRPA Automation Innovation Conference impressed us with their focus and enthusiasm. The number of participating vendors doubled this year with the majority of companies in attendance being Fortune 200 – 500 companies. As we went through the activities and sessions, here’s what we learned.

  1. Artificial Intelligence vs. RPA

While the majority of last year’s conference focused on machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI), this year’s conference focused on the nuts and bolts of Robotic Process Automation software. Many organizations understand that to receive the full benefit of AI, software tools like RPA must be in place first. Since definitions of machine learning vary and AI has yet to be defined, this year’s conversation shifted to: How can we implement RPA software? What are the best practices? and How do we make ourselves successful? Understanding that RPA must be the right fit for your organization’s data automation needs can be the key to having a successful machine learning or AI experience.

  1. RPA Software Wasn’t Built in a Day

While the overall mood of the conference was to take RPA software seriously, one of the main messages conveyed throughout the conference was that RPA software is not easy to develop. In fact, it takes time and cannot be rushed by throwing more people and dollars at it. When you select an RPA software solution, make sure it has passed the test of time and has a substantial user base. Many vendors and companies understood this fact and were equipped with case studies to show how the software tool has helped their clients.

  1. Take it One Step at a Time

Another common theme throughout the conference was don’t try to “boil the ocean.” Many organizations often try to implement Robotic Process Automation software within every process at once. However, the key to a successful implementation is to take a step-by-step approach to allow for acceptance as you go. This will create momentum and build a culture of efficiency at the same time. As one presenter said, “the human should not be eliminated from the process;” the IT team is your best friend during implementation and the C-Suite has to be involved.

  1. RPA Software Trends for 2017

Lastly, we learned about new RPA software trends coming for the new year. As the Robotic Process Automation software market continues to heat up, outsourcing projects will begin to diminish. Soon the software tool will no longer be a “pie-in-the-sky product,” but rather a necessity for organizations to increase their bandwidth. Additionally, we’ll begin to see more vendors consolidating as the market continues to grow.  RPA software is certainly here to stay, and this theme will be reflected in its success over the next few years.

The IRPA Automation Innovation Conference was filled with companies researching ways to increase their productivity and build efficient processes in a step-by-step manner. As always, we gained valuable knowledge from the conference and enjoyed networking with our peers.