December 29 2021
A man ahead of his time, Albert Einstein, wittily described predictions as hard, “especially about the future”. You would never guess this from the sheer volume of tired predictions surfacing, very predictably, at this time as we enter the new year.
Laiye’s intelligent automation helps manage the data loads which many of our customers use to predict future patterns of their business. But that does not make it easier for us to clearly call out what is going to happen over the next 12 months. More useful are our years of global experience as an intelligence automation leader and our recent multi-year, $50 million commitment to the EMEA region.
So what could 2022 hold for automation intelligence? We sought inspiration from revered industry analyst house, IDC, whose excellent 2021 Perspective explains: “For most of their history, organizations have implemented and managed automation and intelligence technologies in separate silos. However, technology and cost improvements are now driving the convergence of automation and intelligence.”
We wholeheartedly agree with this diagnosis. But that is perhaps unsurprising, as Laiye is the only vendor to blend Artificial Intelligence (AI) with the three disciplines of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) and chatbot technology. But what about the competition?
Legacy RPA panic buy ‘bots
Well, if both IDC and Laiye are correct, they will need to play catch-up, and fast. Given many of the more established ‘legacy RPA players’ have first generation process automation, limited to repetitive admin tasks and then haphazardly integrated together with chatbots from another silo, we expect a flurry of M&A activity in 2022. Most likely this will not end happily.
We know this because we did all the hard work to integrate chatbots into our technology since 2015. Competitors such as UIPath and Blue Prism are only now beginning to see how many processes which require automation touch upon chatbot use cases like customer service and online sales.
These laggards are now shopping around for ‘bolt on’ chatbots which they hope will round out their offerings However, this will likely end up with ‘Frankenstein apps’ which tick boxes for box-ticking buyers, but ultimately disappoint their customers. Sadly, because of how long many implementations take, this may only occur to buyers of these ‘Frankenapps’ towards the end of the year.
Enterprise customer churn
Another trend we think we will see is the high-profile abandonment of legacy players by large multinationals. This reflects some of the sales behavior we are learning about from our discussions with customers and prospects. It seems there were a lot of promises flying in the early days of RPA around speed of implementation.
In many cases, these promises were hollow. Combining this with, let’s call it, ‘enthusiastic selling practices’, which promised better deals for longer commitments to essentially subscription software, has misaligned incentives. The result has been a perception among certain customers of ‘tie in’ to years of contracts and slow delivery on business outcomes.
So large customers of traditional RPA players are now ready to move, but until now, could not. As they exit these agreements, they are conscious that replatforming could be expensive, based on their experiences to date. In 2022 our goal is to show them that just because their first implementations were costly, upgrading to newer technologies need not be. Indeed, their experiences first time round provide great learnings for some savvy long-term savings.
The robots are creating new jobs
Back in 2015, Forrester predicted that by 2019 a quarter of all job roles would be touched by chatbots and other automation tech. In 2022, we are not sure this prediction has even come true today. That said, there is no question that intelligent automation is automating away many low-level positions in administrative, marketing and pre-sales roles.
It is worth remembering that the men who walked in front of cars with red flags found gainful employment elsewhere, as have telegram, telephone and fax operators. Nevertheless, Laiye understands just how much change its advanced technology can cause and is anything but complacent about how much disruption implementing chatbot and other automation tech can cause.
For that reason, we are looking into some innovative ways to help our customers to retrain and redeploy workforces whose working lives are impacted by intelligent automation. The clue is in the term. Intelligently allocating workers to new tasks such as data analysis, process mining and workflow design benefits both our customers directly and, over the long-term, our relationships with them.
Watch this space. While predictions are hard we are confident 2022 will be a huge year for everyone in the intelligent automation space.
If you’d like to learn more about how Laiye is helping businesses leverage the power of hyper intelligent automation, please get in touch here.