The Present and Future of RPA Innovation at Softomotive
The Present and Future of RPA Innovation at Softomotive
RPA is a large and growing part of modern business, delivering significant benefits to enterprises worldwide. As the technology evolves and its benefits become clearer, RPA solutions are entering the mainstream. Solutions will only continue to become more powerful and able to deliver greater value as technology improves and labor becomes more expensive. The present and future of RPA is bright and businesses looking to stay competitive should continue to adopt new solutions and mature their implementations.
Since their launch in 2005, Softomotive has strived to help companies of all sizes adopt RPA and deliver solutions that provide greater value to the business. The company recently announced its Series A financing round of $25 million with Grafton Capital. This significant investment will help Softomotive build on its strong and growing position in the rapidly-expanding RPA market. In this interview with Softomotive CEO Marios Stavropoulos, we explore the present and future of RPA innovation at Softomotive.
IRPA: Please give us a brief history of Softomotive and where you think Softomotive’s position in the RPA market is today.
Marios: Softomotive was launched back in 2005. So we’ve been in the automation market for many years. Back then it wasn’t even called RPA. So unlike some other companies, we have vast experience with the automation technology and process automation, both from a business sense and from a technical perspective. At this point, we have more than 7,000 customers globally and we’re one of the leading global RPA vendors. We have a very strong offering for both unattended and attended RPA. And we have technology that is ideal for small teams, mid-size companies and up to large enterprises.
IRPA: Would you consider RPA still to be in its early stages or more mature in terms of adoption?
Marios: Today there’s consensus that RPA delivers business value and everybody agrees on the benefits that are provided by process automation technologies and especially by RPA. I consider RPA to be mainstream now. However, when it comes to adoption, different organizations are at different stages and we see different adoption patterns based on the industries and geography. For example, we see that the banking, financial services and insurance industry is more advanced in terms of adoption, perhaps because they have more mature processes. And the U.S. market seems to be more eager to adopt this kind of technology. On the other hand, we are seeing other regions quickly catching up. For example, the U.K. and E.U. are rapidly increasing their speed of adoption, along with Asia.
IRPA: What’s holding back RPA adoption and what typical challenges are causing companies to either avoid implementation or to slow down their adoption?
Marios: There are several factors that may contribute to slower adoption. I think three of the major ones are perceived technical complexity, the fact that some businesses still don’t know where and how to start, and difficulties in getting approvals for small RPA projects that are necessary for initial adoption.
To address issues with perceived complexity, Softomotive is adopting a more pragmatic approach to RPA adoption. We work very hard to provide a solution that’s easy to use and is suited for every company’s unique needs.
Another issue is understanding where and how to start. There’s no doubt that a strategic approach is needed, but at the same time enterprises need to ensure that this does not make the early stages of adoption more complex than they need to be. Sometimes too much formality is bad for adoption. It can stifle bottom-up innovation and prevent an agile approach that can be very useful when starting out. What we’ve seen is that RPA is a technology that spreads once the initial value has been proven and all stakeholders are on board.
Finally, many times there’s this impression that companies need to be talking about multi-million turnovers or they need to have predetermined ROI in order to get started. It’s important to follow best practices, but every organization is different and there must be room for experimentation. With that said, we strongly believe that companies should utilize an agile approach. There must be room for experimentation so that every organization goes through the adoption stage making sure their own unique needs are met.
IRPA: Do you see any differences between large companies and small companies in terms of how they adopt RPA?
Marios: Large enterprises tend to have more complex legacy systems, but on the other hand they have better processes and access to more resources when it comes to implementing an RPA project. It’s interesting to note that there is a 2018 report that showed RPA was really taking off in medium-sized enterprises and that this segment now represents the largest portion of the global RPA market. This is explained in part by the fact that medium-sized companies are less likely to have siloed operations and more likely to have a better understanding, better visibility and better communication across departments. Of course, medium-sized organization also have less resources, so it’s important for them to select the solution that allows them to start with fewer resources and grow them as the enterprise grows.
IRPA: What are your predictions for the future of RPA?
Marios: Artificial intelligence is already here but will continue to become more important in the future. We have artificial intelligence features built-in into our products and it’s an important part of making the process automation smarter. However, actual implementations often don’t live up to the hype right now. Still, I think that we all agree that AI will continue to mature and will make robots smarter and smarter.
Another development that we foresee is that RPA will soon exit the boundaries of the center of excellence. We believe that it will become a widespread technology in our everyday work life and we think that at some point it will be commonplace for every employee to have their own robot working alongside them so that they can put mundane, routine parts of their work on autopilot. It will be as normal as having a computer. And when this happens it will be game changer and lead to a massive business transformation.
IRPA: What can you tell us about Softomotive’s future plans, product directions, new technologies and new innovations?
Marios: Above all, we strongly believe in the widespread usage of RPA and not restricting it to the center of excellence. We feel that our mission is to democratize RPA and we want to see intelligent robots as a part of everyday life. We are in the process of building this technology by focusing on the effortless interaction between humans and robots, both at the execution and learning level.
We think that the market has so far only scratched the surface of what’s possible, especially the potential of RPA to improve people’s daily working life by enabling them to unlock their full potential. We intend to be at the forefront of this transformation now and in the future. We have also just relocated our home base to London, UK. We are building a global business so it is important for us to be close to the customers, talent and capital markets that will support that.
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