The enterprise automation landscape is changing, as issues such as the fragility of RPA and the proliferation of SaaS applications drive companies to look for new, more user-friendly forms of integration and automation.

RPA is one of the most talked about new technologies, but many businesses aren’t sure how to implement it. According to Forbes, without the proper strategy and education, “30 to 50 percent of initial RPA projects fail,” while Deloitte reports that in a survey of 400 global organizations, “63% did not meet delivery deadlines for RPA projects.”

Automation itself has had a historic trajectory, from the origins of the Jacquard loom in the Industrial Revolution, and its accompanying challenges have evolved, as well. Today, companies are striving to achieve digital transformation and business process automation, yet they often end up struggling, not only with implementing RPA, but with integrating the SaaS apps and solutions that they introduce to their tech stack, and sometimes marrying them to legacy on-prem systems they want to keep. 

The range of software solutions on the market is higher than ever before – some estimates say there are 11,000+ globally – but will integration tools like RPA be able to keep up with the ever-evolving biz tech landscape?

Jason Bloomberg, a renowned thought leader on disruptive IT trends, elaborates on the topic in his new white paper, From Fragility to Agility With Business-Driven Automation. In it, he discusses the current state of automation, and whether RPA can support business needs in the long run. 

Below, are some of this thoughts.

Integration: An Expensive and Complicated Challenge for Organizations

“…Integration consists of a multifaceted set of challenges, as the diversity among endpoints, protocols, and technologies continues to advance. Furthermore, each combination of these elements requires a distinct set of best practices, integration patterns, and even tribal knowledge in order to achieve the performance and security requirements for each integration.”

Jason Bloomberg

User interfaces have matured, but traditional enterprise integration tools require technical expertise to implement and maintain. 

What about tools for the ‘citizen integrator’?

Empowering potential integrators within your organization with a low- or no-code integration tool is great, but realistically, integration doesn’t have a lot of context for business users. Business users are concerned with business processes – including things like how to close the books faster, having timely business insights to help with customer relationships or forecasting, or being able to provision resources for new employees faster. 

Bloomberg makes the case that organizational hierarchies are being flattened, as business users have increasing agency to own and design the processes that they perform. He contrasts this with the Industrial Revolution where business processes were designed by management and executed by workers. 

Low-code and no-code automation tools for business processes empower “citizen automators” in a different way than an integration tool would empower a “citizen integrator,” because business users are more invested in and have more context around business processes than they do around enterprise application integration. 

Is RPA the right choice for business process automation?

“Many RPA implementations – even those that access APIs – actually fail. Several years into the industry, there are few examples of strong success, among the thousand plus enterprise robot deployments.”

Jason Bloomberg

Bloomberg describes the qualities of RPA that make it difficult to successfully deploy and maintain. For one, RPA typically interacts with user interfaces. When the interface changes, RPA is prone to break. Bloomberg refers to this dependence the “fragility” of RPA, and contrasts it with the agility of low-code or no-code business process automation.

Bloomberg is a contributor to SiliconANGLE and TechBeacon, and the founder of Intellyx, a digital transformation advisory firm. For a more in-depth look at Bloomberg’s assessment of RPA and its contrast with business-driven automation, check out his new white paper, From Fragility to Agility With Business-Driven Automation >

Katharine Marais
About Katharine Marais

Katharine is interested in technology and innovation for a better world, writing about best practices for automation for both IT and business.