The rapid pace of the global economy is expected to drive the demand for more effective workflows and processes across various industries. This is why it is important that organizations adopt the necessary tools and workflows to improve their efficiency.
As the business sector looks to improve its operational efficiency, the demand for workflow automation is expected to rise in the coming years. The global workflow automation market is estimated to be valued at USD 4.26 billion in 2016. It is expected to reach a value of $18.45 billion by 2023, growing at a rate of 23.56%.
The rise of workflow automation is attributed to the increasing number of repetitive and mundane tasks. It can help employees focus on the most important things in life. The COVID-19 pandemic also pushed more companies toward adopting workflow automation.
Let’s look closer at workflow automation trends, examples of it, and the difference between workflow automation and RPA.
What is workflow automation?
Workflow automation is the process of designing, implementing, and executing workflows that involve the use of pre-defined business rules to automate the flow of data and tasks between various systems and people.
It can help various departments, such as finance, marketing, and IT, eliminate the burden of manual processes.
Workflow automation aims to transform the performance of the various tasks and activities carried out manually. The first step in the process is identifying the steps required to complete the job. The next step involves creating the rules and logic that will guide the program in executing the tasks. These rules and logic are typically written in If-then statements, which help the program determine how to perform the task.
The rapid emergence of new artificial intelligence and robotic process automation technologies has created a huge opportunity for companies to gain a competitive advantage. Through the convergence of these capabilities, customers can expect to gain a competitive advantage by improving their processes and increasing their business value.
What is the difference between workflow and automation?
A workflow is generally defined as a collection of procedures that collectively serve to accomplish a specific business objective. It can also be defined as a set of procedures designed to accomplish a specific task or operation.
A workflow process is composed of various automatic and manual tasks that are connected by paths to allow work to flow according to the rules of the process.
It can be simple or complex, depending on the task. For instance, it can be used to manage travel requests and connect multiple departments. In order to complete a task, employees have to manually sort through files, deliver documents, and notify other people about the work. This process is not stellar because it involves a lot of manual work.
The various manual procedures used in a workflow process can be standardized and set to specific business rules. This is where workflow transfigures into workflow automation.
Is workflow automation and RPA the same?
While workflow automation can be used to automate specific tasks, robotic process automation can also be used to complete entire workflows.
A robotic process automation system can automate a whole process from beginning to end through the rules set by the business. Although both software automation systems have their own unique applications, RPA is more versatile than its predecessor.
Although both workflow automation and RPA can be used to automate specific tasks, they have certain limitations. One of these is the need for continuous maintenance to make sure that the system is running smoothly.
Robotic process automation has many capabilities but can't automate every business process that the company has. This is because the company sets rules that need to be created ahead of time.
The cost of implementing and maintaining a robotic process automation system can be significant. Aside from security, maintenance also needs to be carried out to ensure the system runs smoothly.
One of the most common use scenarios for workflow automation is when it needs to automate certain tasks in a process. However, this can't be done if the rules set by the company are not resolved correctly. Conversely, RPA can't handle minor changes in the data and user interface caused by human input.
Now we have broken the basics, it is time to look globally.
Workflow automation market overview
Despite the challenging economic conditions that affected many businesses in the past year with the COVID pandemic, the adoption of automation has remained strong According to a survey conducted by Gartner after the COVID pandemic, over 80% of organizations plan to increase their automation spending. This shows that the increasing number of companies focused on the role of automation in the workforce is expected to significantly impact how they operate. One of the most important factors that will affect how organizations operate in the years is establishing a framework that will allow them to connect the digital and traditional workforces.
The rapid emergence and evolution of the pandemic have created a huge opportunity for the robotic process automation industry as it has created a shift in the way companies perform repetitive tasks. Grand View Research explored that RPA market, valued at $1.4 billion in 2019, is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 40% between 2020 and 2027.
Automation accelerates across the enterprise as companies adopt new hybrid workforce models and technologies.
The various procedures that are part of business automation have replaced the human jobs that were previously assigned to them. They can help businesses save time and money and improve their operational efficiency. It can also help them keep their workers on track and increase their productivity.
The increasing number of organizations and the technological advancements that are helping them manage their massive amounts of data are some of the factors that are driving the growth of the business process management market.
The business workflow automation market is categorized based on the type of solution that it uses. The software segment mainly uses artificial intelligence to automate various tasks and processes, while the services segment is mainly used for analyzing and managing data. Among the various types of files used in workflow automation, optical character recognition, optical mark recognition is expected to be the fastest-growing segment during the next few years.
The increasing number of companies focused on the use of the cloud has created a huge opportunity for them to improve their processes by implementing automation techniques designed to yield productivity and efficiency. According to a report released by Flexera 2021 State Cloud Report, almost all businesses use either a public or private cloud – 97% is for the public, 80% is for private, and 78% is for a hybrid. The cloud-based solutions are expected to grow at a faster rate than traditional ones. Since these solutions allow businesses to keep their operations flexible and provide them with real-time access to their data.
The market is categorized based on its operation outlook. The three types of solutions commonly used in the market are Robotic Process Automation, Rule-based, and Knowledge-based. The Rule-based operations market is expected to grow rapidly during the next few years. In terms of coaching, information-based methods are expected to be more popular. This strategy combines theories, practices, and traditions from various fields into a single coaching method.
North America is expected to hold the largest global workflow automation market share during the next few years. For example, one of the leading hospitals in the country, the Northside Hospital, developed a mobile workflow app that enables employees to perform various tasks and processes efficiently. The app was built on the TrackVia platform, which eliminates the need for manual documentation. It also allows employees to add photos to jobs, collect timestamps, and monitor the activity of their tasks.
The growing number of countries such as Canada and the US that are using workflow automation to automate various business operations is expected to drive the market's growth. Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest-growing region during the next few years.
Prominent players in the Global Workflow Automation market are:
- IBM Corporation
- Oracle Corporation
- Pegasystems Inc.
- Xerox Corporation
- Ipsoft, Inc.
- Newgen Software Technologies Limited
- Nintex Global Limited
- Opentext Corp.
The increasing number of data breaches and illegal access to corporate operations are some of the factors that are hindering the growth of the workflow automation market. However, a lack of knowledge about the technology and the integration of multiple systems is also hindering the market's development.
Key workflow automation market trends
Increasing adoption of IoT across industries
The rapid emergence and evolution of new business models and the falling cost of devices are some of the factors that have contributed to the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT). There is also a growing number of connected devices, such as cars, meters, and wearable electronics.
The increasing number of connected devices is starting to provide buildings with a new level of intelligence by analyzing their system-level data. Energy services companies and other organizations are using this technology to provide better diagnostics and fault detection. AI algorithms can now be used to solve complex problems that are typically encountered in large buildings.
Industry 4.0 policies have created a new generation of process management tools designed to automate various processes in the manufacturing industry. These tools are being used to replace traditional paper-based workflows. Almost anything in the global economy, including machinery and sensors, is now connected to the networks thanks to the rise of BYOD policies and mobility.
Asia-Pacific expected to register the fastest growth during the forecast period
These regions are predicted to grow rapidly during the next few years. India, China, and Japan are some countries expected to be prominent players in the workflow automation software market.
Due to the increasing competition in China's market, various industries have started implementing digital transformation programs to improve their efficiency. In 2021, China Unicom partnered with Huawei to develop and deploy an AI-based network management platform designed to improve its operations' efficiency. The company's AI-based platform was able to automate various tasks and improve the customer experience while reducing the cost of its network. The platform was built on Huawei's AUTIN system, which was used to roll out 5G networks.
One of the most critical components of the future of work is automation, and Japan is leading the way in the development of AI. According to a Nomura Research Institute (NRI), the country's AI sector is expected to grow at a high rate during the next few years. By 2035, around half of all jobs in Japan will be filled by AI robots.
One of the most popular NRI AI solutions that companies can use is Shingan, which automatically identifies and retrieves details from a document. For instance, it can perform various tasks such as searching for contract parties and providing a list of all the details that are included in the contract.
For instance, contracts for financial products can be over a hundred pages long. Before implementing Shingan, it would have taken a lot of time to read and check the contract's content. With the help of AI, it can now automatically extract the necessary conditions for a decision to accept or reject a contract. This can help boost the efficiency of the entire operations of a company.
Automation's rapid emergence and evolution have been a major factor in India's economic development. According to The National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence (NSAI), AI is expected to contribute to the country's annual growth rate by 1.3% by 2035.
List of trend workflow automation tools
Organizations in various industries can use workflow automation. For instance, it can also be used in developing and implementing workflows within the IT department.
There are the following top workflow automation tools in different industries and departments:
In the healthcare industry, workflow automation can be used to generate on-call rotations and work schedules for medical providers. It can also help them transfer patients' health records. With the help of this technology, healthcare workers can focus on more important tasks, such as direct patient care.
Whether in the legal department or an enterprise, workflow automation can be used to automate various tasks and processes. Due to the volume of manual work that in-house legal teams typically perform, legal workflow automation can help them take care of low-complex tasks without requiring them to hire an expert. This can include tasks such as legal intake and triage and automatically generating employment agreements and NDAs.
The information technology department uses automation to support the development and implementation of programs by groups and teams, such as the DevOps team. It can automate the various steps involved in the development of software, including the testing of new applications and the monitoring of data.
In the financial industry, organizations use workflow automation to automate the various steps involved in the approval and data entry processes. They can also automate tasks such as salary adjustments and paid time off requests.
Marketing automation can be used to automate various tasks and processes, such as the creation and implementation of campaigns. It can help them ensure that the tasks related to these activities happen automatically.
In the sales department, it can be used to automate the approval of proposals, the introduction of salespeople, and the generation of task lists for meetings with potential customers.
Human resources can also be automated through the use of automation. It can help them manage various tasks and processes, such as onboarding and hiring new employees.
To wrap up
The rapid growth of the global workflow automation market has prompted many companies to consider the need for improved workflows and capabilities. Thus industrial frameworks easily adopt the various processes that can help businesses accelerate their growth.
The emergence and evolution of new technologies are expected to drive the demand for workflow automation software in the next few years. This is because the increasing number of businesses looking to improve their operational dynamics is expected to drive the market's growth. New technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotic process automation are also expected to drive the market's growth.
The Asia-Pacific market for workflow automation is expected to grow at a high rate during the next few years. The increasing number of financial services organizations in China and India is expected to drive the demand for workflow automation software.