The worldwide robotic process automation (RPA) software market is growing at a frenzied pace, up 63 per cent in 2018 and forecast to reach US$1.3 billion in 2019, according to Gartner data.
In Australia, the market is still small but growing fast, with total revenue of A$52.3 million in 2018, up from $27.4 million in 2017.
Some RPA software vendors experienced triple-digit revenue growth rates in 2018, Gartner said.
“The RPA market has grown since our last forecast, driven by digital business demands as organisations look for ‘straight-through’ processing,” said Gartner research vice-president Fabrizio Biscotti.
“Competition is intense, with nine of the top 10 vendors changing market share position in 2018.”
Specifically, Gartner client enquiries on this topic have grown by 59 per cent over the last year from an already high base (over 4,500 inquiries) and the term RPA has been a top five Gartner search term for the last two years.
Companies wanting to adopt RPA face a crowded list of vendors.
The top-five RPA vendors controlled 47 per cent of the market in 2018. The vendors ranked sixth and seventh achieved triple-digit revenue growth.
The top five included UiPath, Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, NICE, and Pegasystems.
“This makes the top-five ranking appear largely unsettled,” Biscotti said.
Around the globe, Gartner said North America continued to dominate the RPA software market, with a 51 per cent share in 2018, but its share dropped by 2 percentage points year over year.
Western Europe held the No. 2 position, with a 23 per cent share. Japan came third, with adoption growth of 124 per cent in 2018.
“This shows that RPA software is appealing to organisations across the world, due to its quicker deployment cycle times, compared with other options such as business process management platforms and business process outsourcing,” Biscotti said.
Additionally, digital transformation efforts are driving RPA adoption, Gartner said.
Although RPA software can be found in all industries, the biggest adopters are banks, insurance companies, telcos and utility companies.
Gartner said these organisations traditionally have many legacy systems and choose RPA solutions to ensure integration functionality.
“The ability to integrate legacy systems is the key driver for RPA projects. By using this technology, organizations can quickly accelerate their digital transformation initiatives, while unlocking the value associated with past technology investments,” Biscotti said.
Gartner expects the RPA software market to look very different three years from now.
Large software companies, such as IBM, Microsoft and SAP, are partnering with or acquiring RPA software providers, which means they’re increasing the awareness and traction of RPA software in their sizable customer bases.
At the same time, new vendors are seizing the opportunity to adapt traditional RPA capabilities for digital business demands, such as event stream processing and real-time analytics, Gartner said.
“This is an exciting time for RPA vendors,” said Biscotti. “However, the current top players will face increasing competition, as new entrants will continue to enter a market whose fast evolution is blurring the lines distinguishing RPA from other automation technologies, such as optical character recognition and artificial intelligence.”