COVID-19 will further drive robotic process automation uptake amongst enterprises in APAC, says GlobalData

Amidst the growing concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, enterprises are compelled to operate with limited staff, provide undisrupted services to their clients and maintain current business operations as in a normal scenario. Against this backdrop, the adoption of robotic process automation (RPA) amongst enterprises in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is estimated to grow further, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Manish Chaurasiya, Senior Technology Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “To enhance operational efficiency, enterprises are leveraging RPA to automate their processes such as payroll processing, customer support, new employee onboarding, order processing, SMS and email monitoring, and CRM updates.”

RPA vendors are now actively leveraging AI technology to make RPA intelligent. As a result, RPA vendors are marketing and promoting RPA as an Intelligent Process Automation (IPA).   

RPA providers are also capitalizing on the current COVID-19 outbreak scenario to focus on expanding their customer base and building customer loyalty. Some of the methods being adopted include discounted pricing, no cost RPA license, and seamless deployment of bots. For instance, Datamatics in India has offered its RPA product ‘TruBot’ for free until September 2020 for enterprises across the sectors under the COVID-19 Enterprise Support Program.

Chaurasiya continues: “A large number of start-ups and niche-offerings providers are incorporating AI, natural language processing (NLP), conversational AI and machine vision to differentiate their RPA offerings, thereby compete against global vendors such as UiPath, Automation Anywhere and Blue Prism. A significant number of these new entrants are backed by strategic investors, including leading capital investment firms and existing companies.”

With Beijing (China) and Bangalore (India) being home to leading technology innovation hubs, a large number of vendors are making their presence felt in the region. For instance, in August 2019, Automation Anywhere announced an investment of US$100m in India to set up R&D centers over the next three to five years. Meanwhile, Beijing-based RPA start-up Laiye raised US$42m from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Lightspeed China Partners. Similarly, China-based Encootech raised US$30m from Sequoia Capital China, GSR Ventures, and Future Capital in March 2020.

In recent times, start-ups have also begun offering RPA solutions for niche areas like smart scanning, image recognition, intelligent document processing and pattern recognition. For instance, Singapore-based Glee Trees leverages AI technologies such as natural language processing and contextual analysis to read structured and unstructured data from multiple Asian languages.

Chaurasiya concludes: “Footprint expansion in the region, partnerships with enterprises across the sector and no cost RPA licenses are set to offer a unique opportunity to RPA vendors to make their presence felt in the era of automation and AI in the APAC region.”

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