Automation trends for 2020

2019 saw automation continue its march into offices and workflows across the world. Indeed, automation is breaking out into mainstream maturity, with few workplaces untouched.

But what does the year ahead have in store for this rising tech tool? Here, we speculate on the likely automation trends for 2020.

Emphasis on automation ethics

Automation software (and its AI cousin) will continue to integrate into workplaces throughout 2020. These technologies will gain bigger roles in decisions and actions with heavy implications.

As the technology continues to impact lives in 2020, it will inspire a push for greater discussion around its ethics. Namely, a drive to understand the acceptable use of automation.

So, this makes ethical discussions around its professional and social impact one of the foremost automation trends for 2020. And this thoughtful upsurge will likely have a few outcomes.

First, we can expect to see more legislation keyed specifically towards newer autonomous tools. Second, this legislation and awareness will lead to wider acceptance of automation technology.

Increased demand for traditional BPA

More and more areas of our work are digitised. And more and more younger workers are entering the workforce. So, another of the top automation trends for 2020 will be heightened appetite for efficient, technology-led ways of handling workloads.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean RPA. (Despite all its surrounding hype.) For small businesses, paying many thousands of pounds for basic levels of automation simply isn’t feasible.

Rather, we expect to see more SMEs starting their automation journeys with traditional business process automation tools. For the most typical workflows – data pushing, email parsing, app syncing – classic BPA is a more cost-effective choice.

Expect its resurgence in 2020.

The entry of IPA

Intelligent process automation (or IPA) is the latest buzzword in the automation space. While we don’t think it will enter the mainstream anytime soon, it will be a hotly discussed topic in the year to come.

IPA is the latest wave in automation technology. It sees automation technologies converge to produce dramatically improved capabilities. This convergence spans tech such as RPA, smart workflow, machine learning, natural language generation and cognitive agents. And, together, they allow businesses to automate on a greater scale, with greater intelligence.

But, as per the previous point, the vast majority of businesses aren’t ready for this level of transformation yet. So, IPA will be one of the leading automation trends for 2020 in terms of debate if not deployment.

Hitting a wall

This idea of not being ready for the most advanced levels of automation is key. For example, the compute power required for advanced AI is doubling every 3 and a half months. There are clear limitations to how far and how intelligently we can automate at present. And as yet, we’re nowhere near artificial human intelligence.

In 2020, businesses will likely reach greater understanding of these limitations. As AI hits a wall, and as conversations on automation increase, 2020 will see a better understanding of automation possibilities.

This ties back to the continued adoption of traditional BPA and the theoretical-only hype around IPA. Though appetite is keen, one of the key automation trends for 2020 is a less naive notion of its application.

Job shifts and disruption?

Easily the longest running of the automation trends over the years is the recurring assertion that this will be the year robots take over all jobs.

Spoiler: this won’t be the year that robots take over all jobs.

We predict that the fears and analysis in 2020, much like in 2019, will continue this trend. That is, suggesting that the robot revolution is only ever mere moments away. We also predict that instead, automation technology and AI integrations will do as it has in the past. It will create new jobs that we just haven’t invented yet. And, in return, some jobs will either disappear or fundamentally change.

In other words, in 2020, automation will continue to disrupt the job market. But it’s still not set to obliterate every job out there — it’s set to make more. So, expect to see more assertions that robots are taking over. But also expect to experience more thought and creativity in the tasks you complete each day.

Automation trends 2020

As ever, the future is a mystery. What’s certain, though, is that automation technology will continue to grow throughout the coming year.

Are there any likely automation trends for 2020 you think we missed? Tweet us and let us know!

Useful links

How does RPA work? Same stuff, different way

Ten things you could buy for the price of BPA software

Why we should embrace automation disruption