Close
Robot

There are 4 Competing Camps of Automation: Which One Will Win?

Celonis
by Celonis
February 02, 2021
5 min read

Automation will continue to be one of the hottest topics in business in 2021. And, just like many powerful tech trends (Big Data, Transformation, etc), the word automation means everything and nothing at the same time. In order to predict where the automation world will land, you have to step back and have a closer look at the four primary camps that vary between emerging trend and well-established industry. The first is the โ€œhyper-automate everythingโ€ gang thatโ€™s been around the block for a while. In fact, Gartner has declared hyperautomation as the number 1 technology trend of 2020. The motto: If it moves, automate it. You can find a lot of the RPA vendors dropping bots on everything that moves. And itโ€™s understandable, as the impact of COVID-19 has driven reduced workforces to look for any help they can get. The short term automation-fix might feel good but the automation-tax is going to be high once those bots start limping and eventually breaking down. Thereโ€™s another camp that we all need to respect, which are the heavy lifting, hard hat wearing construction crews of automation . . . iPaaS. The Mulesofts of the world are asked to push multi-system workflows and heavy processes between big data oceans, application systems, and giant analytics platforms. These guys are not going away, and you can always find them building system bridges and tunneling through infrastructure. Itโ€™s hard work and requires a long game view for value expectations. The next camp are the hipsters of automation: Zapier, Integromat, Workato, etc. They, like all millennials, live in the reality of โ€œI need it now, it has to work like my iPhone, and it better not breakโ€ฆโ€ These new school companies push tasks, process and workflow through the stuff you actually use at work. They bring fresh eyes to the automation game by taking an inverse approach. They ask what needs to be executed first โ€” and then determine what set of tasks, apps, and systems are required to automate the work. Time will tell how this online execution automation camp will stack up, but the early adoption is a good indicator that they are in full play. And, we cannot forget about the old-reliable - โ€œIโ€™ll build an app for thatโ€ - camp. These custom app builders can be found stand alone or embedded in the big enterprise platforms like Salesforce and Microsoft. Theyโ€™re filling in functional gaps around commercial applications and products.

So where is automation going in 2021?

Overall we predict two major waves of automation. The 2021 wave will be super noisy with tons of VC dollars and new startups on one end and M&A and IPOs on the other. Then, as in all fast-moving markets, the curve will flatten and the market leaders will emerge. The second wave is when we will see the true automation leaders appear. Hyper connectors that cannot deliver measurable business value will drop off. Robots without a business purpose will wander away. And the last standing camps will be the deep dive integrators and the execution automation players. We expect to see the discussions shift from โ€œautomate everythingโ€ to โ€œautomate to executeโ€. What does that mean? It means that companies will realize (or already have realized) by the droves that automation for automationโ€™s sake is little helpful to boost outcomes and outperform the competition. Itโ€™s only a tiny piece of the big business transformation puzzle. What companies need is a holistic approach that integrates smart automation next to technologies like process mining, machine learning, AI, and Co. And this is where a new technology class comes in that will turn the automation market of 2021 upside down: the Execution Management System. This โ€œmaster execution systemโ€ will change the paradigm by acting as an intelligent process control layer to measure process performance, find gaps in execution, and taking smart (and yes, sometimes automated) measures to resolve them. The goal is not to blindly throw bots at processes โ€” hoping that it will show results. The goal is to know exactly what actions need to be taken โ€” automated or not โ€” to align the entire operations around the business targets youโ€™re aiming for. This will give purpose to every automation decision from the up front focus on standing a system up the right way to making smart in-game execution adjustments once the systems are in play. Then the focus will shift to how to expand and connect to multiple system value streams and workflow without creating complexity. But for now, we just need to get out of 2020!

โ€œAutomate to Executeโ€ Will be the New End Game

Overall we predict two major waves of automation. The 2021 wave will be super noisy with tons of VC dollars and new startups on one end and M&A and IPOs on the other. Then, as in all fast moving markets, the curve will flatten and the market leaders will emerge. The second wave is when we will see the true automation leaders appear. Hyper connectors that cannot deliver measurable business value will drop off. Robots without a business purpose will wander away. And the last standing camps will be the deep dive integrators and the execution automation players. We expect to see the discussions shift from โ€œautomate everythingโ€ to โ€œautomate to executeโ€. In both camps, the automations, connections, and integrations will be managed and controlled from a master execution system. This will give purpose to every automation decision from the up front focus on standing a system up the right way to making smart in-game execution adjustments once the systems are in play. Then the focus will shift to how to expand and connect to multiple system value streams and workflow without creating complexity.

Celonis
Celonis
Author

Celonis believes that every company can unlock its full execution capacity. Powered by its market-leading process mining core, the Celonis Execution Management System provides a set of instruments and applications, the Celonis Studio as well as platform capabilities for business executives and users. The Celonis EMS offerings help companies manage every facet of execution management from analytics to strategy and planning, management, actions and automation.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Insights to inbox - Monthly newsletter

Thank you for your subscription

New Subscription
Please enter an email

By submitting this form, you confirm that you agree to the storing and processing of your personal data by Celonis as described in our Privacy Policy

Celonis World Tour 2021: October 5-14

Master Data-Driven Business Execution. 8 virtual events worldwide.

Dear visitor, you're using an outdated browser. Parts of this website will not work correctly. For a better experience, update or change your browser.