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Appian 2021 Predictions: The Future of Automation is Low-code

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual series exclusive.

The Future of Automation is Low-code

By Mike Beckley, founder and CTO, Appian

Looking ahead to 2021, developers have a backlog of new apps to build and new workflows and tasks to automate with RPA and AI. My top five predictions for 2021 are as follows:

Demand for "HyperAutomation" will Force the Integration of Modern Workforce

HyperAutomation is the use of low-code development to unify people, bots, and AI in a single workflow platform. In 2020, companies were all-in on buying RPA bots and AI services. The 2021 challenge is scale: how to show ROI, how to map automation to business goals, and how to automate an end-to-end process, not just a few tasks.

BPM is Back (Again)

The death and rebirth of BPM have occurred a countless number of times over the past two decades. But, if COVID-19 has proved anything, it's that process agility is essential to every business. Workflow isn't enough - the BPM capability to monitor and change in-flight processes enables low-code to modernize or replace even core systems without disrupting the business.

AI Becomes Cheaper and More Accessible Than Ever

Software vendors and AI providers, such as Google and AWS will continue to strip the complexities out of operationalizing AI by using low-code techniques. In 2021, the use of broadly-applicable and high-value use cases like AI-enabled Document Processing will become widespread.

RPA Contractors Become Full-Time Employees: While RPA has been widely adopted to add more "digital workers" to handle repetitive tasks, many multi-step activities have remained out-of-reach. RPA bots have been too expensive and incapable of managing errors and change. In 2021, it is time to make RPA digital workers part of the full-time workforce and include them in overall process flows.  To empower RPA to tackle more complex work, BPM and workflow technology that allows for seamless modeling across humans, RPA bots, and AI services in one platform will become the norm.

Low-code Goes Mainstream

Back in March, low-code platforms were the first to offer COVID solutions. Low-code made it possible to launch new apps in days. The lesson was obvious - every organization needed a low-code automation factory, a capability to translate plans and ideas into action in timescales relevant to the business. Low-code will quickly become a standard requirement to get any new technology investment approved.


About the Author

Michael Beckley, founder, and CTO, Appian

Michael Beckley 

Michael Beckley leads Appian's technology vision and oversees customer initiatives worldwide in his role as Chief Technology Officer and Chief Customer Officer. Michael serves on the Industrial Advisory Board for the University of Virginia's Computer Science Department and is a member of the University of Maryland Advisory Board in Computing. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and a founder of Appian.

Published Thursday, January 21, 2021 7:39 AM by David Marshall
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