Industries such as telecom will drive the workflow automation market into an $18.45 billion industry by 2023, a new study finds.
Between 2017 and 2023, sales of workflow automation solutions will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 24%, according to "Workflow Automation Market: Global Forecast to 2023," published by MarketsandMarkets.
As they invest in software-defined networks, next-generation access technologies, cloud, open source and big data, service providers' ultimate goal is automation. Workflow automation -- which replaces often time-consuming, error-prone processes such as software patching and data collection -- is only part of their big automation picture.
"[Automation] is definitely a big theme," Peter Coppens, global director of product management and marketing at Colt Technology Services, told UBB2020.
Service providers are not simply looking to replace manual processes or trade in workers for robots. They want workflow and technology automation, for sure, but also seek service automation that results in more personalization, predictive knowledge and stickier customers.
"The bigger picture here -- the forest for the trees -- is this [infrastructure investment] is really about opening up interfaces that lead to automation. As we move down an automation path, as we move down a machine-learning path to drive more automation, this is really a necessary first step -- these open interfaces that cannot be skipped over or overlooked," Chris Rice, senior vice president, network architecture and design at AT&T, told UBB2020 earlier this year. "This is more about taking it to that next level and making sure that services are built in a way that are data-driven and our infrastructure is data-driven to be able to get the automation that we need to be able to get to." (See AT&T's Rice: Open Source Paves Way to Automation.)
Telcos also expect automation to increase customer experience, as subscribers attain the same level of self-service they enjoy in retail or cloud services for adding lines, new offerings or changing broadband speeds. Customers want ultra-broadband to power personalized experiences at home as well, said Alistair Masson, head of telco media at NTT Data UK, in an interview. When automation and artificial intelligence are combined, operators create the key to new revenue opportunities, he said. (See NTT Data: Use Virtualization Lessons for AI .)
"I am seeing a lot of signs that robotic process automation, artificial intelligence is on the cusp," said Masson. "Let's think about how operators might interact differently with their customers. I've got an Amazon Echo Dot at home … [and] one of the things I'd like to be able to do is say, 'I'm going on holiday tomorrow. Can you check my mobile has got international roaming activated?' Not go onto the website and figure out how do I get to the page where I can check that, and figure out whether the radio button means it's on or off, but interact with it via Amazon Dot or Google Home and really change the way in which we interact with our providers."
Leading the way
North America held the largest share of the workflow automation market in 2016, according to MarketsandMarkets, and is expected to dominate the arena through the study's timeframe.
Telecommunications, along with banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) and IT, plus travel, hospitality and transportation are among the industries fastest to implement workflow automation, the researcher said.
— Alison Diana, Editor, UBB2020. Follow us on Twitter @UBB2020 or @alisoncdiana.
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