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Organizations need help navigating emerging technologies, identifying manageable chunks of work to proceed with in the short term, and – simultaneously – identifying investment areas to enable longer-term gains.


  • Key trends include the continued coexistence and validity of both top-down and bottom-up approaches, robotic process automation’s progression to the next level in terms of volume and scale, the continued addition of cognitive elements to automation, and the part education will play in reducing confusion, frustration, and disappointment in the market.
  • Education, reskilling, and upskilling are critical to IT service providers’ meaningful and beneficial deployments of automation technologies.

Features and Benefits

  • Analyzes key trends in automation for 2018
  • Assesses net effect of automation in 2017 with a forward-looking view into 2018

Key questions answered

  • Are automation and AI one and the same thing?
  • Where is a good place to start with automation?
  • What challenges face those working with automation technologies and those trying to implement them

Table of contents


  • Catalyst
  • Ovum view
  • Key messages


  • Educate the market about automation
  • Acquire, reskill, and upskill workers to deliver automation technologies
  • Assess the suitability of data for the application of artificial intelligence and provide a data roadmap

Both top-down and bottom-up approaches to automation are valid

  • The top-down approach requires top-down support and investment up front
  • The bottom-up approach builds its own following by demonstrating success

RPA will move into the big leagues in 2018

  • The next level is scale

Cognitive elements will continue to augment automation technologies

  • Automation can deliver today with no, or minimal, AI
  • Automation combined with AI holds much promise

Market confusion, frustration, and disappointment will continue

  • Some attempts to automate will not be successful
  • The right skills must be built by any route possible
  • Skill shortages are compounded for AI


  • Methodology
  • Further reading
  • Author

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