The industry for years has been employing software solutions to drive automation and eliminate manual effort. Yet most organizations today still employ significant amounts of operations workers to fulfill processing needs. These needs range from low level and high volume repetitive tasks that have a swivel chair of data manipulation and rekeying to more complex exception handling and cognitive decision making tasks. Organizations have been attacking this problem with automation but the pace of new product development and introduction of regulations continue to outpace the ability to automate or automate cost effectively.

Many organizations have focused on labor arbitrage as a primary means to reduce costs. But this approach is relatively mature and is delivering fewer savings over time as wage inflation in countries such as India and the Philippines continues. Also, traditional software engineering projects are too expensive and time consuming to provide a measurable ROI in a reasonable time frame. Therefore, many organizations remain in an increasingly delicate position of rising labor costs that they are unable to offset. Into this realm have emerged several technologies that are providing enterprises with an alternative approach to off shoring or large scale enterprise development projects. Robotic Process Automation or RPA and Cognitive Automation or Smart Automation represents two trends that are accelerating in maturity and adoption.