In recent years, Enterprises have turned to the cloud to store their data and purchase certain services. This is seen as a cost effective alternative to regular system transformations and software implementations, hence the rise of the “as-a-service” delivery model. The more established and recognised models include, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS). However, within the scope of the fastest growing area of Enterprise Software (namely; RPA) is Robot-as-a-Service (RaaS).

RaaS is similar to both IaaS and SaaS, in the sense that it leverages the cloud, in order to make it possible for organisations to incorporate software robots and the associated services within their existing cloud computing environments, whether that is Private Cloud, Public Cloud or Hybrid Cloud. As Robotic Process Automation (RPA) becomes more prevalent, with global revenues from the sale of RPA licenses more than doubling every 24 months, RaaS will follow suit, as it is the answer to the question, “What does an Enterprise do if it either (i) wants to try RPA out on a small number of processes before committing to buy a license, or (ii) doesn’t want to buy an RPA license outright, or (iii) only wants to consume pre built RPA use cases?”

 

What Exactly Is RaaS?

 

But if you’re still not exactly sure what RaaS is, then let me explain; RaaS is the placement of RPA in the cloud, which is why the delivery of RaaS is often referred to as being delivered by, “cloud robots.” RaaS includes internet-connected robots using cloud based, pay-as-you-go, computational and data storage resources. These “cloud robots” can be rented by users when and where they are needed. Service based solutions are becoming more common in the robotics sector, mainly due to high cost platforms hindering growth, or specialist service providers choosing to offer pre-built solutions to several customers over the cloud.

The subscriptions on cloud based, pay-as-you-go RaaS model affords organisations the flexibility to adjust their spend on robots and services as they can increase or decrease their usage as they see fit. This would not be the case if they were to purchase the solution (RPA licenses) outright themselves. Not only is this model more flexible, it is also the RaaS provider’s responsibility to schedule, orchestrate, maintain and integrate the Robot with users’ databases, making this model far easier for end-users to implement and maintain.

 

The Benefits of RaaS

 

The advantages of using this model therefore include:

  • Easier management
  • Easier maintenance
  • Avoidance of implementation/maintenance costs
  • Greater flexibility
  • Ease of scaling

So it’s much like the more general cloud “as-a-service” delivery model.

 

Overall, RaaS is Growing

 

In closing, it is important to consider ABI Research’s estimate that the installed base for RaaS will grow from 4,442 units in 2016 to 1.3 million in 2026. To put that into perspective, $217 million was spent on RaaS in 2016 but it is estimated to increase to $34 billion in revenue by 2026[1]. As an industry, this is a Compounded Annual Growth Rate of 66%, or 150 times growth over this 10 year forecast. ABI accredits this shift to companies realising RaaS’ potential to shift capital expenditure to operational expenditure, thereby having a compelling impact on Enterprises’ balance sheets and meaning that companies will no longer face large upfront costs to deploy new solutions, as long as RaaS is part of the Architecture.

It’s difficult to argue with the benefits of RaaS for both end users and providers, hence ABI Research’s belief that RaaS will become very popular in a short period of time.

What do you think, is RPA best delivered in the cloud and as a service?

 

[1] Source: ABI Research: Robotics as a Service is the Key to Unlocking the Next Phase of Market Development