Interest in robotic process automation (RPA) is gaining. The research firm Gartner estimates it will reach $680 million by the end of the year and is on pace to reach $2.4 billion in 2022.

According to Gartner, RPA is a business process automation solution for reducing costs, eliminating errors and speeding up processes.

“End-user organizations adopt RPA technology as a quick and easy fix to automate manual tasks,” said Cathy Tornbohm, vice president at Gartner. “Some employees will continue to execute mundane tasks that require them to cut, paste and change data manually. But when RPA tools perform those activities, the error-margin shrinks and data quality increases.”

RPA is typically used by organizations who struggle to piece together elements of their accounting and HR systems, Tornbohm explained. This includes banks, insurance companies, utilities, and telecommunications companies. A RPA solution helps automate existing manual tasks and the functionality of legacy systems, according to Tornbohm.

“In the near-term future, we expect to see an expanding set of RPA vendors as well as a growing interest from software vendors, which include software testing vendors and business process management vendors that are looking to gain revenue from this set of functionality,” said Tornbohm.

Gartner predicts by the end of the year about 60 percent of organizations with a revenue of $1 billion or more will deploy RPA. Additionally, 85 percent of large and very large organizations will have deployed some form of RPA by the end of 2022. “The growth in adoption will be driven by average RPA prices decreasing by approximately 10 percent to 15 percent by 2019, but also because organizations expect to achieve better business outcomes with the technology, such as reduced costs, increased accuracy and improved compliance,” said Tornbohm.

Gartner also added that RPA solutions work best to automate existing tasks or process, add automation to legacy systems or link to external systems.

“Do not just focus on RPA to reduce labor costs,” Tornbohm said. “Set clear expectations of what the tools can do and how your organization can use them to support digital transformation as part of an automation strategy.”