3 Enterprise Automation Trends Marketers Should Look Out For in 2022

By Param Kahlon, Chief Product Officer, UiPath

As marketers consider how to drive greater results this year, new uses of automation software stand as the solution. With robotic process automation taking a greater share of tasks, marketers should stay ahead of these trends to maximize ROI

Automation technology has been a fixture of the martech toolbox for years. The list of automated marketing activities is lengthy: email marketing, CRM, sales automation, data collection and analysis, and lead nurture, among many others. Automation is essential to scaling and managing the customer experience and marketing automation tools offer users easier ways to visualize and connect features of campaigns. 

Marketing professionals may not be aware of how they can extend automation further into their roles to make an outsized impact on their objectives. Robotic process automation (RPA) is a software technology that makes it easy to build, deploy, and manage software robots that emulate human actions in interacting with digital systems and software. In simple terms, RPA takes the form of software robots that can be applied to streamline nearly any marketing workflow, making campaigns more effective, flexible, and responsive. RPA can handle the manually intensive, mundane tasks marketers often spend inordinate amounts of time on. This can increase marketers’ day-to-day satisfaction, engagement, and productivity by allowing them to spend time on more strategic, value-added work.

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With automated software robots fueling increased productivity and employee engagement, marketers are not only driving stronger results for their brands—they’re having a better experience doing it. Amid the ongoing pandemic challenges, many marketers are pushing to deliver stronger, quicker results while working on tighter budgets. By relieving marketers of the more tedious and time-consuming tasks in their workloads, RPA can help them achieve strategic results. 

As marketers kick off 2022 and prepare new campaigns, they need to evolve their automation programs to support even greater output at faster speeds. Here are the top trends I expect to enter the enterprise automation landscape in 2022 that marketers should pay attention to: 

  • Automation will empower even greater employee engagement

Businesses rely on tech to survive, with large enterprises deploying an average of 170+ applications—though too much technology can become a burden of its own if employees must manage each system separately. In the marketing department alone, marketers leverage a variety of applications like CRM software, demand gen analysis tools, and others, all of which use data from a variety of company databases. Endlessly toggling between these systems to fulfill tasks can disengage marketers, who could accomplish more by dedicating their time to higher-value projects that involve their creative thinking. 

Many marketers already deploy digital robot assistants to alleviate this sort of bandwidth and energy-zapping “swivel chair” work. For example, instead of manually pulling data from an application to build a report on its findings, marketers can set up a software robot to do it in the background. However, automation software’s value can be even more encompassing than these individual automations to free marketers further.

Savvy organizations will build a new “automation layer” of software robots that sits between workers and the enterprise systems and applications they use to get work done. Robots within the automation layer create digital connections between existing but disparate enterprise systems and applications to complete repetitive tasks like moving data from one system into another, launching digital ads, and updating spreadsheet models. With the benefit of training upfront, software robots can better communicate with one another and execute more complex activities. This layer also empowers faster automation building since employees won’t have to make the cross-system connections themselves. For this reason, marketers can also more seamlessly integrate the latest martech tools into their operations with confidence that all applications are working in harmony with one another. 

Marketers will also be able to manage their automation assets more easily through the automation layer, as they’ll now have a centralized location for governance, distribution, reporting/analytics, and global updating. Likewise, because the layer centralizes automations, users can reuse previous codes during the building stage instead of starting from scratch to expedite the process. With the time saved building and managing their automation technology, marketers can focus on actual marketing work. 

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  • Semantic automation will expedite rules-based processes even further

Automation expedites common processes so that marketers have more time in their day to focus on strategic work—but what if even automation building could be expedited? Developers currently need to spend time encoding step-by-step instructions for robots to know what to do, which can account for up to 60% of automation build time. Even with low and no-code builders, marketers designing their own applications must spend time dragging and dropping the right functionalities into a sequence. 

Semantically enabled robots can cut down building time through their ability to understand the relationships between—and contexts around—documents, processes, data, and applications. This means that the robots will be able to recognize a process, understand what data is required to fulfill it and where to source that data from, and emulate the activity by simply watching it first, without the need for employee programming. All marketers will need to do to initiate automation development is ask their robots to perform a task. Not only will semantic automation cut down on developer labor, but it also makes the technology more accessible to non-technical business users as they won’t have to dictate every step in the process they are planning for automation to assume. 

As the field of semantic automation is still emerging, marketers should ask their automation vendors about available or planned semantic capabilities so that they can put the technology to use as soon as possible. The longer semantic automation is deployed—as the software touches more data and applications and its understanding of the technology ecosystem expands—the stronger the results it can accomplish.

  • Automation will fuel organizational sustainability efforts 

The results achieved through automation are worth showing off. Fortunately, these results can be used to support other priorities today’s marketers are already facing. 

Customers are becoming increasingly interested in engaging brands committed to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), prompting marketers to share about their organization’s mission and culture in addition to products or services they offer. With automation integrated into operations, marketers can confidently answer these calls for greener business. 

For example, organizations can establish automated processes for powering down data centers during times of low usage to conserve electricity or automate and digitize invoicing and other common paper flows to mitigate paper consumption. UiPath uses its own automation tools to reduce its cloud computing usage by 65% and by 98% in areas relating to IT service management and cybersecurity functions. Showcasing these achievements could differentiate marketers’ brands from competitors—and promoting that the organization achieved them using automation has the added benefit of underscoring the future-forward position of the business. 

Marketers work hard to stay up to speed on the latest industry trends—it’s time they make sure their technology is up to speed as well. By proactively jumping on these enterprise automation trends, marketers can advance into the digital era and work more efficiently in the year ahead. 

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