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Donald Trump promises to create 25 million new jobs over the next decade with his economic plan.
And as we've been discussing over the past few weeks, I think that plan is a good one – and will be very good for tech companies and their investors.
However, there's also this…
Robotics and artificial intelligence – "automation," in a word – will eliminate tens of millions of jobs over that same stretch.
It makes many of us planning our retirement – trying to put together enough money and investments to guarantee that our "golden years" are prosperous – wonder how we'll do it. Moreover, it makes us worry about our children's and grandchildren's futures.
How can anyone save or invest if they're looking at a "jobless future"?
One way to do it – to not just survive but to thrive in this unknowable future – is to profit from the very automation technologies that are threatening humanity's livelihood.
And to do that, you have to "pick" the best stocks in this sector.
I've just spotted such a company – one whose technology could to displace millions of "back office" workers in the coming years. You know, the folks doing data entry and handling the customer service lines.
Its technology is known as robotic process automation (RPA).
And its shares are primed for a quick 50% gain.
Eliminating the "Back Office"
As we've been discussing over the past few months, our research has found that there are really four "windows" of opportunity – "How We Live," "How We Work," "How We Survive," and "How We Thrive" – that make up the Singularity Nexus.
These windows represent pools of innovation that will lead to huge profits for the companies that develop the best technologies – and their investors. As we believe here, "The Road to Wealth Is Paved by Tech"… and in the Singularity Era, that's truer than ever.
And right now, whether it's through AI or robotics, automation is the biggest factor impacting the "How We Work" window.
The World Economic Forum, in a report out of the Davos meetings earlier this year, predicts AI and robotics will cause 7.1 million job losses by 2020 in the world's top 15 economies. Moreover, the United Nations' International Labor Organization sees an increase in global unemployment of 11 million in the next four to five years.
Those are conservative estimates. I hate even looking at some of the more "out there" predictions.
That's why when we look at advances like robotic process automation (RPA), which are being rapidly deployed at thousands of businesses around the world, we can't be scared. We can't let fear rule the day.
Instead, we need to see them as investment opportunities.
For its part, RPA uses software robots to replicate the actions of human workers for such "back office" tasks as data entry and customer service. The researchers at Gartner call this a "gateway" technology and say it will affect a wide range of software systems – everything from logistics and resource planning to customer relationship management.
According to Gartner, it's one of the fastest-growing segments of the $3.4 trillion global IT market.
To give you a sense of how quickly RPA technology is gaining ground, consider that the overall IT market itself will likely show only modest growth for 2017.
Measured against that metric, the rise of RPA technology is nothing short of meteoric. Gartner says the field is growing at 20% to 30% per quarter.
It's easy to see why. RPA systems can dramatically improve the productivity of existing software applications across the board. That means companies that invest in this technology can supercharge the software tools they already own, giving them a nearly instant return on investment.
This software-based robotic approach can transform back-office operations in just about any industry you can imagine.
No wonder the RPA market will hit $16.8 billion in yearly sales by 2024, according to a recent report from Transparency Market Research. That forecast is less than that of Gartner's – but still an impressive annual growth rate of 47.1%.
Just look at the success that RPA industry leader OpenSpan is having. Founded in 2004, the company says its RPA tools are running on more than 200,000 desktops at leading firms around the world.
For just one task – customer service – OpenSpan says its RPA platform can make human agents much more productive, because it can…
- Identify workflow inefficiencies: As a first step, businesses can quickly and more easily analyze their employee workflows to uncover hidden areas that mar the customer experience, such as error-filled apps and forms.
- Automate desktop processes: Human agents suffering from "app overload" can now benefit from desktop applications operating in a single seamless process experience, improving customer service.
- Reduce repetitive tasks: Many high-volume, low-complexity tasks traditionally done by employees can now be automated without the need for human intervention.
And the good news is I have found a way for tech investors to profit from OpenSpan's success. Last May, Pegasystems Inc. (Nasdaq: PEGA) acquired OpenSpan for an undisclosed sum and has integrated the technology with its own software suite in less than six months.
That makes Pegasystems the single best way to play RPA's disruptive impact and huge sales growth – and one of the best overall ways to thrive in what may be a jobless future.
Even better, there's much more to Pegasystems than just its embrace of RPA technology.
Big Clients Have Big Needs – and PEGA Delivers
With its software targeting customer service and predictive analytics, Pegasystems has managed to involve itself in every major industry, including healthcare, finance and insurance, energy, manufacturing, and media. Its elite customer base includes most of the Global 500.
Pegasystems builds tailored solutions for each client, from the ground up, ensuring that users aren't saddled with stuff they'll never use. The software plays to each clients' strategic advantages – and even evolves over time as a client grows and expands into new markets.
That savvy approach has led Pegasystems to boost sales at a double-digit pace for 10 straight years, a winning streak that should stay intact in 2017. And though sales are on track to reach $1 billion by 2018, Pegasystems is aiming much higher.
The firm is focused on "Strategic Applications." A typical client asks Pegasystems to devise a platform that can handle all of its marketing, sales tracking, operations, and customer service on one interface. Pegasystems says this is a market worth roughly $30 billion.
This entire software suite resides in the cloud, which gives clients rapid access to key files and features for staff who may work in offices around the globe.
No wonder the firm, which is based in Cambridge, Mass., works with the nation's top 10 healthcare payers, seven of the top 10 insurance companies, and eight of the top 10 credit card issuers.
Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) is a typical client. The wireless service provider has long suffered from a large annual loss of customers, known in the industry as "customer churn." Sprint turned to Pegasystems a few years back – and has managed to cut that churn in half.
After it deployed Pegasystems software, American Express Corp. (NYSE: AXP) found that customer satisfaction increased 200%. And The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) worked with Pegasystems to better connect its nearly 150,000 employees around the world, saving millions in fuel and telecommunications expenses.
A Rocket Ready for "Stage 2"
Over the past decade, sales have grown at a 20% average yearly clip. From 2012, profits grew at an 18% pace, and they likely grew at that rate in 2016 as well.
I'm looking for more of the same in coming years.
This firm has topped quarterly profit forecasts by an average 23% over the past three quarters, so any current consensus forecasts likely continue to underestimate Pegasystems' profit potential.
Third-quarter backlog hit a record $420 million, giving a high level of visibility into future quarterly strength. Pegasystems has a market cap of $3.01 billion, and its shares are trading for around $38.
And I expect those shares to soar 50% or better over the next three years.
The Singularity Era may come with fears, like job losses. But more importantly, this whole new era in tech investing is chock-full of big money-making opportunities.
Like Pegasystems, a growth firm that can really supercharge your portfolio… and put you on the Road to Wealth.
I hope you'll take a look at it.
Of course, automation is far from the only Singularity Era technology making waves this year.
In fact, on Friday we'll investigate a technology that's radically changing how we all interact with the web – and I'll show you one of the best ways to play it, too.
See you then.
- Strategic Tech Investor Special Report: On August 1, the Stock Market Achieved Singularity…
- Strategic Tech Investor: The Road to Wealth Is Paved by Tech.
- Strategic Tech Investor: Everybody's Chatting – With the Bots That Could Make You 107%.
- Strategic Tech Investor: Solving This NYC Subway Trip May Be the Key to Smarter AI.
About the Author
Michael A. Robinson is one of the top financial analysts working today. His book "Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings" was a prescient look at the anatomy of the nation's S&L crisis, long before the word "bailout" became part of our daily lexicon. He's a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter, lauded by the Columbia Journalism Review for his aggressive style. His 30-year track record as a leading tech analyst has garnered him rave reviews, too. Today he is the editor of the monthly tech investing newsletter Nova-X Report as well as Radical Technology Profits, where he covers truly radical technologies – ones that have the power to sweep across the globe and change the very fabric of our lives – and profit opportunities they give rise to. He also explores "what's next" in the tech investing world at Strategic Tech Investor.