In another blog almost a year ago, I called for a consumption-based pricing mechanism for automation. Like the software industry has proved, I believe the concept of moving away from a traditional software license structure to a SaaS basis makes sense in the automation space. Instead of paying for a robot, a company would just pay for the usage of that robot or automated engine.
Even if a company doesn’t want to use a SaaS model, robots could be resident on its internal server but the company would still pay only for usage of the robot. A consumption-based model would reduce the time in the adoption cycle and overcomes the artificial constraints companies often have with licenses.
If I have only one robot, I would have to queue up work and wait for the robot to get to it. Why would I do that? Why not launch all the robots I need to get the work done immediately and compress my cycle time? And why not pay for that usage rather than contort myself to make use of a single robotic or cognitive instance? It doesn’t make any sense to the user. That inefficiency potentially reduces the usefulness of the technology. It also reduces the market share that a software provider can capture.
Automation Anywhere, one of the largest automation providers, has launched something called the Bot Farm, which provides exactly this capability. Its bot farm allows companies to buy robotic process automation (RPA) tools on a usage basis rather than on a capacity or license basis.
I believe Automation Anywhere will be rewarded in the marketplace by greater share and profitability. More importantly its customers will benefit because they can buy what they want, when they want it, without stranding large amounts of capital on tools that they only use part of the time.
Automation Anywhere’s model is an extremely important development in the marketplace, and it’s good to see that a major automation provider has moved to attack the constraints.