The RPA technology landscape is rapidly evolving but nothing highlights the changes more than assessing leading software products side by side and comparing the results to the previous year. That is exactly what we have been doing at Everest Group over the past few months, as part of the research for the latest RPA Virtual Worker Technology Assessment FIT MatrixTM report.
We have collected detailed information from 10 leading RPA vendors, including their product features, deployment options, go-to-market strategies, global partnerships, and market presence. We have interviewed them and their clients, as well as had their products demonstrated to us in a standardized way to compare and contrast them.
Our latest findings will be published in full in December, including updated detailed profiles of each of the technology vendors that took part in the report. In the meantime, our interim findings paint an interesting picture of:
- Increasing depth and richness of functionality
- More deployment and pricing options
- The emergence of function-focused or knowledge-based automation that accelerates automation – accelerated RPA
Increasing depth and richness of functionality
There is no doubt that the vendors are learning from each other and from our last report (Service Delivery Automation (SDA) – The Story Beyond Marketing Messages and an Assessment of SDA Tools) to enhance their product features. Examples of the latest batch of enhancements include but are not limited to:
- Features to ensure that robot connectivity through the UI is maintained (e.g., NICE’s Connectivity Watcher)
- Better robot controls such as priority work re-allocation to robots in real time ( e.g., Thoughtonomy and WorkFusion)
- Introduction of enhanced robot performance analytics including smart searches (UiPath) and real-time business intelligence from robot-powered process data (e.g., Automation Anywhere, and Softmotive ProcessRobot)
- Ability to dynamically scale bots to instantly match demand from the systems that the processes run on (e.g., Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, Thoughtonomy, WorkFusion)
The AI in the Robot
Another point to note is the use of different grades of Artificial Intelligence (AI) by robotic automation vendors for different purposes. For example, Kryon Systems’ Leo has visual integration powered by intelligent techniques and advanced pattern matching algorithms.
Automation Anywhere is leveraging machine learning and natural language processing features for handling unstructured data, consequently expanding the range of processes that it can automate.
More deployment and pricing options
More vendors have made their software available on the cloud and on more public clouds, for example, on Azure and AWS.
There are also more deployment options such as Automation-as-a-Service offered in a variety of flavours from automating tasks to processes end-to-end.
We are also seeing more and more usage and utility-based pricing options. Kofax, for example, has come up with a server licensing model for Kapow RPA based on usage levels that allows organizations to start small and control the number of robots that can be executed simultaneously.
Another development is the emergence of function-focused or knowledge-based automation that accelerates automation. This type of accelerated RPA comes with the knowledge of the process that is being automated.
At the entry level end of the spectrum to this group are vendors that provide libraries of re-usable industry-based automations, for example, for the financial services sector.
At the more sophisticated end of the spectrum is Redwood Software that offers automation of the whole financial close process as well as other back-office functions. The software comes with the knowledge of the process and the underlying ERP system in an existing function-based process model that can be customized for clients. The focus is on the process (not the user) to directly automate all the ERP-based steps, and that, within the typical end-to-end process, e.g. the financial close.
This is certainly a dynamic and evolving market. Keep up with us to keep up with it.
Look out for our full report and vendor profiles to be published in the coming weeks.