The intelligent automation space has been witnessing a slew of acquisitions over the past couple of years. Several big tech providers have entered the market through numerous acquisitions, especially in the robotic process automation (RPA) space.
While the trend continues in RPA, with ServiceNow’s acquisition of India-based RPA vendor, Intellibot as the latest addition, 2021 seems to be a year of increasing M&A activity in the process mining space. After the acquisition of Signavio by SAP earlier this year, IBM’s acquisition of myInvenio is the second M&A deal happening in the process mining market within a short span of three months.
In one of our previously published blogs, Is It Open Season for RPA Acquisitions?, we highlighted larger technology players entering the intelligent automation market and discussed why more acquisitions might follow as these players seek to build more holistic business transformation solutions.
IBM entered the intelligent automation space with its platform, IBM Cloud Pak for Automation, in 2018 to help enterprises scale up their digital transformation initiatives. Two years later, IBM acquired WDG Automation, a Brazilian RPA vendor, to augment its platform capabilities.
Now, IBM is looking to further expand its automation portfolio with its latest acquisition of myInvenio, an Italy-based process mining technology vendor. The acquisition for an undisclosed price is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2021.
Why the acquisition is not a big surprise
IBM provides IT and business process automation services to enterprises through its automation suite, which includes RPA, Intelligent Document Processing (IDP), Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA), and process orchestration capabilities. Looking at IBM’s offerings within the intelligent automation technology ecosystem, process mining emerges as the key missing element in its automation suite.
The COVID-19 crisis highlighted the importance of digital transformation and the need to accelerate automation journeys for enterprises. The lack of a healthy automation pipeline and the inability to identify the right level of optimization opportunities emerged as key barriers for enterprises to scale automation initiatives. This has led to an increased focus on better understanding business processes and optimizing them to improve value realization from automation initiatives.
Process mining emerged as a critical technology providing the ability to discover as-is processes and identify/prioritize automation opportunities. Lately, the intelligent automation space also witnessed increased consolidation and entry of other bigger players in the market such as Microsoft, SAP, ServiceNow, etc., resulting in increased competitiveness for IBM.
To cater to the market demand and better compete in the automation space, IBM partnered with myInvenio in November 2020 to help its customers gain visibility into business processes and identify automation opportunities. Through this partnership, IBM sought to deliver a single solution to its clients for streamlining and automating business processes.
IBM has a very strong focus on enabling a unified experience to its clients through a one-stop-shop automation suite. In line with this vision, this acquisition would help IBM provide process mining capabilities that are tightly integrated into its automation platform. Also, this union would provide a holistic solution to IBM’s clients where they could access various technologies that constitute the intelligent automation ecosystem. It also boosts their AI and hybrid cloud strategy to provide enterprises with the necessary AI-enabled automation capabilities.
Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Reggio Emilia, Italy, myInvenio has a vision to support enterprises in their digital transformation journey by helping them create a digital twin of their organization. Over the last eight years, it has acquired clients globally spanning the European, North American, APAC, and UK regions and serves enterprises across key verticals such as banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), manufacturing, and healthcare and pharmaceutical.
Through its process mining solution, myInvenio focuses on enabling data-driven process discovery, analysis, and continuous monitoring to identify process improvement and transformation opportunities.
myInvenio was identified as a major contender in Everest Group’s 2020 Process Mining PEAK Matrix® and brings a host of capability modules to enhance the value proposition of IBM’s automation suite. These include:
- myInvenio Process Analyst
- Process discovery – to automatically generate process maps, perform multi-level process mining, and create BPMN 2.0 compliant process models
- Conformance checking – to compare discovered as-is process model with a target reference model, perform root-cause analysis, and check compliance rules such as segregation of duties
- myInvenio Process Insights
- Process monitoring and reporting – to derive process insights through continuous monitoring, create customizable dashboards, and define custom KPIs/metrics
- Process enhancement – to identify processes/tasks for automation, predict and highlight any expected KPI breach, and perform simulations/what-if analysis
- myInvenio Desktop Process Mining (DPM)/Task mining capability – to capture users’ interactions across multiple desktops and map the recorded tasks to respective processes using Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning algorithms for discovering end-to-end processes
- myInvenio Process Store – to provide out-of-the-box pre-built templates for processes spanning across industries such as banking, manufacturing, and energy and utilities
What are the implications going forward?
Impact on process mining vendor landscape and partnerships
IBM has strategic go-to-market partnerships and technology alliances with other process mining vendors. Earlier this month, Celonis, IBM, and Red Hat announced a strategic partnership to help enterprises accelerate their digital transformation by combining Celonis Execution Management System (EMS) with Red Hat OpenShift’s hybrid cloud approach and IBM Global Business Services’ expertise.
Partnerships like these are expected to continue, giving clients the flexibility to choose as co-opetition is becoming quite common in the enterprise software space. For example, IBM maintained its partnerships with RPA vendors such as Automation Anywhere and UiPath after the WDG automation acquisition.
The IBM acquisition of myInvenio could put pressure on other process mining vendors since many do not have a global reach and would need to expand their service provider partnership ecosystem. This latest deal could also encourage the acquisition of process mining capabilities by other tech giants, Business Process Management (BPM), and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) companies in the coming months to offer a more holistic solution to their clients.
Increased adoption of process mining
Process mining technology would reach a much broader audience after its integration into the platforms offered by these service providers, resulting in improved awareness and adoption. IBM offers its automation products to enterprises across different sectors such BFSI, healthcare, and manufacturing.
IBM started delivering process mining services to its customers in November 2020 by leveraging its OEM partnership with myInvenio. Augmenting its prior implementation experience with in-house technology capabilities, IBM can now provide process mining capabilities that are tightly integrated with its automation suite. It is expected that IBM would offer process mining on a standalone basis as well as part of its Cloud Pak for Automation platform.
Impact on service providers
This acquisition will nudge other service providers to demonstrate their ability to think ahead and make more investments to strengthen their automation suite. Last week, Celonis announced its execution management without limits program that gives service providers access to its process mining solution with unlimited users and processes but charges them based on the volume of data being analyzed. While Celonis offering its EMS to consultants could be a win-win situation for both Celonis and service providers, some large service suppliers still might look to acquire process mining capabilities to strengthen their in-house technology portfolio. Also, having this capability in-house would give service providers more negotiating power and reduce the reliance on third-party vendors for capabilities that can be critical for their business going forward. The acquisition route can provide them the ability to deliver innovation faster in their focus industries and functions.
The takeaway: the acquisition could fuel more activity
Since IBM has been faster in integrating acquired capabilities into its suite because of its cloud-based platform approach and containerized product architecture, it is expected to take less time to embed myInvenio’s process mining offering at a technical level within IBM’s automation suite.
With process mining emerging as a critical component of the automation ecosystem, the process mining market is entering a disruptive phase, garnering attention from all parts of the world. This acquisition could also trigger other big enterprise tech vendors like Microsoft, Oracle, ServiceNow, and Salesforce to make similar moves to enter the process mining market.