Tag: automation

Is It Open Season for RPA Acquisitions? | Blog

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a key component of the automation ecosystem and has been a rapidly growing software product category, making it an interesting space for potential acquisitions for a while now. While acquisitions in the RPA market have been happening over the last several years, three major RPA acquisitions have taken place in quick succession over the past few months: Microsoft’s acquisition of Softomotive in May, IBM’s acquisition of WDG Automation in July, and Hyland’s acquisition of Another Monday in August.

These acquisitions highlight a broader trend in which smaller RPA vendors are being acquired by different categories of larger technology market players:

  • Big enterprise tech product vendors like Microsoft and SAP
  • Service providers such as IBM
  • Larger automation vendors like Appian, Blue Prism, and Hyland.

Recent RPA acquisitions timeline:

RPA Robotic Process Automation

Why is this happening?

The RPA product market has grown rapidly over the past few years, rising to about US$ 1.2 billion in software license revenues in 2019. The market seems to be consolidating, with some of the larger players continuing to gain market share. As in any such maturing market, mergers and acquisitions are a natural outcome. However, we see multiple factors in the current environment leading to this frenetic uptick in RPA acquisitions:

Acquirers’ perspective – In addition to RPA being a fast-growing market, new category acquirers – meaning big tech product vendors, service providers, and larger automation vendors – see potential in merging RPA capabilities with their own core products to provide more unified automation solutions. These new entrants will be able to build pre-packaged solutions combining RPA with other existing capabilities at lower cost. COVID-19 has created an urgency for broader automation in enterprises, and the ability to offer packaged solutions that provide a quick ROI can be a game-changer in this scenario. Additionally, the adverse impact of the pandemic on the RPA vendors’ revenues, which may have dropped their valuations down to more realistic levels, is making them more attractive for the acquiring parties.

Sellers’ perspective – There is now a general realization in the market that RPA alone is not going to cut it. RPA is the connective tissue, but you still need the larger services, big tech/Systems-of-Record and/or intelligent automation ecosystem to complete the picture. RPA vendors that don’t have the ability to invest in building this ecosystem will be looking to be acquired by larger players that offer some of these complementary capabilities. In addition, investor money may no longer be flowing as freely in the current environment, meaning that some RPA vendors will be looking for an exit.

What can we expect going forward?

The RPA and broader intelligent automation space will continue to evolve quickly, accelerated by the predictable rise in demand for automation and the changes brought on by the new entrants in the space. We expect to see the following trends in the short term:

  • More acquisitions – With the ongoing market consolidation, we expect more acquisitions of smaller automation players – including RPA, Intelligent Document Processing (IDP), process orchestration, Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA), and process mining players – by the above-mentioned bigger categories as they seek to build more complete transformational solutions.
  • Services imperative – Scaling up automation initiatives is an ongoing challenge for enterprises, with questions lingering around bot license utilization and the ability to fill an automation pipeline. Services that can help overcome these challenges will become more critical and possibly even differentiating in the RPA space, whether the product vendors themselves or their partners provide them.
  • Evolution of the competitive landscape – We expect the market landscape to undergo considerable transformation:
    • In the attended RPA space, while there will be co-opetition among RPA vendors and the bigger tech players, the balance may end up being slightly tilted in favor of the big tech players. Consider, for instance, the potential impact if Microsoft were to provide attended RPA capabilities embedded with its Office products suite. Pure-play RPA vendors, however, will continue to encourage citizen development, as this can unearth low-hanging fruit that can serve as an entry point into the wider enterprise organization.
    • In the unattended RPA space, pure-play RPA vendors will likely have an advantage as they do not compete directly with big tech players and so can invest in solutions across different systems of record. Pure-play RPA vendors might focus their efforts here and form an ecosystem to link in missing components of intelligent automation to provide integrated offerings.

There are several open questions on how some of these dynamics will play out over time. You can expect a battle for the soul (and control) of automation, with implications for all stakeholders in the automation ecosystem. Questions remain:

  • How will enterprises approach automation evolution, by building internal expertise or utilizing external services?
  • How will the different approaches automation vendors are currently following play out – system of record-led versus platform versus best of breed versus packaged solutions?
  • Where will the balance between citizen-led versus centralized automation lie?

Only time will tell how this all plays out.

But in the meantime, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share them with us at [email protected], [email protected], and  [email protected].

GPT-3 Accelerates AI Progress, but the Path to AGI is Going to Be Bumpy | Blog

OpenAI recently released the third generation of Generative Pretrained Transformer or GPT-3, the largest neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) model ever built. It’s fundamentally a language model, a machine learning model that can look at part of a sentence and predict the next word. It’s been pre-trained on 175 billion parameters in an unsupervised manner and can be further fine-tuned to perform specific tasks. OpenAI is an AI research organization founded in 2015 by Elon Musk, Sam Altman, and other luminaries. It describes its mission as: to discover and enact the path to safe Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).

GPT-3 is breaking the internet

There’s been a lot of talk around the power, capabilities, and potential use cases of GPT-3 in the AI community. As the largest language model developed to date, it has the potential to advance AI as a domain. People have developed all sorts of uses – from mimicking Shakespeare, to writing prose, to designing web pages. It primarily stood out due to:

  1. Foraying into AGI. The language model isn’t trained to perform a specific task such as sentence completion or translation, which is normally the case with ANI, the most prevalent form of AI we have seen. Rather, GPT-3 can perform multiple tasks such as answering trivia questions, translating common languages, and solving anagrams, to name a few, in a manner that is indistinguishable from a human.
  1. Advancing the zero-shot/few-shot learning mechanism in model training. This mechanism is a setup in machine learning wherein the model predicts the answer only from the task description in natural language and/or maybe a few examples, implying that the algorithm can showcase accuracy without being extensively trained for a particular task. This capability opens the possibilities of building lean AI models that aren’t as data-intensive and don’t require humongous task-specific datasets for training.


So, this seems nifty – what next?

In addition to the flurry of standard NLP use cases that have been in existence for a while, which GPT-3 has advanced drastically, GPT-3 also has the potential to intercept the more technical and creative domains, which will lead to the democratization of such skills by making these capabilities available to non-technical people and putting business users in control, primarily by:

  • Furthering no-code/low-code by making code generation possible from natural language input. This is a step toward the eventual democratization of AI, making it accessible to a broader group of business users and has the potential to redefine job roles and the skill sets required to perform them.
  • Generating simple layouts and web templates to full-blown UI designs, using simple natural language input, potentially creating disruption in the design sphere. 
  • Shortening AI timelines to market. Automated Machine Learning (AutoML) creates machine learning architectures with limited human input. The confluence of GPT-3 and AutoML has the potential to drastically reduce the time it takes to bring AI solutions to production. It will take significantly less time and human intervention to train a system and build a solution, thereby reducing the amount of time needed to deploy an AI solution in the market.

GPT-3 is great, but we’re not in Space Odyssey yet

The massive language model is not without pitfalls. Its principal shortcoming is that, while it’s good with natural language tasks, is has no semantic understanding of the text. It is, by virtue of its training, just trying to complete a given sentence, no matter what the sentence means.

The second roadblock to mainstream adoption of the model is the fact that it’s riddled with societal biases in gender, race, and religion. This is because the model is trained on the internet, which brings its own set of challenges given the discourse around fake news and the post-truth world. Even OpenAI admits that its API models exhibit biases, and those can often be seen in the generated text. These biases need to be corrected before the model can be deployed in any real-world scenario.

These challenges certainly must be addressed before it can be deployed for actual, enterprise-grade use. That said, GPT-3 will potentially traverse the same trajectory that computer vision made at the start of the decade to eventually become ubiquitous in our lives.

What are your thoughts about GPT-3? Please share with us at [email protected] and [email protected].

Integrating Customer Support Call Centers With Artificial Intelligence | Blog

Companies currently invest a lot of money in target markets to generate potential customers’ interest in products and services. But after they achieve a sale, they often frustrate customers by not providing effective customer service support. A poor customer experience can erode the company’s brand and reputation and destroy the company’s opportunities to increase revenue through new purchases by those existing customers. Obviously, these are significant problems, especially in today’s highly competitive environment with customers’ quick pace in buying decisions. Let us now explore the solution.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Is Your GBS Organization Ready for IT Infrastructure Evolution to Enable Business Transformation? | Blog

A sustained focus on digital, agility, and advanced technologies is likely to prepare enterprises for the future, especially following COVID-19. Many enterprise leaders consider IT infrastructure to be the bedrock of business transformation at a time when the service delivery model has become more virtual and cloud based. This reality presents an opportunity for GBS organizations that deliver IT infrastructure services to rethink their long-term strategies to enhance their capabilities, thereby strengthening their value propositions for their enterprises.

GBS setups with strong IT infra capabilities can lead enterprise transformation

Over the past few years, several GBS organizations have built and strengthened capabilities across a wide range of IT infrastructure services. Best-in-class GBS setups have achieved significant scale and penetration for IT infrastructure delivery and now support a wide range of functions – such as cloud migration and transformation, desktop support and virtualization, and service desk – with high maturity. In fact, some centers have scaled as high as 250-300 Full Time Equivalents (FTEs) and 35-45% penetration.

At the same time, these organizations are fraught with legacy issues that need to be addressed to unlock full value. Our research reveals that most enterprises believe that their GBS’ current IT infrastructure services model is not ready to cater to the digital capabilities necessary for targeted transformation. Only GBS organizations that evolve and strengthen their IT infrastructure capabilities will be well positioned to extend their support to newer or more enhanced IT infrastructure services delivery.

The need for an IT infrastructure revolution and what it will take

The push to transform IT infrastructure in GBS setups should be driven by a business-centric approach to global business services. To enable this shift, GBS organizations should consider a new model for IT infrastructure that focuses on improving business metrics instead of pre-defined IT Service Line Agreements (SLA) and Total Cost of Operations (TCO) management. IT infrastructure must be able to support changes ushered in by rapid device proliferation, technology disruptions, business expansions, and escalating cost pressures post-COVID-19 to showcase sustained value.

To transition to this IT infrastructure state, GBS organizations must proactively start to identify skills that have a high likelihood of being replaced / becoming obsolete, as well as emerging skills. They must also prioritize emerging skills that have a higher reskilling/upskilling potential. These goals can be achieved through a comprehensive program that proactively builds capabilities in IT services delivery.

In the exhibit below, we highlight the shelf life of basic IT services skills by comparing the upskilling/reskilling potential of IT services skills with their expected extent of replacement.

Exhibit: Analysis of the shelf life of basic IT services skills

Analysis of the shelf life of basic IT services skills

In the near future, GBS organizations should leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI), analytics, and automation to further revolutionize their IT capabilities. The end goal is to transition to a self-healing, self-configuring system that can dynamically and autonomously adapt to changing business needs, thereby creating an invisible IT infrastructure model. This invisible IT infrastructure will be highly secure, require minimal oversight, function across stacks, and continuously evolve with changing business needs. By leveraging an automation-, analytics-, and AI-led delivery of infrastructure, operations, and services management, GBS organizations can truly enable enterprises to make decisions based on business imperatives.

If you’d like to know more about the key business transformation trends for enterprises in  IT infrastructure, do read our report Exploring the Enterprise Journey Towards “Invisible” IT Infrastructure or reach out to us at [email protected] or [email protected]

Everest Group Reports Demand for IVA Technology Grew 42% in 2019, Projects 70% Growth Through 2022 After Momentary Dip Due to COVID-19 Pandemic | Press Release

IVA market growth will accelerate post-pandemic as enterprises strive to overcome recession with focus on automation, customer experience

The global Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA) market stood at US$300 million-US$350 million in 2019, exhibiting about 42% growth year on year, according to Everest Group. The firm projects a dip in demand in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but expects the IVA market to post strong growth going forward, achieving as much as a 70% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2022. In fact, Everest Group has boosted this estimate by 13-22%, anticipating that enterprises will place greater emphasis on cost reduction and improving business continuity in the post-pandemic period.

IVA solutions are a key enabler of automation in the front office, currently being used primarily for customer support as well as IT and help desk functions due to their large volumes of repetitive queries. These functions account for more than 80% of the IVA market today. Banking, insurance, and telecom industries account for the highest adoption of IVA and continue to exhibit impressive growth, particularly given the maturity of contact centers within these industries.

Increasing sophistication and collaboration with complimentary artificial intelligence (AI) based technologies are driving IVA popularity in the market. Enterprises across industries and geographies are leveraging or plan to leverage IVA solutions for different use cases to reduce human involvement and improve customer experience (CX).

“IVA is still in the realm of early adoption today, but that is rapidly changing as enterprises realize what a tremendous opportunity they have to leverage this technology,” said Anil Vijayan, vice president of Everest Group. “IVA technology is continuously advancing and growing in sophistication well beyond rule-based chatbots. Today we see a higher level of maturity in intelligent IVA applications, which are being used for a variety of use cases including payment services account resolutions and employee onboarding, for instance. We’re also beginning to see IVA playing a key role in conversational AI ecosystems, where a collaborative set of tools—including IVA, AI, robotic process automation, learning and listening engines, analytics and more—is used to seamlessly integrate front and back office systems. Here, IVA supports more advanced use cases such as cross-selling and upselling, customer retention, and making personalized recommendations. We expect this evolution to continue, leading to reliable and delightful customer experiences while reducing human effort through automation.”

These findings are discussed in more detail in Everest Group’s recently published report “Conversing with AI – Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA) State of the Market Report 2020.”  The report includes a detailed analysis of the IVA market, including a market overview and adoption trends, solution characteristics, vendor landscape, barriers to IVA adoption and best practices, and the outlook for 2020-2021.

Evolution of the IVA Market

  • The IVA market is witnessing a significant shift from rule-based solutions to AI-driven IVA solutions, propelled or aided by the following:
    • Increase in consumer demand for self-service
    • Integration of IVA solutions with critical enterprise back-end systems
    • Innovation of voice-based conversational capabilities
    • Shift from multi-channel to omnichannel delivery by software vendors
  • In order to meet the evolving CX needs, next-generation intelligent automation technologies are expected to witness high growth as they play a key role in transforming service delivery.
  • The conversational AI ecosystem in contact centers will enable seamless collaboration between front and back office and empower faster, more reliable, and lower cost operations.

*** Download a complimentary abstract of the report ***

About Everest Group
Everest Group is a consulting and research firm focused on strategic IT, business services, engineering services, and sourcing. Our clients include leading global enterprises, service providers, and investors. Through our research-informed insights and deep experience, we guide clients in their journeys to achieve heightened operational and financial performance, accelerated value delivery, and high-impact business outcomes. Details and in-depth content are available at http://www.everestgrp.com/.

Digital Experience Platform: A Key Lever for Insurer Differentiation and Growth | Blog

The challenge: insurers need an effective digital experience for their customers

As insurers cope with the impact of COVID-19 on multiple fronts, effective digital communication with their customers has become more important than ever. Transparent, relevant, and crisp customer communications are key differentiators. While insurers have historically relied on intermediaries to communicate with their customers, they have made significant movement toward direct-to-consumer communications; however, the pandemic has highlighted just how far they still have to go.

Insurers have to balance a wide variety of public-facing and back-office demands, challenging in any time, but especially so during a pandemic. On top of the ongoing work of claims intake and management, sales and distribution, new policy onboarding, business continuity, etc., insurers need to efficiently and effectively answer custom questions and solve problems, proactively communicate about pandemic-related initiatives (such as premium relaxations and rebates, relief programs, and flexibility around policy renewal) – essentially, support and service their policyholders in a time of great stress.

Insurers need to arm their agents with information and content, as well as a complete view of each customer, including content from a variety of sources and analytics to pull it all together and make sense of it. To do so, insurers need to collect and consolidate customer data from multiple sources, run AI-enabled analytics, and curate digital content assets for honest, empathetic, and relevant communication with customers. From there, they need to determine how to disseminate personalized content with an omnichannel approach to reach the customers in the ways best suited to their needs.

The potential answer: the Digital Experience Platform (DXP)

Digital experience is the key lever for insurers to pull to effectively communicate with clients and prospects, to offer the desired customer experience, and to meet the challenge posed by digital-native companies and InsurTechs. A successful digital experience strategy, driven by a fit-for-purpose product that can meet customer needs, impacts and enhances the entire customer journey, and is a strategic imperative for insurers. An effective digital experience platform can provide an omnichannel personalized experience to the end customer, offer a single view of the customer, innovate service delivery, and provide a smoother experience for agents.

At the center of the digital experience solution is the Digital Experience Platform (DXP). See Exhibit 1 for Everest Group’s vision of a DXP for insurers.

Everest Group’s vision of a DXP for Insurance

 

To orchestrate insurers’ digital content management needs, the DXP should offer

  • A configurable and structured content value chain with centralized content / digital asset management and templatized content creation
  • Responsive web design with an intuitive UI/UX for consistent omnichannel content delivery
  • Effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) to identify prospective customers

To meet customer expectations and maintain high levels of customer experience, the DXP needs to

  • Provide consistent and seamless omnichannel interactions
  • Map the customer journey and offer personalized experiences leveraging meaningful customer data analytics
  • Offers self-service portals to enable policy, billing, and claims management
  • Monitor customer feedback through internal metrics and external sources and identify and rectify pain points in the customer journey

To enable agents, brokers, and advisors to have meaningful customer interactions, the DXP must

  • Generate a unified, 360-degree view of the customer through internal and external data sources
  • Optimize workflow with a digital portal that provides self-service capabilities, simplified document management, a holistic view of the customer, relevant product information, and channels to communicate with underwriters to provide quick quotes
  • Provide sales support and leverage customer data to identify effective interaction levers, cross-/ up-sell opportunities, and win probability scores to help prioritize sales

To meet insurers’ technology needs, a DXP should offer

  • A robust Application Programmable Interface (API) framework for integration with the insurer’s systems
  • Internal and external data aggregation with AI-driven analytics to provide personalized experiences and enable agents
  • An app marketplace with insurance-focused apps and integration frameworks to enable product enhancements
  • Low-/no-code development features for minimal re/upskilling of the insurer’s workforce and enable automation to enhance operational efficiencies

The DXPs that can curate superior customer experiences, enable both customers and agents, and provide digital enablers to drive business impact lead the pack in Everest Group’s assessment of DXP vendor landscape for insurance, illustrated in exhibit 2.

Everest Group’s assessment of DXP vendor landscape for insurance

2

In our recently released report, Assessing Digital Experience Platforms in Insurance and Vendor Profiles 2020 – Building SUPER Insurance Experiences to Drive Differentiation and Growth, we take a closer look at digital experience trends in insurance and explore the impact of an effective digital experience strategy. The report includes a detailed analysis of 13 leading technology vendors on their DXPs’ capabilities and abilities to meet insurer needs.

Please feel free to reach out to [email protected] to share your experiences.

Microsoft Acquires Softomotive to Accelerate Its Dominance in RPA | Blog

Near the end of 2019, Microsoft added various RPA features to Flow, its automated workflow service, and rebranded it as Power Automate. It wasn’t surprising to see Microsoft getting into this space to embed RPA into its products such as Excel, PPT, Outlook, Teams, and SharePoint, and enable business users to automate tasks directly from these products. Now, with its acquisition of RPA software vendor Softomotive, it’s staking its claim in the US$1 billion RPA software market, accelerating its positioning in the RPA space, and offering greater depth and breadth of RPA capabilities to its customers.

This acquisition has come at a time when the demand for automation is being amplified due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and automation at scale is gaining pace. And it positions Microsoft as a serious contender for automation software needs as organizations are rethinking their automation strategies.

Here’s our take on the deal.

What Softomotive brings to Microsoft

Founded in 2005, Softomotive is a leading RPA software vendor with roots in desktop automation. Its popular desktop automation product, WinAutomation, helps automate tasks running on Windows-based applications and technologies. We positioned Softomotive as a Major Contender and a Star Performer in our 2019 RPA Products PEAK Matrix assessment for multiple reasons including:

  • Attended and unattended RPA for organizations of all sizes, through
    • WinAutomation, Softomotive’s desktop automation product, used primarily for attended RPA use cases. Robots are typically installed and executed on a user’s desktop in attended mode. It doesn’t have centralized control, monitoring, or governance capabilities, and is primarily suitable for small and medium-sized businesses
    • ProcessRobot, Softomotive’s enterprise RPA offering, delivers both attended (SideBot) and unattended (SoloBot) RPA capabilities along with centralized control, monitoring, and governance functionalities
    • Robin, Softomotive’s open-source RPA language for programmers. Microsoft’s immense presence and installed base could help make it popular enough in the developer community to force several other vendors to adopt it. And it could become a new standard for RPA programming and help Microsoft establish its thought leadership in the market
  • A comprehensive set of RPA features built over the past 15 years will help Microsoft expand the scope of its automation use cases
    • Drag-and-drop design studio with 300+ pre-built actions for developing automations
    • Web-based centralized interface for controlling and monitoring robots and features such as scheduling, queuing, and dynamic load balancing based on SLAs and priorities
    • Ability to multi-task/execute multiple automations in parallel on the same machine for higher resource utilization
    • Role-based access, version comparison tool, visual exception recording for enhanced debugging, and automation lifecycle management capabilities for higher collaboration across development, testing, and production stages
  • Pre-built connectors and integrations for greater ease of use
    • Softomotive has pre-built connectors with enterprise applications such as Java, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, Siebel, and mainframes, and support for major browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and IE, making it easier to automate tasks that involve these applications
    • Pre-built integrations with complementary capabilities such as cognitive/AI services from ABBYY, Google, IBM Watson, and Microsoft
  • An installed base of over 9,000 clients and recognition as a mainstream RPA player

What the acquisition means for the market

This acquisition validates the RPA space and reinforces the point that RPA will stick around for much longer than some have been predicting. It’s a big moment for the RPA market as a whole and could accelerate technology maturity, awareness, adoption, and development of RPA skills. It could drive or accelerate key market trends:

  • Consolidation/M&A activities – RPA is becoming a critical component of the enterprise software ecosystem for driving digital adoption and automation. In the last couple of years, we’ve seen multiple acquisitions such as Appian/Jidoka, Blue Prism/Thoughtonomy, Nintex/Foxtrot, and SAP/Contextor. These deals demonstrate that entry into this space isn’t very expensive, as there are many small RPA vendors with good offerings. This latest deal could encourage acquisition of RPA capabilities by other tech giants, BPM, and ERP companies in the coming months to offer a more holistic solution to their clients. On the flip side, just as UiPath did with its acquisitions of Step Shot and ProcessGold, there could be more instances of big RPA companies acquiring complementary capabilities to expand the scope of their solutions and increase their value propositions
  • Democratization of RPA – Microsoft products are used by most knowledge workers around the world. By making RPA another tool in its list of its Power products, Microsoft could accelerate the democratization of RPA and the concept of citizen developers. Because Microsoft Power Automate is available at much lower than the median pricing, other vendors will feel pressure to reduce their prices. To accelerate its adoption, it could also offer its RPA bundled with other Microsoft products without additional cost, making RPA more affordable and its business case more lucrative for organizations of all sizes. This move could accelerate RPA adoption among small and medium-sized businesses, where adoption has been growing at a relatively slower pace. Access to RPA as a plug-in directly from Microsoft’s products such as Excel, Outlook, Teams, Dynamics, and SharePoint would make it easy for business users to automate repetitive tasks. Instances of RPA being sold as a commodity are gaining momentum, and this could further accelerate that trend

What the acquisition means for other RPA vendors

With Microsoft going all-in on RPA with this acquisition, other RPA vendors will need to up their game to remain competitive. Microsoft will be able to deliver RPA that’s tightly and seamlessly integrated with its vast suite of business applications. To combat this move, other vendors will have to position themselves as specialists and best-of-breed providers of enterprise automation capabilities. Also, going forward, growth may elude pure-play RPA vendors; in order to thrive, they will have to either invest in other complementary areas such as AI and process mining, or be acquired. Note that today, most RPA players, including the big three, are offering complementary products in addition to RPA.

Additionally, Microsoft has deep integration, joint functionality development, and go-to-market partnerships with big RPA vendors including Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, and UiPath. These partners also contribute to Microsoft’s revenue through collaborations, such as Azure, and it’s likely that those partnerships will continue, and clients will be given flexibility to choose, as co-opetition it is becoming quite common in the enterprise software space. For example, UiPath acquired a process mining vendor, ProcessGold, but has maintained its partnership with Minit. Similarly, Blue Prism announced an Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) solution called Decipher, but has maintained its partnership with ABBYY.

Other things to watch out for

It will be interesting to see how well Microsoft is able to leverage this investment. It could take the company up to a year to come up with its integrated RPA offering and embed Softomotive at a technical level across its suite of software products. In the meanwhile, Microsoft has made WinAutomation available for free to all of its Power Automate customers. However, it remains to be seen how Microsoft plans to leverage Softomotive’s ProcessRobot and Robin. Some say Microsoft gets it right the third time. Flow was Microsoft’s first attempt at RPA, Power Automate was its second, and Softomotive is its third. So, will the third time be the charm for Microsoft?

Going forward, Microsoft could follow on with more acquisitions in other automation areas such as Intelligent Document Processing (IDP), Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA), process mining, and analytics to further establish itself in the intelligent automation space. An indication of this possibility is Microsoft’s late 2019 launch of Power Virtual Agents, a chatbot/IVA offering that’s based on its Bot Framework. Might IVA be the next area where Microsoft could make an acquisition, perhaps of one of the 16 IVA software vendors we assessed as part of IVA Products PEAK Matrix?

COVID-19 Business Crisis Proves Automation Matters | Blog

Consider what’s now happening at companies that made investments in automation and moving work to the cloud. They’re doing better than others in the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re more flexible under trying conditions. They’re more resilient to challenges. They are a bright spot in this awful crisis. The pandemic showed what companies invested in as preparation for challenges. Unfortunately, it also exposed companies that were less prepared. As I mentioned in my prior blog, the pandemic was like what Warren Buffet described as the tide going out, exposing naked swimmers. One fact that the COVID-19 crisis exposed is that automation matters.

Read my blog on Forbes

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