Tag: RPA

Digital Transformations: 5 Emerging Trends in the Intelligent Process Automation Market

The pandemic’s effects on the digital landscape are long-lasting. Businesses are evolving to rely on the intelligent process automation market (IPA) to promote growth and keep up with competitors. Read on to learn more about five growing IPA trends.

In a world becoming increasingly reliant on technology, financial services organizations are digitizing and automating more processes to keep up with the competition. The intelligent process automation market, growing by about 20% across all fields, is now becoming ubiquitous.

IPA is defined as automation in business processes that use a combination of next-generation automation technologies — such as robotic process automation (RPA) and cognitive or artificial intelligence (AI)-based automation, including intelligent document processing and conversational AI. Solution providers are offering solutions across RPA, Intelligent Document Processing (IDP), and workflow/orchestration, as well as crafting innovative solutions such as digital Centers of Excellence (CoE) and investing more in as-a-Service offerings.

In our recent Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) – Solution Provider Landscape with PEAK Matrix® Assessment 2022 report, our analysts ranked IPA technology vendors and looked at the market for IPA solutions. Based on the research, the growth of IPA technology and reliance will expand to around 25% over the next three years.

Five intelligent process automation market trends enterprises should know

The question of how to become faster, more efficient, and more resilient is the focus for just about any organization undergoing digital transformation. Very often, the answer to this question is at least, in part, intelligent process automation. In the near future, we can see five emerging IPA trends:

  1. IPA will get smarter

A greater proportion of cognitive elements is finding its way into the intelligent process automation market. About 60% of new automation projects involve more advanced cognitive tools such as IDP, conversational AI and anomaly detection. As the maturity of AI-based solutions increases, cognitive automation will be in greater demand. All-round adoption of IPA will be fueled by providers entering new geographies and organizations starting IA initiatives.

  1. IPA will be more scalable

Although many organizations are trying to adopt intelligent process automation, the real question is if it can be scaled up or, in other words, if it can be brought across the organization. To help enterprises scale automation, solution providers are investing in expanding their partner ecosystem, strengthening technology capabilities, and enhancing their services portfolio.

Providers are also expected to help enterprises scale up through more effective change management and CoE set-up strategies. Aided by the prevalence of process intelligence solutions to form robust pipelines and orchestration tools to facilitate holistic automation, enterprises are better equipped now to move away from siloed applications of IA to scaled-up automation implementations.

  1. Citizen development will grow

Many organizations are experimenting with what they can do with citizen development, especially with the current talent shortage. Citizen-led development also holds the power to disrupt the current state of building automation and addresses the issue of talent availability. Solution providers are expected to invest in citizen development and low-code/no-code technologies enabling business users to build automation, consequently also addressing the talent shortage in the market.

Solution and technology providers are also expected to invest substantially in developing the low-code/no-code capabilities of their platforms to enable business users with limited technical exposure to build automation solutions on their own. A few solution providers are implementing citizen development programs in their own organizations and are planning to leverage the learnings to develop effective governance programs for enterprises.

  1. IPA service providers will bring IPA solutions packages to the market

Packaged solutions are gaining traction in the IPA market due to their ease of implementation and quick Return on Investment (RoI). Solutions for F&A are the most prevalent in the market. These solutions will need training on particular data sets to make them functional for a particular process, but they will speed up implementation. Providers are expected to take conscious steps toward promoting sustainable AI by developing solutions complying with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) parameters. They are also investing in AI solutions that are transparent about their working and usage of data.

  1. IPA service providers will pre-build connectors to legacy and other systems

There are a host of technologies, including RPA, conversational AI, process mining, and process orchestration in the IA ecosystem. Very often these IA solutions need to talk to the various other systems. Many IPA service providers are driving innovation and crafting new solutions to keep pace with the fast-moving IPA market and create a more holistic integration process. One such method is offering enabling capabilities like pre-built connectors for a faster and less complex implementation.

If you would like to learn more or discuss the intelligent process automation market and IPA trends, reach out to [email protected].

Learn how the healthcare industry is utilizing intelligent automation, digitalization, and telehealth as fundamental driving forces to transform and evolve in the webinar, How Intelligent Document Processing Is Transforming the Healthcare Industry.

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].

Rise Above the Pandemic With an Automation-First BPO Strategy | Webinar

Only a small percentage of enterprise call-centers use Robotic Process Automation or Intelligent Virtual Agents at scale in the front or back office. Everest Group’s Skand Bhargava join Jacada’s Scott Merritt, Global Head of Automation, to discuss how the current pandemic will change the way organizations will engage with BPO partners. Key learnings you can expect include:

  • How BPO partners can innovate to help solve contact-center pain points
  • How BPOs can leverage automation to drive seamless customer interactions, potentially eliminating the need for live assistance or back-office follow-ups.
  • How Intelligent Virtual Agents can add a layer of intelligence to existing RPA bots, creating a new zone of excellence.
  • How leading BPOs successfully monetize the value they create through intelligent automation.

Who Should Attend

  • Customer Operations, Contact Centers & Customer Service Pros
  • Customer Experience Strategy & Execution Pros
  • COOs, CIOs, CTOs and Digital Transformation Pros
  • BPOs, Vendor Management Pros

When

June 16, 2020; 11:00 AM EST

Presenters

Skand Bhargava
Vice President
Everest Group
 

Scott Merritt
Global Head of Automation
Jacada

 

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?

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