Tag

Vendors

Have RPA Vendors been MARVELous? | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

By | Automation/RPA/AI, Blog

The relationship between RPA vendors and their clients isn’t so different from the relationship between Marvel Studios and its fans.

Since the movie Iron Man hit the big screen in 2008, fans’ expectations of superhero films have skyrocketed. Despite the rising and evolving expectations, Marvel has satisfied its audience and has made a little pocket change in the process.

In a similar way, RPA buyers are expecting increasingly more from their RPA vendors. So, have RPA technology vendors been MARVELous in their customers’ eyes?

The Drivers

Our recent research study among 50 enterprise RPA buyers makes it clear that vendors have excelled in addressing their primary drivers, which are cost reduction and process optimization.

However, vendors didn’t score as high on secondary drivers such as improved customer experience, governance, and top-line growth. With increasing awareness about the potential impact of RPA beyond immediate cost and efficiency benefits, enterprises have started to view RPA as a primary contributor to their digital strategy, rather than a tactical measure.

Consequently, technology vendors should focus on continuously evolving their RPA solutions with a host of capabilities to help enterprise buyers achieve their strategic business outcomes.

The Capabilities

As to be expected, the buyers in our research study found their RPA vendors excelled in certain areas and had work to do in others.

The key strengths for those vendors who were identified as the Leaders as per our PEAK Matrix™ assessment on RPA included:

  • Customer support and service
  • Ease of use and robot development
  • Vision and strategy

Key improvement areas for Leaders included:

  • Responsiveness
  • Product vision and strategy
  • Product training and support

The X Factors

As there are so many RPA tools available in the market, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, it can be daunting for enterprises to select the right vendor for their unique needs. One critical part of the decision-making process is to focus on the X factors that are most important to their strategic agendas.

Our study found that factors including “ease of use and robot maintenance” and “scalability” highly correlate to buyers’ overall satisfaction levels. This is not surprising, as these are factors that buyers typically face issues with during RPA adoption. “Product vision and strategy” – and in some cases vendor expertise in a specific vertical industry or function – are also important buyer X factors.

While it’s clear that RPA vendors can do more to satisfy the needs of their customers – and that they’ll need to continually evolve their solutions – they have indeed been relatively MARVELous in delivering value and overall satisfaction to their buyers.

To learn more, please read our report “Buyer Satisfaction with RPA – How Far or Close is Reality From Hype.”

 

 

A New RPA Unicorn is Born | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

By | Blog

UiPath recently made history by becoming the first Romanian RPA unicorn, thanks to $153 million Series B funding provided by a group of investment firms led by Accel and including CapitalG and Kleiner Perkins. This is the largest round of funding to date in the RPA market, leading to a valuation of over $1bn for UiPath – a unicorn. It is good news for all vendors and buyers as well.

What it means for the RPA market

Other examples of increased investment in the RPA industry include Blue Prism raising £70m ($100m) in funding through new share issuance in January 2018 and WorkFusion raising $35m in Series D financing in January 17.

The fact that investors are willing to put in these huge sums of money is great news for the industry for both buyers and vendors.

What it means for enterprises and RPA

  • This is an endorsement of not only UiPath but RPA as whole by the cream of Silicon Valley investment firms
  • These and other RPA investors will have completed many rounds of due diligence with the vendors, and in the process put a big lens on each software product
  • That RPA is here to stay – that the investors will be doing their best to make sure that the vendors and the platforms perform, to protect their investments
  • That there will be significant investment in enhancing the products to keep ahead in this very competitive market

What it means for other RPA vendors

For other RPA vendors, this may seem like a huge competitive threat but it also means that:

  • Other investment firms will be looking for similar deals. Consequently, we will see rising interest in other vendors and there are an increasing number. We have conducted in-depth assessments of 18 RPA vendors in the past six months and will be publishing our results very soon:
  • With both Blue Prism and UiPath now valued over $1bn, any RPA vendor thinking of issuing public shares will have a very strong backdrop for the IPO
  • It is great for the partners of RPA vendors, particularly technology partners that are likely see more resources thrown at their integrations with the RPA platforms

What could happen next in RPA

Organic or inorganic growth: We now have several RPA companies that are flush with cash; most were already able to operate in a cash-positive manner, so these funds provide for accelerated investments. Some have had the money for longer than others and have invested in organic growth, e.g., opening new offices and hiring more staff. This is a path that UiPath, Blue Prism and WorkFusion have taken already. Expect more announcements from some of them on this front. For UiPath, given that CapitalG is an investor, we expect to see much more integration with Google AI/ML technology.

Then there is the inorganic growth option – to acquire complementary capabilities. This could be cognitive or other technologies to enhance the core RPA capabilities or growing their professional services to accelerate adoption/training. We believe this is highly likely.