30+ Robotic Process Automation Platforms and the future of RPA
Automation is eating the world, and the cusp of these changes are technologies like Data Science, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence. But RPA or Robotic Process Automation, a concept from the early noughties has become mainstream and is acting as the gateway drug for true automation.
RPA helps in streamlining and automating manual and repetitive tasks like data entry, document review, customer onboarding, and more.
When API's can’t help streamline a business process, then it gets transferred to a human and later it became Business Process Outsourcing. Now RPA is helping where APIs can’t. The general definition is automating business operations with the help of robots to reduce human interventions. Bots that mimic human action and follows a specific set of steps without much of human intervention.
In 2018, the RPA market hit $1.7B and was expected to become $2.3B this year and $4.3B by 2022.
To clearly understand this market, we will segment the market into three buckets.
RPA Software products and Platforms - Companies that create Software products and platforms which others can leverage to automate their business processes.
System integrators - Companies like Infosys, Accenture, Wipro that customize and integrate RPA products and platforms to suit the needs of the customers.
Enterprise software products - Like SAP, Pega and Oracle
For this report, we will be focusing on RPA software products and platforms.
RPA Industry Landscape
Right now, there are 32 key players in this segment. For a relatively small market, this industry has matured. With two major exits (IPO and acquisition), VCs are consolidating their positions by participating in Series A+ rounds.
In 2018, VCs poured more than $1B in 11 deals, and this year saw $608M in funding.
We can segment these companies into three significant buckets based on the level of automation their products and platforms are offering.
Basic Automation - Companies that use scripts to automate repetitive tasks like data capture, scraping websites and documents, and more. Generally, these companies work with structured data.
Cicero - A publicly-traded company that offers contact center analytics and back-office automation
Nice systems - A publicly-traded company that provides intent-based solutions to capture and analyze client interactions and transactions for businesses.
Jacada - Another publicly-traded company that offers customer self-service and human-assisted interactions.
Ayehu Software Technologies (Series A, $3M) - develops and markets eyeShare, a lightweight, enterprise-grade product for IT process automation.
Connotate (Acquired by import.io) - offering Web data monitoring and collection through a point and click interface and algorithms
Enhanced Automation - Companies in this bucket offer a platform that can work with unstructured data.
Hyperscience (Series B, $58.9M) - AI-based data processing and automation software.
Blue Prism - A publicly-traded company that offers RPA for enterprises
Softomotive (Series A, $25M) - provides an automation platform that enables organizations to develop, manage, and track their digital workforce.
OpenSpan (Acquired by Pegasystems) - provides of automation and workforce analytics software
Scalus (Series A, $9M) - offers an all-in-one solution for workflow, process automation, and collaboration.
Kofax - A publicly traded company that provides smart process applications software and related maintenance and professional services for the critical First Mile of interactions between businesses, government agencies, and other organizations
Cognitive or AI-based Automation - Companies in this bucket offer a platform that can automate decision-making tasks and use machine learning.
UiPath (Series D, $1,016.0M) - delivers free and open training and collaboration and enables robots to learn new skills through AI and machine learning.
Automation Anywhere (Series A, $550M) - offers software robots to automate business processes not automated by traditional technology platforms.
WorkFusion (Series E, $119.3M) - AI-driven automation and RPA software create and manage software robots for knowledge work.
Arago (Private Equity, $55M) an artificial intelligence (AI) company that helps businesses from the old economy to leverage their potential.
Loop AI Labs (Seed VC, $3.5M) - builds bots can autonomously learn and understand the human world by mirroring the same learning process that humans use
Robonomics AI - multiple automation technologies together to offer outcomes “as a service”.
Genfour (Acquired by Accenture) - provides a fully managed, digital workforce that consists of robotic process automation, cognitive technology, and attended desktop automation.
Presagen (Grant) - helps businesses automate human-centric tasks using behavioral Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to increase productivity and performance.
AntWorks (Series A, $15M) - Integrated artificial intelligence and cognitive automation solutions for enterprises.
Robotic Process Outsourcing
To predict the trends, we need to look at the end-users of RPA. Banks and Insurers are the earliest adopters of RPA. The insurance industry was one of the first to explore BPO and offshoring twenty years ago, and right now, RPA seems like the best way forward for them. Banks, on the other hand, are a little reluctant about outsourcing. So, they move their processes to their offshore shared service centers as privacy and compliance are some of the key reasons behind it. This year, Banks and Insurers will significantly increase their investments towards RPA.
The industries that need RPA are the industries that need to shed costs as soon as possible to remain viable. Some of these industries are
From what it looks, RPA will be the “new outsourcing” and most of the outsourcing deals will get spiked with RPA for efficiency sake.
Can these bots’ dreams come true?
On the platform side, despite the growth and funding, the industry is a long way from achieving its true potential. Here are some of the things these platforms must do to move the needle.
Expanding the developer ecosystem - Like training courses/videos, developer community building, more open source libraries, and functionalities.
Bring in the IT side and not just the business side - As the industry moves towards integrated automation, these platforms should bring in the IT side of the equation for better implementation.
Meaningful partnerships - partnering with academics, educational institutions, edtech companies, open-source partners, and solution providers to end the drought for talent and improve customer satisfaction.
Need to focus on core business processes of specific industries - like specific solutions and bots for underwriting in insurance or supply chain manufacturing rather than a general-purpose RPA product.
Better support - these platforms need to drastically improve and invest more on customer success teams to help their enterprise customers.
With a relatively small number of players in the market, the RPA industry has seen some insane funding, growth, exits, and acquisitions. Now, these platforms need to raise and spearhead the automation industry with a clear plan for enterprise customers.