Slideshow 15 top providers for robotic process automation

Published
  • July 02 2018, 5:55am EDT
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The leading vendors in the RPA space

A growing number of organizations are investing in, or at least thinking about, robotic process automation, attracted by the promises of increased efficiencies and reduced costs. Forrester Research analysts Craig Le Clair, Glenn O’Donnell, William McKeon-White and Diane Lynch took a look at which firms lead the pack in their new Wave report, “Robotic Process Automation, Q2 2018: The 15 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up.”

Leaders

Three firms were named to the Leaders sector: Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism and UiPath. These three firms were found to have a strong current product offering and stronger strategy in the market.

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Automation Anywhere delivers an enterprise-grade digital workforce platform

“Automation Anywhere evolved from desktop integration solutions, providing a strong RPA foundation,” the analysts explain. “Its main verticals by revenue are banking and capital markets (33 percent), high-tech and telecom (15 percent), and healthcare and pharma (12 percent). Procure-to-pay, quote-to-cash, HR administration, claims processing, and other back-office processes represent the majority of use cases, balanced equally between direct and channel customers.”

Blue Prism offers secure, scalable, and central control

“Version 6.2 addressed soft spots from our 2017 evaluation,” the analysts say. “Attended use cases are now in scope with integration with Trust Portals, but overall, human-initiated bot activity isn’t this vendor’s strongest area. It has augmented Citrix and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) integration with published reference architectures and client experience. The design studio, like many in the field, leans IT- and programmer-heavy, but an improved drag-and-drop for design UI shows promise. In addition, the control-room environment would benefit from easier setup and a more intuitive feel.”

UiPath is a Leader with shared services and ease of bot design

“The design studio is based on Microsoft’s Workflow Foundation, and design is with Microsoft Suite components that garner high usability marks,” the analysts say. “UiPath Studio provides multiple methods to organize activity and tasks that cover a range of skills. The platform easily handles attended robots developed by employees as well as unattended robots that can handle large-scale processing.”

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Strong Performers

Seven firms were named as Strong Performers, which may have strong current product offerings, but are less strong in the strategy area. Names as Strong Performers are: EdgeVerve, Kofax, Kyron, NICE, Pegasystems, Thoughtonomy and WorkFusion.

EdgeVerve brings a combined services and product approach

“EdgeVerve blends services expertise with platform features. Frameworks for an automation center of excellence, RPA governance and process discovery flank the product,” the analysts say. “The design studio now has drag-and-drop features, and users can record the desktop and transpose results into an automation script. Strong desktop analytics combines with proprietary process mining to provide automation insight. Improved surface automation allows bots to automate actions on complex documents such as dynamic PDFs.”

Kofax shifts focus to software robotics

The architecture of Kofax’s RPA product is elegant,” the analysts say. “Customers can deploy and scale RoboServers using Docker containers, which is more cost-effective than more traditional RPA deployments using managed virtual machines. Each desktop contains only a small agent rather than a full RPA automation, which then connects to the management console to dispatch a stored automation. This keeps the footprint for each virtual environment to a minimum.”

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Kryon builds from contact center performance assessment

“Bot design uses various scripting languages viewed as plug-ins, databases and file system operations,” the analysts explain. “Bot deployment efficiency with intelligent queue management and hybrid support (combining attended and unattended support) are strong in the product. It has a Microsoft-based architecture with modest infrastructure requirements and limited requirements for third-party products (e.g., versioning, reporting, or credential management).”

NICE surrounds automation with analytics

“A new UI targeted at unattended automations is now in the field and improves usability,” the analysts explain. “Smart recording (record and play) is available but doesn’t advance initial design. NICE has a wide analytics portfolio, including a chatbot, its own text analytics and a Celaton partnership for invoice processing. Stronger connection and packaging with the RPA platform would be a win. Upgrades, browser support, and release management have improved as a standalone software unit.”

Pegasystems merges robots, analytics, and case management

RPA is more of a spoke to Pegasystems than a hub, the analysts say. “It surrounds a digital core that includes case management, real-time interaction management (RTIM) and various CRM solutions. A limited-use license for Pegasystems’ case management product now comes with an RPA purchase. Pegasystems’ strategy is straightforward: Provide quick value with RPA that requires minimal architecture, then follow with Workforce Intelligence (WFI), which may lead to BPM, case management, customer service apps or more advanced analytics.”

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Thoughtonomy provides a SaaS-based platform for frictionless work

Thoughtononomy uses OEM components for its design studios but has added value and plugged gaps with most differentiated platform elements, the analysts say. “It includes AI capabilities within its platform, including NLP, analytics, chat, computer vision, and ML, that allow crisp packaging and pricing, but it needs to keep up with open source and cloud development.”

WorkFusion remains focused on human/machine collaboration

“WorkFusion focuses on unattended use cases that are operationally rich, with attended use cases secondary,” the analysts explain. “Making AI self-service for businesspeople is a primary focus. This vendor believes that enterprises don’t want data and analytics based in megaclouds but prefer targeted internal data sets. It delivers preloaded algorithms for data extraction, classification, unstructured decisions and predictions tuned to select use cases. Other patterns initiate automation via files, databases, and schedulers, accepting input variables for REST services to trigger a process.”

The contenders

Five first were named to the Contenders sector, based on market strategies that were not as strong as the firms cited as Strong Performers. There are: Another Monday, AntWorks, Contextor, Redwood Software and Softomotive.

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Another Monday takes a broader automation view

“A major product release in early 2018 pushed Another Monday into the general RPA platform market,” the analysts explain. “The designer provides flexibility and depth but doesn’t emphasize some RPA basics, such as recording and screen object inheritance. The platform depends too much on its own services and needs to develop build-your-own-bot approaches to advance further in the general market. Another Monday believes that enterprises will end up with multiple RPA platforms.”

AntWorks builds from unstructured content

AntWorks has three separate products that work together, the analysts explain. “Computer vision attacks unstructured content with text analytics and improves on limitations of OCR for some use cases. RPA provides supporting automation, and a third product provides ML to drive decisions based on data and bot actions. The machine learning is fractal-based, which requires less training data then neural networks. AntWorks has the tools to reduce bot maintenance and a dynamic recording process for desktop analytics.”

Contextor is an integrated development environment that targets agility

“Enterprises deploy the Contextor solution as back- or front-office, including point-of-sales and branch-office use cases, but attended operations are the strongest fit,” the analysts explain. “The robot design has improved and starts with a capture of objects (fields, attributes and labels) directly from the application. This creates a library that customers can use for bot development. New to this evaluation is a graphical icon-based designer to build the wireframe for the bot and jumpstart initial design, but the developer often drops into JavaScript scripting to complete a macro.”

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Redwood Software blends RPA with a broader process focus

“Plugging inefficiencies in Oracle and SAP enterprise apps has been a full-time and successful effort for Redwood Software,” the analysts note. “It reduces manual labor in supply chain, logistics, forecasting, eCommerce delivery and financial posting. Robot deployment times are reduced by a catalog of Oracle, SAP, and other automations but still not easily deployed without Redwood services. Redwood Software has an elegant architecture. A bot accepts external variables from a process to execute its routines.”

Softomotive is for those that want to start small and get fast ROI

“Softomotive has 7,000 customers, including both WinAutomation and its server-based RPA solution, ProcessRobot,” the analysts say. “ProcessRobot provides distributed enterprise features and a clean and smooth upgrade from standalone desktop versions. Softomotive supports two robot deployment options: a ‘sidebot’ run in attended operation and a ‘solobot’ for unattended work run from a server. Ease of deployment has led to traction against larger RPA platforms in some enterprise accounts looking for quick value.”