RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is software that anyone can use to automate manual tasks and business processes. The benefits of RPA are immediately quantifiable and the technology can make a big impact in any area of a business. RPA can speed up process completion, reduce errors, improve compliance, save time on audits and associated costs, and free up employees for higher-value tasks.
RPA Tools in Comparison: Who Can Do What?
With the increasing demand for Robotic Process Automation (RPA), the number of market participants or RPA tools is also growing. And so the question arises for many companies: Who offers an RPA tool and which provider has the right solution for you? In order to shed some light on the jungle of providers, we present below the most important software solutions for Robotic Process Automation and thus your business - without claiming to be absolutely complete.
1. Hyland (Another Monday)
Another Monday's product is built on an ecosystem of software agents that deliver the technology's key attributes of long-term stability and scalability. Another Monday views RPA as an enterprise software platform focused on sustainable value creation and governance of software bots. Another Monday AM Ensemble platform with the AM Conductor, AM Composer, AM Recorder, and AM Monitor introduces a client-centric architecture with a decentralized execution model where no centralized application is required to run, manage and deploy a software bot.
Combined with encryption capabilities and a separate message layer, these architectural principles stand in stark contrast to the relatively tactical focus of most competitors in the RPA market on automating processes. Another Monday's RPA approach places its emphasis on completed transactions, which translates into a simple pricing model to support any size business. Another Monday applies a "pay per use" pricing model - with micropayments per successful transaction. Another Monday employs 125 people and is based in Cologne, Germany.
In August 2020, Another Monday was acquired by Hyland, a leading global provider of enterprise content services.
AntWorks, via its emphasis on artificial intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and related techniques, as well as its proprietary approach to a machine learning engine, natural language modeling, and a data capture engine, seeks to realize its vision of RPA and differentiate itself in the RPA market among all the robotic automation software tools. At its core is what AntWorks calls "fractal science," which the company uses to support image and pattern recognition instead of neural networks. Customers can choose from a variety of services and modules from the ANTstein version "Triangle" integrated enterprise automation platform. AntWorks offers accelerator templates for vertical industries such as banking and capital markets, insurance, CPG and retail, healthcare and life sciences, high-tech and telecommunications, media and entertainment, and transportation and logistics. AntWorks is headquartered in Singapore and says it employs 266 people, more than half of whom work in product development.
3. Automation Anywhere
Automation Anywhere operates a Bot Store - a marketplace for existing bots suitable for different roles. These so-called "digital workers" are given job titles by the company, such as "digital employee onboarding specialist," which can identify, shortlist, and onboard candidates. Also on offer are bots suited to specific tasks, such as autonomously converting text to speech. The Bot Store is one of the largest RPA marketplaces in the world, with more than 1,000 pre-built intelligent automation solutions. With a global network of 2,000 partners, Automation Anywhere has implemented over 2.4 million bots to support some of the world's largest companies across all industries. Originally founded in 2003 as Tethys Solutions, the company took its current name in 2010 to reflect its focus on robotic process automation. Automation Anywhere is based in San Jose, California, with more than 2,400 employees - about a quarter of whom work in product development.
AutomationEdge specializes in IT process automation, such as extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL) components. It offers a cloud-based RPA-as-a-Service offering as well as an on-premises RPA model. AutomationEdge focuses on finance, IT service management (ITSM), and data operations, offering out-of-the-box connectors for leading mainframe, ERP, and CRM platforms, as well as partnerships with leading ITSM vendors such as BMC, ServiceNow, and Cherwell. AutomationEdge has a marketplace of more than 400 pre-built bots developed by customers and partners. These bots are targeted at common business functions in verticals such as banking, finance, insurance, government, and IT. In addition to these pre-built bot solutions, AutomationEdge has used machine learning models to provide intelligent support desk operations, customer engagement management, and case management scenarios. The company is headquartered in Pune, India, and employs nearly 200 people.
5. Blue Prism
UK-based Blue Prism counts companies such as eBay, NHS, and Walgreens among its customers. The intelligent RPA platform is available in both on-premise and SaaS variants and sees industries such as the public sector, manufacturing, and financial services as ripe for RPA implementation. Blue Prism features a drag-and-drop interface based on linkable objects with actions and events, with created processes leaving a detailed, auditable path. The company was founded back in 2001. Blue Prism is headquartered in Warrington, UK, and employs more than 1,000 people.
EdgeVerve is a subsidiary of Indian multinational Infosys and was founded in 2014 with a focus on enterprises. After acquiring Infosys' financial banking solution in 2015, the company offers this suite along with its AssistEdge RPA automation platform and AssistEdge Smart User Environment (SE), which has an end-to-end RPA service. The company bills the evolution of RPA as "human-empowered automation" - a seamless interaction between human and digital workers. EdgeVerve is based in Bengaluru, India, and employs more than 2,000 people.
Google Cloud and RPA provider Automation Anywhere announced a new partnership on March 15 that will see the vendors jointly develop AI- and RPA-based products. According to Google, Google Cloud will integrate Automation Anywhere's RPA capabilities into some of its services - including Appsheet, Apigee, and AI Platform. The partnership will also make Google Cloud the primary cloud provider for Automation 360, Automation Anywhere's a cloud-native automation platform. In turn, Automation Anywhere becomes Google Cloud's preferred RPA partner - so it's a win-win situation for both software specialists.
HelpSystems offers a variety of IT management products in addition to its RPA offering.HelpSystems aims to provide an affordable RPA offering for enterprise and mid-market customers. HelpSystems' Automate Enterprise version supports the basic functions of RPA, such as task automation, user interface interaction, and management, and features a library of predefined actions and connectors, as well as an easy-to-use editor and performance summary dashboard. Licensing is based on traditional software licensing models. The company is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn. HelpSystems employs approximately 1,200 people.
Kofax Kapow is an RPA platform with analytics and process information. Kapow Design Studio provides an intuitive, non-programmable robot design environment where designers interact with applications, websites, and other data sources to visually map the automation flow. Robot designers are able to integrate business logic to handle exceptions, transform data and send alerts to users as part of overall robot automation. Kapow also includes a feature called "snippets," which are pre-built automation steps that can be reused by multiple robots and maintained separately from the robot. Kofax is based in Irvine, California, and employs more than 1,900 people.
10. Nintex (Kryon)
Kryon (now part of Nintex) provides support for supervised and unsupervised RPA with strong differentiation around the automatic recognition of task patterns in processes. In addition to its core product, Kryon RPA Platform, the vendor has strong process/task discovery capabilities. Kryon Process Discovery uses machine learning to derive sophisticated task descriptions based on captured keystrokes, mouse clicks, data inputs, and outputs from business users. These discovery-focused tools provide visibility and insight into how tasks are completed, the result of which is then used to configure the automation of those tasks. Kryon's vision is to create a bot exchange marketplace, better analysis of employee productivity, predictive and preventive analytics, and in-product communication to optimize collaboration and coordinate RPA implementations. The company is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, and employs about 100 people.
Microsoft Power Automate (formerly Microsoft Flow) is Microsoft's cloud-based workflow engine that automates workflows between apps and services. Power Automate integrates with Microsoft solutions such as Office 365, SharePoint, Excel, and Teams via connectors. Power Automate's own RPA feature, UI Flows, is a point-and-click way to turn manual processes into automated workflows using software frameworks that do not support API automation. Power Automate Desktop for creating automated desktop-centric workflows is the result of combining Softomotive's WinAutomation platform with existing Microsoft Power Automate capabilities following Microsoft's acquisition of Softomotive in early 2020. Work r school account users can also download Power Automate Desktop without a license and log in to Power Automate Desktop. In that case, desktop flows will be stored in the Dataverse database of the company's default environment on OneDrive. Power Automate Desktop includes 370 pre-built actions that can be used to create flows across different applications. Microsoft is headquartered in Redmond, Washington state. The company employs nearly 170,000 people.
NICE is a software technology provider of Workforce Engagement Management (WEM) solutions for customer service applications, case management, and employee engagement. The RPA offering of NICE Advanced Process Automation Suite, NICE Robotic Automation, NICE Desktop Automation, and NICE Desktop Analytics complements the WEM capabilities, with a focus on supervised RPA. NICE Advanced Process Automation is offered both on-premises and as SaaS, as well as public and private cloud options. NICE Advanced Process Automation also includes specialized, mentored bots to extend workforce management functionality across a range of vertical industries, including finance, banking, telecommunications, and manufacturing. NICE Advanced Process Automation includes an embedded conversational agent known as NICE Employee Virtual Attendant (NEVA). NEVA provides process/task recognition and predictive analytics. From an AI perspective, NICE has several built-in capabilities, including real-time voice guidance, NLP-based text analytics, and unsupervised machine learning. The company is based in Hoboken, New Jersey, and employs about 7,000 people.
NTT's RPA tool was developed by NTT Group, NTT Advanced Technology (NTT-AT), and NTT DATA. The number of employees involved in RPA is not broken down. The WinActor RPA product is composed of WinActor, a personal-client-based RPA tool; WinActor Manager, a Web-based administration tool; and WinDirector, a Windows-based administration tool. WinActor is an easy-to-use drag-and-drop graphical RPA modeling tool that allows users to record their actions, creating the basis for these automations, which can then be extended through grouping and looping constructs. Although the tool can incorporate enterprise applications and interaction with Web sites, it is best suited for automating stand-alone, PC-based tools. NTT Group is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, and employs more than 280,000 people.
Pegasystems specializes in customer relationship management software. The company's automation offerings are based on the Pega platform, which enables the creation of apps without code. To maximize the impact of its RPA capabilities, Pegasystems' Opportunity Finder uses machine learning to find optimal areas for automation. Pegasystems offers RPA both as a standalone product (Pega Robotic Automation) for task automation and as a complement to its iBPMS product - Pega Infinity - for longer-term process choreography and business rules capabilities. The capabilities will be delivered both on-premise and in the cloud through the Pegasystems Infinity offers. Pegasystems not only view RPA as a standalone product but also aims to tightly integrate RPA with its BPM suite and associated CRM applications. Pegasystems, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has nearly 6,000 employees.
Softomotive's RPA platform consists of two different tools, ProcessRobot and WinAutomation. ProcessRobot is the enterprise-level environment that supports distributed architecture and centralized management of RPA implementations. WinAutomation is a standalone, self-contained RPA tool designed for rapid deployment. Softomotive's product was designed from the ground up to be vertically and horizontally scalable. The development environment uses a modern user interface that supports drag-and-drop, inline recording, comprehensive testing and exception handling, and effective data-level reuse mechanisms. The ProcessRobot Control Desk application also includes native capabilities for controlling deployment, testing for error-free execution, and managing concurrency policies. The company is based in London, United Kingdom, and employs approximately 160 people.
In 2020, Microsoft acquired Softomotive to add low-code robotic process automation capabilities to Microsoft Power Automate.
UiPath is an RPA specialist that offers several products to automate repetitive manual tasks, which the company claims are the future of work. UiPath touts the ease of use of its automation designer. UiPath's robots are capable of working both attended, such as in help desks and call centers in collaboration with humans, and unattended. UiPath's RPA platform provides an intuitive user experience for business users, citizen developers, and experienced IT developers. It has relatively high security, resilience, and integration capabilities. Its more than 100 technology partners offering complementary technologies and tools enabled it to support integrations with major products and applications in the BPM, process mining, and AI fields. Although the company is now headquartered in New York, it was founded in 2005 in Bucharest, Romania. The company employs more than 3,000 people worldwide.
WorkFusion likes to point to its roots in machine learning and AI research, emphasizing the intelligent side of its RPA capabilities and setting itself apart from its competitors with rapid deployment within 12 weeks. WorkFusion Intelligent Automation includes RPA Express and enterprise-focused Smart Process Automation (SPA). An integrated BPM canvas enables developers to coordinate RPAs, with clear loops and machine learning elements. Business analytics provides the ability to drill down into individual cases and identify root causes of errors that impact machine learning and process execution. With its patented Process AutoML technology, WorkFusion seeks to democratize machine learning for business professionals by eliminating the time-consuming and costly data science work associated with cleaning data, training models, and validating automated work. WorkFusion's Intelligent Automation Cloud Ecosystem, which boasts the intelligence, simplicity, and scalability of its solution, is available in business and enterprise tiers, as well as a free Express version for personal automation projects. The company is headquartered in New York City and employs nearly 300 people.
By thinning all the RPA tools and selecting the right solution, companies can realize the full potential of automating important processes. But as diverse as the RPA tools are, so too are the approaches taken by the individual RPA providers. Furthermore, it should not be assumed that similar to the automation of processes with iPaaS platforms, easy-to-use low-code or even no-code software is always available here. Implementing Robotic Process Automation definitely requires experience with code.
Which RPA tools from which provider are ultimately the best for the company and its automation strategy for internal processes ultimately depends on the goals that are to be achieved with process automation, to what extent and in what time frame, and not least on the processes that are to be automated.