Microsoft and the emerging RPA Landscape

We had more action on RPA last week – one of the news outlets ran a headline saying:

Microsoft’s Acquisition Of RPA Firm Softomotive Prompts Sector Leaders Including UiPath And Automation Anywhere To Brace For War.

Business Insider

The headlines may be a bit jazzier than the actual situation but things sure are getting interesting! 

Here is how I see the emerging landscape: 

Microsoft RPA with Softomotive.
I have already heard a few people with hundreds of Bots enquire how they can migrate out of their current tool. This is because the cost difference is huge on a longer-term basis. With the acquisition of Sofotomotive, Microsoft has suddenly become a pretty good RPA option with a solid bang for the buck. They have included Softomotive at no extra cost for the current subscribers.

The Softomotive tool though still has its limitations since it was one of the least costly tools that did not have much hype and so lesser dollars to add features. 

Existing RPA Players 
The current RPA players say they welcome more competition and are re-checking their strategies. UiPath wants to add more R&D firepower – they announced that they are adding 100 new R&D open positions. 

The current players still have the best RPA tools in the market having matured their libraries working with many real-world clients. They have been evolving into some of the best Automation platforms with RPA at the core. 

The best strategy for the current RPA vendors is to be the Hedgehog and do ONE thing well. If you do not know the Hedgehog concept – it comes from the book Good to Great “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” Great companies have an understanding of what they can be the best at.

Open Source RPA
I had a session with Robocorp Founder Antti Karjalainen this week. Robocorp has been getting a lot of attention in Silicon Valley and has raised more than 11M towards its RPA efforts. As he says, $0 bots open up more automation possibilities – you can focus on benefits rather than justifying bot costs. 

We also have other pretty good Open Source RPA options coming up. Robin, the RPA programming language from Softomotive also should get a boost with the Microsoft community. 

So, the overall RPA landscape looks pretty exciting. Add new players like SAP, Appian, and 70+ existing RPA vendors in different niches – we are surely in for more action in 2020. Watch this space! 

Here is a quick cartoon I came up as I thought through the current scenario 🙂 

I appreciate your comments and feedback! 

Last Updated on 28th May 2020

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