This post is based on a Webinar. If you like to watch that for more details, it is here.
We live in a complex world with rapidly evolving Technologies. The rate of human progress has increased exponentially what Ray Kurzweil calls “The Law of accelerating returns”
In a world of exponential Technologies, it becomes difficult for any single person or vendor or provider to have all the answers. So we have to make sense of these Technologies together – a networked sense-making
Towards this many of the software vendors including the top RPA vendors are inviting all of us to be part of this sense-making. They’re moving towards being platforms where all of us can participate.
In the RPA world, the core platform includes bot(s), a studio and a controller. I like to call this the “operating system” for bots because they provide you a way to build and manage the Bots.
You configure your workflows within the studio and attach them to the Bots which is deployed and managed using a Controller. The terms for these components may change like the Controller may be called Orchestrator or Control room but the core philosophy of the RPA tools remains the same.
This was and remains the core platform. Now there are many components plugging into this provided by the vendors themselves, their partners and people like you and me.
One of the key areas of innovation plugging into this platform is happening upstream to discover the processes. The Process discovery component is being included by the vendor themselves or is being provided by partners. Some vendors are claiming that a major chunk of the automation workflow can be automatically generated using this tool.
Within the platform, many of the RPA vendors are including more and more components which they see as strategic and necessary for the tools to be successful. For example, Blue prism just came out with Decipher which addresses unstructured data. UiPath has a multitude of “Activity packs” and Automation anywhere has many reusable components through their Bot store.
These components can mostly be included in your workflows through drag-and-drop interfaces. I think the RPA vendors will keep adding these drag-and-drop components as needed. But there is a limit to what each of the vendors can develop.
This is where it gets interesting – the tool vendors are adopting a Platform approach where you and me can contribute to this ever-increasing components for automation. You can contribute components even now though it cannot be monetized. I think we are moving to a future where we would have wider participation and you can monetize what you contribute.
So we are moving to an app store like approach where you have different operating systems and applications for those operating systems. Like you participate in the Google Play Store or IOS app store you have different RPA platforms on which you can automate Enterprises using the respective ecosystems.
Finally, this platform sits on top of a foundation enabled by the RPA vendors. This includes a learning academy where you can learn and try out the tools. You also have a community where you can make sense of the evolving technologies together. The vendors also have an ecosystem of Partners that can help you with your automation.
So this is what I see as the emerging RPA platform. A platform where you can use the rapidly emerging technologies to solve real-world business problems.