Sandy Kemsley just covered the IBM acquisition of WDG Automation, an RPA provider. I always recommend reading the analysis of folks like Sandy because she is an independent thinker with deep industry experience and long track record of helping her clients think through these issues. She is an RPA-skeptic, I think it if fair to say, but that doesn't discount her insights and advice on the topic at hand.
The briefing started with the now-familiar pandemic call to action: customer demand is volatile, industries are being disrupted, and remote employees are struggling to get work done. Their broad solution makes sense, it that is focused on digitizing and automating work, applying AI where possible, and augmenting the workforce with automation and bots. RPA for task automation was their missing piece: IBM already had BPM, AI and automated decisioning, but needed to address task automation. Now, they are offering their Cloud Pak for Automation, that includes all of these intelligent automation-related components.
This story is what appears to be driving the consolidation of RPA and Process Automation functionality in the market - with RPA vendors looking to add more process capabilities, and process vendors looking to add or acquire RPA technology. The question I have, as ever, is whether this RPA market was an Uber/Lyft land-grab distribution game, or is it more about having an integrated set of technologies that work well together. So far, the land-grab camp is winning the argument, but you can see firms like IBM making the bet on consolidation and integration.
It wasn't that long ago when Connie at Deep Analysis predicted a wave of consolidation - and at the time I didn't see it as that likely, given the amped up valuations of RPA vendors. But, what Connie probably knew and I didn't have a feel for, was just now many RPA vendors were out there to be acquired. I didn't expect that IBM and Appian and Microsoft would reach into the depth chart to find their RPA partners. But hey, that's why we have the job of building solutions at BP3 rather than analyzing markets!
Hop over to Sandy's blog to read the rest - almost as good as being at the analyst briefing!