Snowflake, UiPath launch integration to automate data prep

The collaboration between the data cloud vendor and robotic process automation vendor will enable joint customers to automate data pipelines used to fuel business applications.

Snowflake and UiPath unveiled a new integration that will enable joint customers to automate data preparation tasks directly in Snowflake.

With the integration, joint users of Snowflake's data cloud and UiPath's robotic process automation (RPA) capabilities can now use UiPath's robots to connect data to business process applications in Snowflake without using complex code to automate the data pipelines that inform those business processes.

In addition, the integration aims to improve developers' ability to access the data they need in Snowflake to create automated data pipelines and enrich their data by bringing together user interface and API automation.

The result will be faster time to value, according to the vendors.

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Snowflake and UiPath had a preexisting partnership that enabled UiPath to use Snowflake's platform to power Insights, UiPath's cloud-based analytics tool.

The new integration -- unveiled on Sept. 7 and free to customers of both vendors as part of their existing service deals -- marks the first bidirectional technology development between the vendors. It also makes UiPath the first RPA vendor to be designated a Technology Partner in the Snowflake Partner Network.

As a result, the integration stands to be of significant use for Snowflake customers who also use UiPath, according to Doug Henschen, analyst at Constellation Research.

This gives UiPath customers a way to automate their data pipelines and data enrichment processes using the platform that they have and with which they are familiar.
Doug HenschenAnalyst, Constellation Research

"It looks like a novel, first-mover partnership with Snowflake from an RPA vendor, as I'm not seeing RPA rivals in Snowflake's partner ranks," he said.

However, Henschen noted that Snowflake customers could get similar benefits by using automated data preparation and data enrichment tools offered by vendors with integration platform as a service (iPaaS) capabilities such as Informatica and Qlik -- with which UiPath has an integration -- that address the extract, load and transform process.

"This gives UiPath customers a way to automate their data pipelines and data enrichment processes using the platform that they have and with which they are familiar," he said.

Meanwhile, though Snowflake's integration with UiPath is its first with an RPA vendor, UiPath has integrations with other data management vendors, including Alteryx, AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft.

Impetus for the integration

Snowflake, founded in 2012 and now based in Bozeman, Mont., is a data cloud vendor whose data warehouse competes with AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and Databricks, among others.

Snowflake's data warehouse enables customers to access and work with their data directly in database, saving them the time and effort it takes to extract, load and transform data into another tool to prepare and analyze it, and then return it to its resting place when finished.

In addition to its data warehouse, Snowflake also enables users to build applications through its Snowpark set of services and capabilities.

UiPath, founded in 2005 and based in New York City, is an RPA vendor whose tools enable customers to automate repetitive tasks that otherwise would have to be done again and again by humans. Peers include Blue Prism and Automation Anywhere.

Recently, UiPath acquired natural language processing vendor Re:infer in an attempt to expand its capabilities beyond RPA.

The integration between Snowflake and UiPath was a natural next step for the vendors following the initial partnership between the two that enabled UiPath to power cloud-based capabilities with Snowflake, according to Dhruv Asher, senior vice president of business development and product alliances at UiPath.

"It's a natural evolution toward more enriched cloud-based offerings," he said. "More and more customers are choosing cloud for their automation initiatives, so orchestrating data workflows in cloud environments is a must-have when these businesses want to be agile and fast."

Example use cases for robotic process automation
RPA vendor UiPath and data cloud vendor Snowflake launched a new integration that will enable joint customers to automate repetitive data preparation tasks.

Future potential

While the integration marks the first technological development between Snowflake and UiPath, the potential exists for more, according to Henschen.

The relationship between RPA and analytics goes beyond data integration and data preparation to include text mining and document capture, and those could be use cases for further integrations between the vendors.

"Lots of RPA vendors have optical character recognition and document-capture capabilities for automatically reading and processing scanned images of paper documents, but that's not common in the iPaaS space, and it opens up novel use cases [for Snowflake and RPA vendors]," he said.

Meanwhile, as the demand for analytics continues to grow faster than the supply of data scientists and other data experts, Henschen said he expects increased demand for automation of analytics tasks, resulting in new opportunities for vendors like UiPath and its competitors.

Although the vast majority of the analysis that leads to insight and action -- the business intelligence layer of the analytics process -- remains a human endeavor, UiPath nevertheless lists Tableau and Qlik among its technology partners, and RPA vendor Blue Prism was an acquisition target of analytics vendor Tibco in 2021.

"Automation has been a hot theme throughout the pandemic period, and it's only accelerating," Henschen said. "It's being supported and promoted in multiple technology camps, including iPaaS, RPA, analytics and data science. With the shortage of talent these days and the push to automate repetitive manual work steps, I can only imagine that automation options will proliferate."

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