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RPA vendor Automation Anywhere to acquire FortressIQ

The acquisition is expected to help the vendor advance its AI platform with process discovery, while giving it a well-rounded product in time for its public offering.

Automation Anywhere has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire FortressIQ, a process discovery and mining vendor.

The robotic process automation (RPA) vendor revealed details surrounding the acquisition on Dec. 23. The acquisition is set to close in early January. Neither Automation Anywhere nor FortressIQ disclosed the cost of the acquisition.

Founded in 2003, Automation Anywhere is seen as one of the top independent RPA vendors, along with UiPath. The vendor provides customers with tools to automate business processes using AI-powered "digital workers," or bots.

The acquisition of FortressIQ will allow Automation Anywhere to advance its AI-powered, cloud-native Automation 360 platform with process discovery, intelligence and optimization so customers can scale to any system or application. Customers will also get new tools with built-in intelligence to quickly identify which processes can and should be automated.

"FortressIQ is a way of supercharging RPA because it allows us to feed new things to automate into our platform and do it really efficiently and effectively," said Mike Micucci, Automation Anywhere's chief operating officer.

Preparing to go public

This acquisition of FortressIQ is going to help them say 'we have all the pieces required for large scale projects, large scale automation or digital transformation projects.'
Kashyap KompellaAnalyst, RPA2AI Research

The acquisition is a way for the vendor to round out its product portfolio as it races toward an IPO in 2022, said RPA2AI Research analyst Kashyap Kompella.

"This acquisition of FortressIQ is going to help them say 'we have all the pieces required for large-scale projects, large-scale automation or digital transformation projects,'" Kompella said.

Since process intelligence -- which consists of process mining and process discovery -- is a complementary technology to process automation, many of the large players in the RPA market have added it to their portfolio before going public. Automation Anywhere competitor UiPath similarly acquired ProcessGold, a process mining vendor, as it prepared for an IPO two years ago. Other RPA vendors, including Kyron, also have strong process intelligence capabilities.

"On the process intelligence front, this acquisition helps Automation Anywhere catch up," Kompella said.

An interesting position

The acquisition puts FortressIQ in an interesting situation. The vendor -- founded in 2017 -- has technology partnerships with Microsoft Power Automate and Blue Prism, which competes with Automation Anywhere.

Last year, Microsoft acquired RPA vendor Softomotive to provide a low-code system for its Power Automate users. And while Blue Prism is expected to be acquired by Vista, a private equity firm, the RPA vendor used to be one of the top vendors in the process automation space.

As FortressIQ integrates with Automation Anywhere, its partnerships with Microsoft and Blue Prism are likely to be deprioritized, Kompella said. Customers using Microsoft Power Automate or Blue Prism should develop a long-term strategy for their process planning, Kompella said.

FortressIQ founder and CEO Pankaj Chowdhry said that while partnerships are great, being acquired by Automation Anywhere provides value to customers. He said customers want a company that can be a single point to take them from the discovery process to realize value, which is hard to do with partnerships.

"The combination with Automation Anywhere … we get a deeper level of integration," Chowdhry said. "We can impact their roadmap, they can impact our roadmap, so we can deliver to customers effectively."

A natural progression

The acquisition is a natural progression for the whole industry, said Jason English, an analyst at Intellyx. The first generation of RPA has played itself out as far as being able to capture manual work processes and repeat human actions, English said.

RPA vendors will move toward deeper automated means of capturing decision processes, he said.

"You're going to see more large vendors investing in data science on the downstream side," English said. "On the upstream side, you're going to see more and more intelligent capture of interactions between systems and people, as well as being able to mine processes from all the existing communication and data they already have."

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