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RPA vendor Automation Anywhere aims at process discovery

While the vendor's new platform is geared towards automation, the market is shifting. Many enterprises are now moving away from RPA and toward process mining and discovery.

NEW YORK -- Automation Anywhere, a robotic process automation vendor, unveiled its Automation Success Platform with new robotic process automation tools for process discovery and document processing.

The vendor introduced the platform and tools on Tuesday on the first day of its Imagine 2022 conference. The product releases came a day after the vendor revealed it secured $200 million in new venture financing.

The success platform is aimed at letting enterprises automate all aspects of their business operations, according to Automation Anywhere.

"We must automate everything that can and should be automated," CEO Mihir Shukla said during a keynote at the two-day in-person conference at the Convene conference center in Manhattan. "Especially the things that suck the life out of our employees by squandering their skills."

The Automation Success Platform, generally available now, includes automation tools such as an automation co-pilot, or digital assistant, that can be implemented in different applications, including Salesforce and Genesys.

The platform also provides tools for interactive voice response and a process discovery tool that builds on Automation Anywhere's recent acquisition of FortressIQ. The latter advises enterprises and organizations which part of their processes should be automated next.

There is also a document automation manager that extracts data and documents and transfers it to applications and a center of excellence (CoE) manager that help users build, monitor and scale apps in a centralized command center.

Image of enterprises at Automation Anywhere Imagine
Enterprises gather for Automation Anywhere Imagine 2022 conference and learn about the new Automation Success Platform.

Changing RPA market

Automation Anywhere competes with robotic process automation (RPA) vendors such as UiPath and Blue Prism as well as larger software vendors such as Pegasystems that also develop RPA technology.

The RPA market, which has boomed over the last decade, ran into turbulence amid the COVID-19 pandemic, market volatility and the proliferation of RPA tools from many vendors. Automation Anywhere and UiPath recently laid off several hundred employees.

Meanwhile, Pegasystems on Tuesday unveiled a revamped version of its Robot Studio. UiPath, on Sept. 28, previewed new bot developer capabilities, upgrades to its Automation Hub and new platform intelligence capabilities.

"Automation Anywhere seems to be just on the same path as it was five or six years ago," said Alan Pelz-Sharpe, an analyst and founder of Deep Analysis. "It's the last of the RPA companies that are focused on RPA."

Automation Anywhere seems to be just on the same path as it was five or six years ago. It's the last of the RPA companies that are focused on RPA.
Alan Pelz-SharpeAnalyst and founder, Deep Analysis

Unlike five or six years ago when it was more stable, the RPA market is shifting, Pelz-Sharpe said. Instead of focusing just on bots, vendors in the RPA market, including Automation Anywhere and UiPath, are targeting process management and discovery technology. Automation Anywhere would do well to focus more on process management than pure RPA going forward, he said.

The appeal of RPA's simplicity seems to have worn out somewhat since most vendors are making tools and systems that are simple to use, according to Pelz-Sharpe.

"It's not a great marketplace," he continued. "It's a tough one. They're in a tough spot."

Customers react

Despite changes in the RPA industry, Automation Anywhere's new and upgraded tools have caught the attention of some enterprises that are already familiar with the vendor.

One tool is AARI, the vendor's automation assistant.

"It opens up different levels of automations we can build out and start getting out some of that internal customer input available," said Neco Goode, solutions lead at McKesson, a vendor of pharmaceutical and medical supplies and health IT systems.

McKesson uses Automation Anywhere in various departments, including finance, distribution and customer experience.

Another interesting new tool is the CoE manager, said Donny Butler, infrastructure solution manager at McKesson. "What I'm looking forward to finding out is if the CoE manager has the capability to utilize metrics from other types of automations besides just Automation Anywhere so that we can have a comprehensive view in one location."

Genworth Financial, another Automation Anywhere customer, has been looking for ways to automate process discovery, said Natinder Kaur, RPA program manager at the insurance company. The new process discovery tool could help with that.

"Most our process discovery so far has been manual," Kaur said. "We want a more automated way. We want a way that can identify processes that we as humans miss or overlook or oversimplify."

One of the vendor's tools the insurer is considering is the no-code automation system aimed at letting business users, or citizen developers, create automation.

"We have been trying to expand into citizen development, like engage more businesses across the enterprise," Kaur said.

Also on Tuesday, Automation Anywhere unveiled Resilient Automation, a tool to help enterprises keep up to date with changes occurring across their systems. Resilient Automation will be available next year.

The vendor also revealed a partnership with the Center for Humanitarian Technology to launch a "Telegram for Humanity" bot. The bot is a digital worker for Step With Hope, a Ukrainian humanitarian organization. The bot automates manual requests for aid.

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