SAP is forging closer ties with RPA vendor UiPath to help customers move forward on migrations to S/4HANA Cloud.
UiPath's Business Automation Platform is now in the process of becoming an SAP Endorsed app*, a third-party app that has undergone technical validation testing by SAP. The platform, which helps automate processes like testing and eliminating manual migration tasks, is expected to be endorsed by July and made available to customers through the SAP Store.
SAP CEO Christian Klein unveiled the extended UiPath partnership during SAP's first-quarter 2023 earnings call for financial analysts Friday.
As part of the partnership, UiPath is also committed to running its own business operations on S/4HANA Cloud.
UiPath Business Automation Platform will act as an extension of the SAP Build development environment and the SAP Signavio process mining application, which helps customers create a migration path from their on-premises environments to the cloud, according to Dhruv Asher, senior vice president of technology alliances at UiPath.
"In an S/4HANA migration, UiPath can help maintain the clean core by making sure that you don't need to build custom code or write your own overlay snippets because automation can help you do that," Asher said.
Klein also told investors that SAP will add AI technology like ChatGPT "across the entire SAP portfolio," with more details about the AI integrations to come at the SAP Sapphire conference in May.
"AI is built for business, with capabilities that are built in to deliver strong business outcomes for customers' most critical business functions," Klein said.
An eco-system approach
The expanded partnership with UiPath shows that SAP remains committed to providing a multitude of AI options to customers, including those using SAP and non-SAP applications, said Liz Herbert, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research.
The approach was also characterized in the recent news of SAP Datasphere, a multi-vendor data management initiative, Herbert said.
"This further demonstrates SAP's commitment to fostering an ecosystem-based approach, rather than a not-invented-here mentality," she said. "While SAP has already been partnered with UiPath for years, this new announcement will add the formal SAP Endorsed seal of approval, as well as making it easy to buy off the SAP Store."
SAP has its own automation product suite, but the UiPath RPA suite is far stronger for automating workloads that cut across SAP and non-SAP environments, said Predrag Jakovljevic, principal industry analyst at Technology Evaluation Centers.
Predrag JakovljevicPrincipal Industry Analyst, Technology Evaluation Centers
"This would be an example of coopetition where the two organizations fare better through partnering," he said. "SAP is the most common system automated by UiPath practitioners today."
UiPath also has a dedicated software test automation product that is being used widely to support S/4HANA migrations, Jakovljevic said.
"This is a particularly fruitful area that SAP automation products aren't optimized for," he said.
The to-come AI integrations align with what's happening in the industry -- a commitment to work with the next generation of AI -- but is short on specifics right now, Herbert said.
"We are only at the beginning," she said. "Most of the major enterprise software vendors have been touting AI for years now and are constantly seeking to show their commitment to the latest and greatest in a meaningful business context, with ChatGPT recently taking center stage."
*Correction: The original story reported that UiPath Business Automation Platform was an SAP Endorsed app and a component of Rise With SAP. UiPath is in the process of becoming SAP Endorsed and is not included as a part of Rise.
Jim O'Donnell is a senior news writer who covers ERP and other enterprise applications for TechTarget Editorial.