Microsoft Aims To Upend The RPA (Robotic Process Automation) Market


Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is kind of a confusing term. It’s not about physical robots—instead, it refers to software bots that streamline repetitive and tedious processes in the workplace. 

Something else to note: RPA is the fastest-growing segment in enterprise software, according to Gartner.

As a result, the mega tech operators are looking at the market. SAP, for example, has acquired Contextor to bolster its efforts. And yes, expect much more dealmaking.

“It’s possible that IBM or Oracle may pursue a similar acquisition strategy,” said Ryan Hollenbeck, who is the Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Verint.

Yet Microsoft will perhaps be the most impactful. At the Ignite conference, the company announced Power Automate, which is an offshoot of its Power Platform (this includes business intelligence capabilities, low code and workflow management). There are more than 275 prebuilt connectors for apps and services. Of course, there are deep integrations with Office 365, Dynamics 365 and Azure.

“I see a strong relationship between the dramatic rise and growth of RPA, low-code, and this announcement,” said Jay Jamison, who is the Chief Product and Technology Officer at Quick Base. “These all target common and urgent problems that enterprise-level organizations face today, namely: growing demand to digitize business and drive innovation, a mounting developer shortage, and the enormous footprint of existing legacy systems as a mountainous barrier to innovation. There is a gap in the market here, and it’s natural that new solutions via Microsoft’s Power Platform are popping up. The opportunity here is enormous.”