UiPath’s position as one of the leading vendors defining the robotic process automation (RPA) market comes with responsibilities for managing expectations across stakeholders, and the company knows it. Enhancing its value proposition by adding the necessary layers of technologies and deploying business-led frameworks internally and with alliance partners helps it build use cases of scale, a necessary attribute to maintain growth momentum, as RPA is no longer a siloed, line-of-business-led initiative, but rather a node in an enterprisewide automation initiative.
UIPATH’S ENHANCED AND EXPANDED TECHNOLOGY STACK PROVIDES A SOLID FOUNDATION TO REACH SCALE
Solving the productivity paradox has become the guiding light for UiPath’s product development as the company seeks to gain broader stakeholder buy-in. RPA tools continue to be largely selected and utilized by business customers, but the need for democratizing data while addressing larger IT complexities is compelling UiPath to ensure ease of use of its offerings for the broader user community. Targeting new personas beyond RPA developers, including business analysts, citizen developers and testers, expands UiPath’s core platform addressable market but also raises expectations around ROI. By enhancing and adding features including design tools (e.g., Studio, Studio X, Studio T), management tools (e.g., Orchestrator, Cloud Platform, AI Fabric), apps (e.g., Forms, Tasks, Chatbots) and insights (e.g., RPA, Business Analytics), UiPath’s end-to-end automation suite captures the entire cycle of plan, build, manage, run, engage and measure.
While the build, manage and run stages are somewhat legacy capabilities, expanding into the plan cycle, which was accelerated through the acquisition of Netherlands-headquartered ProcessGold and enabled through the launch of UiExplorer, helps UiPath act as an arbitrator of the dilemma “Should a company automate a bad process or fix the process first?” by applying a scientific plan for implementing RPA one process at a time. TBR also sees the purchase of ProcessGold as an attempt for UiPath to increase its value proposition for higher-value design thinking workshops. While we do not expect UiPath to be a threat to its consulting partners’ core expertise, wrapping advisory frameworks with AI-enabled process mining tools could address the dilemma sooner. The engage and measure pillars of the UiPath Platform suite provide the connective tissue between the deeper collaboration between humans and robots as well as pave the way for the company’s pragmatic AI vision of building intelligent systems that provide the proper tools and skills. How to measure and report the true business impact of RPA implementation, however, remains up for debate, as enterprise buyers approach automation differently. As UiPath strives to reach scale, the inevitable question of “What’s next?” is rather loaded considering the hype around AI, the possibilities of automation and the future of RPA. During the conference UiPath released the AI Fabric solution in private mode, first announced in April, to address the barriers of AI and RPA working together including in operations, technology and processes. As the notion of AI fabric is breaking down siloes between RPA and data science teams through features such as intuitive interface, operationalizing AI models and closing the RPA-AI data feedback loop, AI Fabric is a timely response to buyers’ adoption of AI, which for many is still in a pilot phase.
For the second year in a row TBR attended the annual UiPath Forward conference, the focus of which has shifted dramatically from regionally oriented in 2018 to global in 2019, reflecting the company’s efforts to build a framework and portfolio offerings developed and delivered through integrated scale. And stories of scale were not lacking: The conference hosted close to 3,000 attendees this year — twice as many as last year — and demonstrated expanded capabilities of the core UiPath Platform. UiPath also announced two acquisitions and shared four dozen client stories onstage. Under the slogan “Reboot Work,” the conference amplified the broader need for rebooting customer experience and business overall, which in many cases is easier said than done, but client stories shared during the conference showed pain points are lessening, reflecting on UiPath’s Automation First vision with “automation is the application” framework at its core.