Microsoft Includes Power Automate in Windows: RPA Market Becomes Subsumed
by Betsy Burton
At the end of 2020, we made a prediction that: “By YE 2023, robotic process automation (RPA) will become a standard feature in 75% of infrastructure platforms (iPaaS and on-prem) (75% probability).” I will freely admit that I may have been a little bit too conservative. I thought it might take a few years for organizations to realize that RPA is a component technology, and not a complete solution.
However, Microsoft announced this week that it was making Power Automate available with Windows 10. This is the beginning of the shift from RPA being a stand-alone technology and market to RPA being a “feature.”
Why Did This Happen So Quickly?
This is one of those times that an announcement from a vendor makes complete sense. First and foremost, RPA is just a part of the technology solution to help enable organizations seeking to support business automation and transformation.
Real business change (automation, optimization, evolution, and transformation) needs a combination of business and technology initiatives. So stand-alone RPA solutions aren’t really going to solve customers’ business automation or transformation needs.
Second, vendors like Microsoft and Salesforce are focused on recruiting citizen developers and power IT developers to use their low-code development platform. This move will make it easier for more users to access these tools and bring their business and IT into the Microsoft fold.
What Is the Impact of Microsoft on the RPA Market?
We believe there will continue to be a small set of vendors who provide specialized RPA offerings focused on specific industries or specialized process design/management needs. However, the majority of end-user organizations will consume RPA products and services as capabilities within broader applications and development platform solutions.
RPA is a feature/capability not a significant stand-alone market. We believe we will see significant future integration of RPA offerings by the larger vendors, and market consolidation of smaller vendors. End-users seeking RPA solutions should look to their development platform vendors first for solutions, and only consider stand-alone offerings for specific industries.
RPA providers and platform providers should understand how the market is changing, and look for acquisition opportunities, or seek niche industry opportunities.