Today UiPath announced a comprehensive rebrand and shifted its strategy away from its traditional focus on RPA and into the broader enterprise automation space—few firms of this size ($1B+) attempt such a feat. But we say hats off to them, as not only is the shift in focus a sensible one for UiPath itself, it inadvertently perhaps validates our research positions regarding the world of Enterprise Automation.
If we step back beyond UiPath, we see an industry in flux. Long-held and fiercely guarded industry silos, beloved by analysts and vendors alike, are starting to blur and, in many cases, overlap and become irrelevant. A few years ago, automation vendors had little interest in unstructured data. For example, firms like UiPath and Appian today embrace IDP (Intelligent Document Processing) like a long-lost sibling. And rightly so, as it’s here that they are seeing the most buyer interest and growth potential for their businesses. Process and Task Mining, until recently an outlying sector that garnered little attention, is now in the spotlight and embraced by all and sundry.
Our recent Work Intelligence Report (and forthcoming Market Forecast) details this flux and suggests a near inflection point for the industry. It’s not that the point solutions will go away; instead, they must work more holistically together. For all the talk of digital transformation and hyperautomation, the reality is that enterprises struggle to automate even the most simple of activities. Moreover, even selecting the right automation products is a minefield for enterprises to navigate, so anything that simplifies that journey will be welcomed.
UiPath’s vision is bold to become an all-encompassing enterprise automation platform, but it also aligns with enterprise buyers’ needs. In reality, few buyers want to go out and buy a BPM system, an RPA system, Process Mining, and a Low Code Platform and somehow magically stitch them together via an army of APIs. They want something that will improve or, in some cases, transform their business operations. But that’s easier said than done; enterprise automation projects are demanding and almost by default complex. But that’s what UiPath is promising; promises are one thing, but delivering on them is quite different. So we will watch with interest over the coming year or two to see what progress UiPath makes in this direction. It’s a significant shift for the firm and won’t be easy to pull off, but we can’t knock the vision as it’s a good one and may well trigger other vendors in the enterprise automation sector to consider doing the same.