When RPA Met BPM: Post-Acquisition News from Blue Prism

Today we attended the Blue Prism analyst roundtable, which focused on their post-acquisition integration into SS&C. We asked several questions connected to our core coverage areas of RPA, process management, and IDP.

Before we get to those, the big headline from the briefing is that Blue Prism and SS&C combined can now offer a full, end-to-end RPA-BPM stack to compete with the likes of Pega and Appian. This could change the sales discussion from “should we start first with an RPA provider, then gradually move up to BPM?” to “which is best for the client?”

The product roadmap priorities are designed to achieve this as quickly as possible.

  • integrating Blue Prism RPA with Chorus BPM to provide fully orchestrated process automation.
  • Blue Prism RPA gets the Chorus UX Builder to add no-code capabilities.
  • Chorus BPM gets process intelligence from Blue Prism.

Now, on to our questions followed by Blue Prism’s answers in their own words (with slight edits for clarity):

(DA) The RPA market is maturing and some competitors (such as Microsoft) are currently – or soon plan to be – bundling RPA functionality “for free” with their other products. What steps will Blue Prism take to compete with this trend?

(Blue Prism) The competitors seem to offer only limited freemiums or simple bot automation. And Microsoft RPA is not exactly “free”. We’re going to continue offering competitive free trials. And we are differentiating our offering by focusing on enterprise scalability and our end-to-end RPA-BPM platform, which we feel they can’t match.

(DA) Will Blue Prism go deeper and further into IDP (Intelligent Document Processing) – for example, enhancing the Decipher IDP product set?

(Blue Prism) Paper isn’t going away. IDP is still mission critical. For example we recently spoke to a customer dealing with millions of faxes. We plan to merge our Decipher IDP with SS&C’s Chorus Document Automation by the end of 2022. Chorus DA (from the Captricity acquisition) is very strong on handwriting recognition and great at processing faxes or other low quality images. Combining that with Decipher’s strengths in semi-structured document processing and multilingual support, we can offer world class accuracy and flexibility across the key document types.

(DA) Blue Prism currently offers process intelligence and mining through its partnership with ABBYY. Do you see yourselves providing your own process mining functionality in the future – and at a lower cost?

(Blue Prism) We’re happy with the OEM relationship with ABBYY. We are also planning to develop and release our own additional process intelligence and mining capabilities. SS&C also looks for strategic acquisition opportunities.

The “Deep” Analysis

All in all, this was a bullish briefing from Blue Prism. SS&C paid $1.65 billion, so we expected nothing less than a moon shot effort. Of course, the proof will be in the pudding, as a lot of product integration promises were made and there is still much work to do here. It’s also hard to imagine that this is the last acquisition SS&C will make. Will the portfolio grow even further with a process intelligence/mining addition on the horizon?

Furthermore, though Blue Prism seemed confident that it can differentiate itself with SS&C’s BPM, there is robust competition out there. Pega, Appian, and (yes even) Microsoft have all built pretty solid automation platforms/suites that combine simple task automation bots with more complex process automation. IDP specialists such as Hyperscience & ABBYY appear to have similar growth ambitions as well. In our estimation, this market will see plenty of activity in the next few years, and we will be watching closely as Blue Prism delivers on its roadmap promises.

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