These top Robotic Process Automation (RPA) companies are leading the sector in creating robotic automations that drive business effici
RPA (robotic process automation) is software automation technology that is programmable by users to accomplish business tasks. It enables users to create intelligent software bots that accomplish a wide array of workplace tasks – from adding input to data analytics software to completing forms – that allows human staffers to focus on higher value tasks.
RPA software robots can copy the actions of an employee. Having recorded the human’s routine, a software bot can then perform routine tasks like logging into a web site, starting downstream activities, and copying tracking numbers. RPA often uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to accomplish its work. Indeed, the mix of artificial intelligence and RPA enables the true promise of robotic automation.
The benefits of RPA are numerous: RPA solutions help out in call centers by offering selling guidance to service agents. RPA tools assist in healthcare by completing data entry. And RPA boosts the finance sector by distributing data across departments without human help.
Investment in the RPA sector is climbing at a rapid rate: RPA software is one of the fastest growing software sectors across the entire software industry. Totals sales of RPA software are forecast to climb from an approximate $1 billion in 2020 to $2.7 billion by 2023.
The RPA market is experiencing exponential growth as companies rapidly deploy automation to enhance employee productivity.
How to Select an RPA Software Tool
The market for RPA software is based on the emerging technology of user-programmed automation software. This is a new field with constant and rapid advances. The churning field of vendors is well-armed with complex marketing jargon about the wonders that RPA can achieve.
To help cut though the hype, examine these four factors when selecting a solution:
1. Depth of product roadmap
The challenge of RPA is that, while these bots are well suited for simple, routine tasks, moving beyond the “easy wins” requires an RPA solution with versatility and depth. Does the vendor have a product roadmap that looks likely to handle all the growth in your business?
Does the solution include process mining, an RPA tool that points out gaps and inefficiencies in the workflow that automation can address? Will the RPA solution integrate with your legacy applications?
2. User Interface
If a given RPA solution is advanced and has deep use of artificial intelligence, the dashboard user interface used to program it is typically complex. It often requires software developers to program the RPA bots.
If, however, you want a simpler user interface, you can find it. The RPA industry speaks of “robot design for citizens,” meaning non-technical staffers can set up bots. But with this level of simple UI, you’re often sacrificing some level of upper level functionality in bot capability.
3. Attended or Unattended
Once programmed, an unattended RPA robot does its work without human assistance. Many of the RPA bots in use are unattended; set them up to do a simplistic job and let them keep repeating.
An attended bot is also know as a “human-in-the-loop” bot. These unattended bot work in close partnership with staffers; for instance, offering real-time suggestions to a call center agent to close the sale.
4. Level of AI and ML in the RPA platform
The confusion in the RPA market is particularly deep around the issue of artificial intelligence and machine learning. A simple RPA automation does not need AI to perform a series of routine repetitions. And yet the long-term promise of RPA is that these basic bots will use AI and ML to develop into “super performers,” accomplishing a dazzling array of complex tasks.
Consequently, RPA vendors are always touting their products’ depth of AI and ML usage. The degree to which any RPA solution incorporates AI and ML “under the hood” is often hard to fully know – and it will change with time. It may be built in, but be limited.
Therefore, buyers need to ask probing questions about each vendors’ AI capability. Is it reality or marketing?
- Automation Anywhere
- Blue Prism
- Another Monday
- Honorable Mentions
- Vendor Comparison Chart
TOP RPA COMPANIES
To the extent that there’s a market leader in the rapidly churning RPA sector, UiPath has a solid claim to the title. The company – with some 3,000 employees – is dedicated to RPA, in contrast to some vendors that include RPA as part of an overall portfolio. RPA is well-suited for large enterprises with significant resources to commit to building RPA and associated AI and ML technologies into its business workflow.
UiPath offers an Azure Cloud SaaS tool, an embedded analytics feature, and a mobile app for its Orchestrator tool. Significantly, it offers an AI integration fabric, which allows robust enablement of AI features.
To speed deployment, the software includes an integrated library of pre-built automation components to augment custom automation. In 2019 UiPath acquired ProcessGold and StepShot, which enable it to build more process mining into its RPA functionality.
Key RPA Features
Extensive partner network: UiPath has built a rich network of alliances with technology partners, which offer supporting software. These related applications run the gamut from AI to business process management (BPM) to complex process mining. This well-developed network should help UiPath stay up with the curve as RPA grows rapidly.
Advanced user interface: UiPath clearly strives to offer an intuitive user interface to its bot dashboards. While it generally succeeds at this, UiPath is an advanced platform, which means not all deployment scenarios are low-code or no-code. Getting full use from RPA requires some machine learning expertise.
Newer cloud solution: UiPath unveiled its Cloud Enterprise RPA in June 2019, which is later than some of the top RPA vendors. The key advantage of this cloud version is that it serves companies while avoiding the added hardware-software data center expenses; it also adds scalability.
- Extensive product offering suitable for many verticals
- Good for Windows-based users
- Known for responsive customer support
- User interface is complex
- UiPath was late to the cloud
Focused exclusively on the RPA sector, Automation Anywhere is a market leader, with a high profile in the market that makes it a “first look” for any potential buyers. Automation Anywhere is fully cloud and SaaS-enabled, providing a low enough cost of ownership for SMBs, with a product depth and a developed roadmap that’s also suitable for large enterprise customers.
Automation Anywhere is known for fast implementation. It has pluggable API integration for developers. The company’s mobile app allows customers to monitor and manage bots on the run. In a step forward, its IQBot includes support for handwriting.
The company’s community edition is free for small businesses, developers, and students – which is excellent as a learning tool. The Enterprise solution also has a free trial available. The company’s thin client architecture is well regarded, as is its ability to connect various automations.
Key RPA Features
Industry-leading partner network: Automation Anywhere has a vast partner network, offering support for RPA tools and solutions of every stripe. It boasts nearly 600 staff in R&D. The company has a market presence around the world, allowing it to serve even the largest multinational client.
User interface: Automation Anywhere’s most routine bot automations are designed to be very easy to build. The solution is fully cloud-based (and SaaS accessible) so a web-based software robot is assembled with relative simplicity. The company’s flagship Automation Anywhere Enterprise A2019 offers a persona-based platform for developers and non-tech-savvy staff to use for easy collaboration.
Accessible cost structure: AA’s scale and cloud-based approach allow it to offer a digital staff at an affordable cost. Additionally, the company’s bot store and its large community offer support and pre-built elements that can further drive an accessible price point.
Like all RPA vendors, most of Automation Anywhere’s processes are unattended. But the vendor acquired Klevops in August 2019, which boosted the company’s orchestration for the more complex attended automation.
- Known for responsive customer support
- Flexible architecture allows for easy scaling
- Typically an affordable cost structure
- While simple bots are low-code, more complex automations require extensive knowledge and technical staff.
- In some cases, API access could be improved.
EdgeVerge is a subsidiary of India-based IT giant Infosys Technologies. The company’s RPA software is best suited for major enterprise companies, including those with large reliance on consumer customer service. EdgeVerve is a strong player in RPA assistance for call centers.
In addition to its flagship RPA solution, AssistEdge Robotic Process Automation, it also offers a toolset of machine learning and AI tools called Infosys Nia.
Because of InfoSys’s many business relationships, EdgeVerve is expected to grow its customer base aggressively within this existing customer group; customer that don’t have an existing relationship with InfoSys are not as clearly targeted.
Key RPA Features
Combining Automation and AI: Built in to the EdgeVerge product roadmap is a focus on RPA governance, and a sophisticated approach to automation that uses this governance to manage the union of AI and automation. Part of this strength comes from EdgeVerve’s Infosys Nia division.
Customer Engagement: InfoSys has a strong services component, so it makes sense that the company helps speed deployment and the overall ramping up of RPA projects. This includes support for build and design.
Attended Customer Service/Call Center With all of its offering available as on-premise or cloud-based, EdgeVerve has a particular strength in the call center. Its AssistEdge Engage solution offers support for customer service agents, which reflects the company’s strength in unattended RPA. This is a differentiator in an overall market focused on attended.
- Strong graphical User Interface leads to ease of use.
- Highly scalable solutions, with Business Intelligence dashboards. It includes enterprise-grade security that is GDPR ready.
- The company’s AssistEdgeDiscover offers a big boost to process discovery.
- While the company’s Nia division specializes in ML and AI, it is not completely clear how well these technologies are integrated between Nia and EdgeVerve.
- Some users want better reporting on robot performance.
Definitely a market leader in RPA, Blue Prism has an elaborate product roadmap and a true commitment to using AI to advance its automation. While it does offer a free version as a trial, Blue Prism is squarely targeted at large enterprise companies with deep resources.
Blue Prism is the most established RPA vendor in the market, having been founded in 2001 by a team of software automation experts; it practically coined the term “RPA.” It has built an extensive array of partners – including consulting partners – that have built a large library of complimentary automation, analytics, and decision management applications. The company’s length of market tenure results in a secure, stable automation product. It is particularly known in financial services.
The vendor offers on-premise or SaaS cloud deployment; it integrates with Google machine learning workflow, which is arguably best in class. Top-tier security and audit trails include non-repudiation features. Blue Prism is well known for its supporting documentation; this is key in the complex RPA market.
Key RPA Features
Strong vertical focus: Understanding that the sectors ranging from healthcare to manufacturing to retail have very different RPA needs, Blue Prism has launched scores of industry solutions, with active customers in each.
Graphical user interface: To allow less technical staff create automations, Blue Prism includes drag-and-drop interface for building process automations.
Commitment to AI: The company’s Blue Prism Labs is an AI laboratory focusing on computer vision and document interface, primarily for unattended use cases. The company’s roadmap suggests it will use this AI depth to support more attended, human-involved use cases in the future. Blue Prism acquired startup Thoughtonomy – which built a cloud-based AI engine – in July 2019 to further its AI functionality.
- Blue Prism is strong in unattended use cases, which allow human in the loop, augmented staff productivity.
- The vendor’s large array of partnerships includes many consultants; this could help with launch and implementation.
- The company’s long tenure and focus on security and encryption provide it with the stability needed for large enterprise deployments.
- Some users say that reporting and scheduling could be more efficient in enterprise-wide deployments.
- While many RPA vendors’ bots record human staff and mimic them, Blue Prism doesn’t use this function to build automation.
- The company’s design studio generally requires a more technical user.
For SMBs looking for a more accessible start to the complexity of RPA, Softomotive is a viable choice. The company’s platform allows users to start with more modest automation implementations, then focus on a faster move toward tangible gain. Sofomotive’s dashboard is relatively intuitive, though more advanced automations will likely require more technical staff.
Softomotive’s focus on ease of use even makes it a suitable choice for one-person shops and startups with minimal tech staff. In some cases it could be a good choice for an enterprise team that wants to start small. Serving this larger market is a real strength, given that some large enterprises also need to start small and prefer a more intuitive UI.
Both of Softomotive flagship offerings support both attended and unattended automations. Included is a feature set to monitor execution and oversee concurrency in deployments.
Key RPA Features
Geared to scale up: Despite being a favored choice by midmarket customers, Softomotive has scalability built in – both in terms of overall size and vertical market. This includes the ability to reuse automations, so they can be easily duplicated to handle larger scale use cases.
Two levels of products: On a similar note to above, Softomotive’s ProcessRobot enables enterprise-wide use cases, with the ability to monitor diverse automations from a single location. In contrast, the company’s WinAutomation is a quick-launch RPA application that it leverages to best serve the SMB market.
Expected to grow: Higher end applications like optical character recognition are not typically what customers look for in Softomotive, yet the platform is expected to grow and even challenge larger enterprise offerings. But realize that to push the platform past the company’s drag and drop easy use will usually call for a programmer or a data scientist.
- Developed to scale both vertically and horizontally.
- Intuitive UI allows recording of human staff actions to more easily produce bots.
- Known for affordable costs.
- A smaller RPA vendor that may need continued growth to be a top player in the large enterprise market.
- Could use improvement in analytics for mixed content types.
While some RPA solutions aim for simplicity and ease of use, WorkFusion strives to offer deep and robust AI and ML functionality into its RPA tools. It is this quality of fully leveraging AI and ML that will propel RPA into the future. The WorkFusion platform contains hundreds of advanced prepackaged use case solutions that drive performance in predictions, category classification and data mining.
WorkFusion’s key focus is unattended RPA bots. For companies looking for complex, versatile, high function unattended solutions that can traverse a large enterprise, WorkFusion is a top choice. The company has a strong presence in the financial industry.
Key RPA Features
Integrated BPM: WorkFusion offers an integrated business process management (BPM) system to manage robotic automations. This well-developed system enables versatile ML tools and help interoperability.
Developed analytics: To better understand the performance of your automations, WorkFusion’s analytic tools allow the ability to target single automations – helping fix inefficient processes before they go on too long.
Open source databases: The company has included a number of open source databases to boost data scalability and upgrade its data management capabilities. RPA requires plenty of data to fuel automations.
- Known for solid customer support.
- Top-rated development process to drive future product road map.
- Sophisticated feature set for analytics.
- Advanced platform that requires expert staff to fully implement.
- Not focused on attended automations.
Kofax is well suited to companies that typically gather large quantities of unstructured data from myriad data pools. This includes sources like social media and mixed-data customer interactions.
While many RPA vendors require customers to run automations on all client desktops/terminals, Kofax has shifted this system. Its RoboServers tool shows the system’s interface in single, easily managed container – avoiding having to run the solution on every desktop. This ingenious method lowers infrastructure costs.
Potentially further reducing costs, the Kofax platform has such a strong offering in optical character recognition tools that the need to purchase an additional OCR solution from a third party is typically avoided. The company is strong in the logistic and transportation industries.
Key RPA Features
Easy data transport: An RPA tool uses automated bots to shift data from one web portal to another, saving staff time. Data transport is one of the most common RPA use cases.
Lower need for VDI: Because the Kofax RPA manages the UI from a central location, the system needs fewer virtual desktop infrastructures, which cuts costs and allows for easier scaling.
REST/SOAP interface: Kofax’s representational state transfer/simple object access protocol (REST/SOAP) interface allows easy embed of automations into third party applications. This is particularly helpful as companies use third party apps to enable scalability.
- Very strong in data extraction from documents.
- Can use APIs to mine and migrate data from any number of sources.
- Relatively easy re-use/re-deployment of existing automations, which enables faster deployments in new situations.
- Some concerns with customer support.
- Could use more focus on debugging applications.
NICE is well suited for a growing niche: large enterprise that need attended automations. That is, automations with human in the loop – the so-called “augmented” human staff member. These attended automations are particularly useful for large enterprise with a call center to maximize. For large enterprise clients, another plus for NICE is its long tenure as a company – almost two decades as an automation vendor.
Additionally, NICE has a solid record with unattended workloads, which remains the more common customer need in the RPA market. NICE is focused on analytics (yet another good tool for call centers), which allows close monitoring of how well a given set of bots/automations is achieving ROI.
Key RPA Features
Specialized attended: The company’s Advanced Process Automation offers vertically-oriented attended automations to serve various industries, including manufacturing, banking and telecommunications.
Real time call center: The NICE platform allows managers to track each individual sales rep in the call center, using a bot to offer suggestions, assistance and support as that rep handles sales calls.
Automation coupled with analytics: The company’s NICE Employee Virtual Attendant integration and Shape Analysis (NEVA) tool uses an analytics grid to check for performance over time, both for unattended and attended automations. This kind a RPA governance tool is very useful for improving ROI.
- Known for good customer support.
- RPA solutions offered via virtually any format, from on-premise to SaaS, private or public cloud.
- AutomationDesigned, a core platform component, requires developer skills to fully maximize.
- Since it’s designed for large enterprise, the initial set up can require the expert staff that these larger companies tend to have on-premise.
Another Monday will appear attractive to SMB and enterprise clients that are newer to the RPA market, because the company offers a usage-based cost structure. Clients pay for automation instances that are successful, a key selling point (clients pay a micropayment per successful transaction). Given that a percentage of the RPA market struggle for true ROI, this offer should continue to help Another Monday attract companies of various different sizes and verticals.
The company supports its platform as a managed service, which means that Another Monday can play a hands-on role with its clients. For larger clients, like banks and telecoms, Another Monday will very directly support the platform. This approach isn’t best for every client; many companies prefer to buy an RPA solution via the cloud or SaaS, and manage it only with in-house staff.
That said, Another Monday works for those clients that seek a comprehensive solution, as opposed to an “experiment and grow” approach that starts small and scales. The company is strong in manufacturing and utilities.
Key RPA Features
Includes third party bots: Another Monday’s system is built to oversee and manage bots from third party sources, which is an approach to RPA that enables great scalability.
Encryption: To bulk up security, Another Monday has built encryption into its platform. This is a key feature, given that bots transfer data across an entire organization.
Diverse pre-built elements: The company offers a cohesive menu of automated bots, allowing an end-to-end solution that handles an entire company’s RPA needs with less development time.
- Platform offers strong bot governance features.
- Set up for the likely future environment of RPA, where a vendor offers an all-encompassing integrated services approach.
- Built with a decentralized architecture that needs no single application to launch and operate bots.
- Relies on services support from Another Monday and its partners; some users may not prefer this.
- A robust customer-created bot strategy in addition to its “all enterprise wide” strategy would be a plus.
Companies looking for an RPA solution with extensive attended features may select Pegasystems. An overwhelming majority of the company’s clients deploy these human-in-the-loop robot automations, which serve everything from call centers to diverse sales forces.
That said, Pegasystems’ real focus is Digital Process Automation (DPA), sometimes referred to as BPM (business process management). In fact, the company’s RPA is available as a no-cost upgrade for buyers that purchase a DPA solution. Although experts disagree, DPA is a more all-encompassing system that assists everything from business rules to document support, along with robotic process automation. This all-encompassing focus will appeal to some businesses, especially large enterprise, which have the need for such a robust platform. SMB are likely less of a fit.
An additional plus: Pegasystems has a large market presence, fully global, which suits a multinational client.
Key RPA Features
Easy deploy: Clients can get operational with relative ease, using Pega’s lightweight architecture that supports fast stand-alone robotic automations.
Visual Studio Scripting: Using a system that watches and records human staffers use of applications on the desktop, the Pega platform will then send resulting operational data to Pega’s machine learning platform on AWS.
Multi-use robots: In an efficient methodology, Pega’s concurrent scheduling system enables unattended automated bots to assist in a variety of work situations, saving a customer programming time and virtual machines.
- Growing commitment to unattended automations.
- Advanced in NLP, mining email and chat interactions with user-programmed automations.
- Strong presence in CRM, so a company sales staff will be assisted by its automations.
- Customer support for RPA could be improved.
- Bots can be programmed by a business analyst but that individual will need some scripting skills; not strictly low-code.
Additional RPA Market Leaders
The RPA companies in this Honorable Mention category are not any less worthy of consideration than any vendor than on this list. In a rapidly emerging market, with constant product evolution, these high profile vendors serve the automation needs of many customers – and are each likely to grow rapidly in the years ahead. Keep an eye on these companies.
The company’s ANTstein enterprise bot platform offers an array of automation modules, enabling the time-efficient list of reuseable services. This is a popular strategy in the RPA sector, and one that AntWorks takes up a step by incorporating NLP, extensive data capture and an ML engine in its solution. To its credit, the AntWorks approach stresses a wholistic approach to automation that incorporates several elements of automation and management rather than isolated tools.
Israel-based Kyron has RPA toolsets for both attended and unattended automations, and is focused on process discovery. This commitment to process discovery will likely serve its customers well – discovering when and where in the workflow to fill an inefficiency with a bot is critically important. The company is growing. With patents for machine learning and other core RPA tools, Kyron is a vendor to watch.
A smaller RPA vendor, Intellibot dashboard offers the full range of automation design, from chat tool and ML architecture to both attended and unattended bot. In an interesting twist, the UI offers a view of the software robots connected to one another, which allows designers a global view of the automated work process. Intellibot is known for significant capabilities at reasonable cost.
ServiceTrace offers RPA within a larger digital process automation (DPA) approach. With the goal of efficiency, the company’s automation process uses an assessment form that staffers use to describe the value and potential benefit of an automation. Additionally, oversight of both human staffers and automated bots is supported by metadata from a business process model.
Offering both on-premise and cloud-based RPA, AutomationEdge has a robust partner list (including large vendor BMC), which should aid product offering and growth over time. To ease deployment, the company offers hundreds of pre-built automations. Also in its favor: AutomationEdge offers a number of pricing levels to allow budget-strapped businesses to get on board with RPA.
RPA Vendor Comparison Chart
|UiPath||· Intelligent Automation Cloud||· A market leader in RPA sector· Acquisitions and diverse partnerships point to a growing portfolio||· Community edition is free. Other versions free for 60 days; then cost available upon request|
|Automation Anywhere||· Automation Anywhere Enterprise· Discovery Bot· IQ Bot· Bot Insight||· Top RPA vendor known for fast implementation· Extensive R&D staff suggests rapid product advances||· Community edition is free. Enterprise cost available upon request|
|EdgeVerve||· AssistEdge platform||· Owned by Infosys, so strong for Infosys clients· Has division dedicated to AI and ML||· Community edition is free. Enterprise cost available upon request|
|Blue Prism||· Intelligent RPA Platform|
· Blue Prism Cloud
· Digital Exchange
· Discovery Tool
|· High profile RPA vendor, strong in unatttended· Agile and MVP services· Solid AI implementation||· Free trial available. Cost available upon request|
|Softomotive||· WinAutomation· ProcessRobot||· Good RPA choice for SMBs· BI Drag and drop user interface||· WinAutomaton is $89 per month; ProcessRobot cost available upon request|
|WorkFusion||· Intelligent Automation Cloud||· Deep commitment to AI and ML· Strong in analytics||· Express version (1 bot only) is free. Cost available upon request|
|Kofax||· Kofax Intelligent Automation· Kofox RPA||· Single container system helps lower costs· Good for handling unstructured data||· Available upon request|
|NICE||· NICE Automation Studio· NICE Robotic Automation||· Top choice for enterprise attended RPA· Good tools for vertical integration||· Available upon request|
|Another Monday||· AM Ensemble||· Offers RPA as a managed service· Strong in security||· Based on usage; micropayment per transcation|
|Pegasystems||· Pega Robotic Process Automation· Pega Robotic Desktop Automation, Pega Workforce Intelligence||· Top offering for attended RPA· Focused on Digital Process Automation||· Available upon request|