We’re in the midst of a bot uprising. According to a recent survey from Deloitte, 53% of survey respondents have embraced robotic process automation and 72% are expected to do so in the next two years. Whether it will be a successful uprising, one where productivity rises, remains to be seen, as the barriers to robotic process automation remain steep.
To help overcome some of those barriers, RPA software vendors recently announced enhancements that they hope will streamline the use of their development products. RPA platform provider Automation Anywhere, for one, announced numerous enhancements across its platform that the company hopes will simplify business automation.
The enhancements to its platform, Enterprise A2019, include a native cloud-based bot development environment, said Kashif Mahbub, Automation Anywhere’s global head of RPA. “The web development environment is designed to make life easier for the business user, as well as provide significant functionality to the IT manager and developer,” Mahbub said. “They don’t need to install any software. Just fire up your browser, log in, click and automate.”
Enterprise A2019 provides customers what Automation Anywhere calls “RPA as a service” from the cloud, as well as an on-premises deployment with privacy, security and encryption controls built-in. Mahbub said the idea is to help to reduce costs and increase scalability. “We are squarely targeting the barriers to RPA with this release,” he said.
“Today, typically, if you want to build a bot, you have to download a software client. That is true with most vendors; even if they enabled web bot creation, they still require a client be installed on your machine,” Mahbub added.
Automation Anywhere isn’t the only RPA vendor to take steps recently to make its offerings easier for enterprise users. In September, automation provider Blue Prism enhanced its Data Gateways for improved data manageability and maintenance, including retaining data on the gateway until it is able to be properly transmitted, increased telemetry and improved database maintenance capabilities.
There are three primary personas within the enterprise who are currently adopting RPA, according to Automation Anywhere’s Mahbub. “The first is the business user. This user is tech-savvy and is familiar with SAP, Oracle, macros, but they are not a developer. The second is the developer, and the developers are automating to further DevOps and other initiatives. The third persona is the IT manager,” he said.
Marshall Couch, at specialty chemical company Eastman Chemical, said he welcomes the new features that make it easier for business users to create their own bots but he also finds it important that more advanced capabilities remain available to developers. Eastman Chemical has both business users and developers utilizing RPA, he said.
While developers turn to RPA to save time and make technology management more efficient, especially when there aren’t APIs available, business users turn to RPAs when they want to get something done with technology but don’t want to necessarily involve the IT department right away. “Automation Anywhere provides us with the best of both worlds when it comes to the tools developers expect and need and the ease-of-use for our business users,” he said.