During our younger days, robots were mainly restricted to pages of Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury or in movies like Robocop and serials like Johnny Soko. Today robots are no more sci-fi, especially driven by the needs of Indian enterprises to automate their business needs. No wonder, therefore that a report by Research and Markets forecasts that the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) market will grow at a CAGR of 20% from 2019-25.
A vertical dissection of the Indian RPA market shows more than 70% of the pie being contributed by services while software accounts for the rest. There is a gamut of services being offered by different RPA players including advisory, consulting and training. They help enterprises identify the automation opportunities, optimize those identified processes, build business cases around them, select the right vendors and initiate pilot projects with them.
The predominant focus has been on consulting (accounting for 42% of the total pie) with the growing awareness about RPA amongst enterprises. The BPO sector particularly has been an aggressive BPO adopter with particular affinity towards robot orchestration, centralized robot dashboard management, and enterprise level robot deployments.
The growing popularity of RPA consulting services amongst Indian enterprises has ensured that market share has been grabbed largely by vendors like UiPath, Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere, Kofax and WorkFusion. The RPA solutions from these vendors do not completely eliminate the need for business management or enterprise application integration, but they offer a mean to automate complex and costly processes and expedite back office and middle office tasks.
UiPath: Bucharest-based UiPath has focused mainly on global captives and IT and BPO players to sustain its growth in India. The focus on captives can be gauged from the fact that UiPath’s India business is structured in teams that specialise in different geographies such as North American captives, European captives and Asia-Pacific captives. On the other hand, the Chennai BPO for whom UiPath did a pilot in 2014 was not only the first in India, but one of the first RPA projects anywhere in the world.
The cornerstones of UiPath’s GTM strategy in India have been its collaborations with Ingram Micro and KPMG. Appointing Ingram Micro as distributor enabled UiPath to leverage its network across 250 cities to bring more enterprises into the RPA fold. It also streamlined the procurement function by bringing in uniformity and predictability in commercial fulfilment.
On the other hand, UiPath joined hands with KPMG to enhance digital workplaces across the country. Under the partnership, KPMG and UiPath are offering Intelligent Automation solutions that expedite operational processes, increase agility and accuracy and lower costs through automation.
In sync with its rapid growth globally, in India too UiPath was looking to expand to eight cities including Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad and Kolkata, while increasing headcount in existing centers in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Gurugram by end of 2019. However, the sudden layoff of 400+ employees globally included workforce in India too and has caused a temporary roadblock to UiPath’s superfast charge in India.
Blue Prism: London-based Blue Prism has targeted the Global Capabality Centers (more than 1800 in India now) for its RPA solutions in India. These GCCs were one of the first adapters of enterprise-scale RPA in India for their global digital transformation initiatives and Blue Prism was a collateral gainer.
The acquisition of Thoughtonomy extended Blue Prism’s RPA capabilities on Microsoft Azure; the collaboration with EY, on the other hand, allowed it to offer RPA as a service using Azure. Result: significant additions in the client roster for Blue Prism across financial services, IT-BPO, manufacturing and healthcare.
Blue Prism was the first RPA vendor globally to establish a strong user community along with collaborative learning programs. It set up the Operational Agility Forum (OAF in 2009 that later evolved into the Digital Operations Community (DOC) for RPA leaders. The US-based Robotic Automation Advisory Council (RAAC) was also created in 2014.
Continuing the tradition, Blue Prism launched its online RPA community targeting GCCs in India. This community aimed to provide a forum for its members to share information and learn best practices for deploying and scaling Blue Prism. The community hosts and facilitates discussions among industry-specific user groups, RPA events, hackathons and demos for RPA practioners, professionals and innovators.
Automation Anywhere: India has become the second largest market for San Jose—based Automation Anywhere after the US. The launch of Bot Store, one of industry’s first online marketplace for 500+preconfigured downloadable RPA bots, on its platform definitely catalyzed this growth.
Automation Anywhere plans to invest $100mn in India over next 3-5 years. This would be used to open four new offices in Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune while beefing up the presence in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Vadodara. It also plans a new engineering center in Pune to add to the two in Bengaluru and one in Vadodara.
The company has focused on training especially to develop relevant RPA skilled workforce for India. Globally its agreements with the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants and Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) to offer RPA training to over 650,000 members globally had also spiralled to India. Training partners like NIIT, Fast Lane and Pasona also bolstered Automation’s attempts to create RPA workforce in India.
Automation Anywhere provides a complete suite of products capable of automating business processes at scale. This includes a foundational Enterprise RPA platform, IQ Bot, an AI product and Bot Insight, a predictive analytics capability embedded into bots. The acquisition of Klevops has further helped automate more processes with the same level of central governance, security and analytic capability.
Kofax: Kofax combines RPA with cognitive capture, process orchestration, mobility, engagement, and analytics. This helped its Indian enterprise customers mitigate compliance risk and increase their competitiveness, growth and profitability. Using its existing customer base for document digitization and e-signature solutions, Kofax successfully looked at upselling and cross selling RPA solutions.
The recent acquisitions of Nuance Document Imaging and Top Imaging Systems also enhanced its RPA capabilities through its full-scaled intelligent automation initiatives. As a result, Kofax has expanded its presence globally and India too has become one of its Top 5 markets globally.
Kofax has partnered with Borderless Minds for training RPA and intelligent automation-skilled workforce. Similarly partnerships with ISVs like Espire help enterprises gain digital dexterity and set off on the path of digital transformation through a combination of RPA and process intelligence.
WorkFusion: WorkFusion’s full range of intelligent automation tools including RPA, cognitive automation, and chatbots has helped many enterprises undergo digital transformation since its inception in India in 2016. BFSI and IT services and BPO have been the primary adopters.
WorkFusion has recently collaborated with NEC Management Partner (NMP)– WorkFusion Intelligent Automation Cloud software was used to implement business tasks even in India in cooperation with NMP staff, which enabled the software’s machine learning to become familiar with a wide range of tasks.