When UIPath its S-1 last week, it was a watershed moment for the robotic process automation (RPA) market. The company, which first appeared on our radar for in 2017, has raised an astonishing $2 billion while still private. In February, it was valued at $35 billion in its latest round. RPA and came to the fore during the pandemic as companies took steps to transform digitally. When , it became crucial to cobble together more automated workflows requiring fewer people in the loop.
RPA has enabled executives to provide a level of workflow automation that essentially buys them time to update systems to morewhile reducing the large number of mundane manual tasks that are part of every industry’s workflow.
When UIPath raised money in 2017, RPA was not well known incircles even though it had already existed for several years. The category was gaining popularity by that point because it addressed automation in a legacy context. That meant everyone not born in the cloud — could automate across older platforms without ripping and replacing, an expensive and risky undertaking that most CEOs would instead not take.
RPA has enabled executives to provide a level of workflow automation, a taste of the modern. Itapproaches while reducing the large number of mundane manual tasks that are part of almost every industry’s workflow. While some people point to RPA as job-elimination software, it also provides a way to liberate people from some of the most mind-numbing and mundane chores in the organization. The argument goes that this frees up employees for higher-level tasks.
As an example, RPA could take advantage of older workflow technologies like OCR (optical character recognition) to read a number from a form, enter the data in a spreadsheet, generate an invoice, send it for printing and mailing, and develop a Slack message to the accounting department that the task has been completed.
We will take a deep dive into RPA and the more extensive process automation space — explore the market size and dynamics, look at the key players and the most prominent investors, and finally, try to chart out where this marketgo in the future.
Meet the vendors
UIPath is an RPA star with a significant market share lead of 27.1%,. Automation Anywhere is in second place with 19.4%, and Blue Prism is third with 10.3%, based on , the last time the firm reported on the market. Two other players with significant shares worth mentioning are WorkFusion with 6.8% and NTT with 5%.