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Google today announced a strategic, multi-year collaboration with robotic process automation (RPA) startup Automation Anywhere to accelerate the adoption of RPA with enterprises “on a global scale.” The partnership will make the Automation Anywhere platform available on Google Cloud and see the two companies mutually develop AI- and RPA-powered solutions, closely aligning go-to-market teams.
RPA — technology that automates monotonous, repetitive chores traditionally performed by human workers — is big business. Forrester estimates that RPA and other AI subfields created jobs for 40% of companies in 2019 and that a tenth of startups now employ more digital workers than human ones. According to a McKinsey survey, at least a third of activities could be automated in about 60% of occupations. And in its recent Trends in Workflow Automation report, Salesforce found that 95% of IT leaders are prioritizing workflow automation, with 70% seeing the equivalent of more than 4 hours saved each week per employee.
As a part of its agreement with Automation Anywhere, Google plans to integrate the former company’s RPA technologies including low- and no-code development tools, AI workflow builders, and API management with Google Cloud services like Apigee, AppSheet, and AI Platform. Automation Anywhere and Google say they’ll also jointly develop solutions geared toward industry-specific use cases, with a focus on financial services, supply chains, health care and life sciences, telecommunications, retail, and the public sector.
For its part, Automation Anywhere has pledged to migrate its cloud-native, web-based automation platform to Google Cloud as its primary cloud provider, in exchange for becoming Google Cloud’s preferred RPA partner. Automation Anywhere will additionally make its products available in the Google Cloud Marketplace, enabling them to be deployed across cloud, hybrid, and on-premises environments and providing customers with a view of assets and environments.
As Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian notes, RPA has become a key part of businesses’ digital transformation efforts. Front office employees at call centers, financial services companies, human resources offices, IT departments, and more handle thousands of manual, repetitive tasks each day, like invoice processing, lending decisions, and employee onboarding. In the back office, IT teams and developers spend time managing APIs, entering data, and ensuring that apps can connect with legacy systems. Along with machine learning, computer vision, deep learning, and analytics, RPA can help businesses streamline these workloads through the development of AI-powered software bots capable of managing a number of front-and-back office tasks.
“As businesses increasingly run in the cloud, RPA provides the means to streamline processes across both cloud-native applications and legacy, on-premises systems — ultimately helping employees spend less time on repetitive tasks and more time supporting business-critical projects,” Kurian said in a press release. “We are proud to partner with Automation Anywhere to help businesses quickly deploy and scale RPA capabilities on Google Cloud, and to address business challenges with solutions specially designed for industries.”
The deal with Automation Anywhere appears to be Google’s answer to Microsoft’s acquisition of RPA startup Softomotive and IBM’s purchase of WDG Automation. Microsoft recently brought RPA to Windows 10 with new Power Platform products. With a market opportunity anticipated to be worth $3.97 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research, RPA is fast becoming too large to ignore. Automation Anywhere rival Blue Prism has raised over $120 million, Kryon $40 million, and FortressIQ $30 million. And in July, UiPath nabbed $750 million, bringing its total raised to $2 billion at a post-money valuation of $35 billion.
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