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Salesforce today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Servicetrace, a robotic process automation provider (RPA) headquartered in Darmstadt, Germany. When the deal closes, Servicetrace will become part of Salesforce-owned MuleSoft, the companies said in a joint press release.

RPA has recently emerged as a top software trend, combining robotics and automation to perform repetitive back-office tasks. It enables business users to streamline workloads without needing specialized skills, but the shift to digital-first experiences has created more data from systems than ever before. Companies face the challenge of securely integrating, automating, and managing workflows across multiple silos — Deloitte reports that 17% of organizations face employee resistance when piloting RPA and that 63% of those organizations struggle to meet time-to-implement expectations.

There’s no shortage of vendors in the RPA market, but what sets Servicetrace apart is its combination of integration, API management, and automation, according to MuleSoft CEO Brent Hayward. The company leverages technologies that include image recognition, pattern search, and AI-assisted optical character recognition to recognize graphical user interfaces like a human, allowing customers to drag, drop, and customize automation workflows through backend dashboards. Once deployed, Servicetrace’s software robots can be configured to work in hidden and access-secure sessions, ensuring a baseline level of security.


Above: Servicetrace’s automation workflow designer.

Image Credit: Servicetrace

“[These technologies are] required for companies to scale and increase the speed of work — from streamlining sales operations to speeding up customer case resolution. And that’s why we’re thrilled to bring together Servicetrace’s leading RPA solution with our leading API and integration platform,” Hayward wrote in a blog post. “Our platform makes it easy to unlock and integrate data from anywhere — wherever it resides — and manage, monitor, secure, and govern that data at scale. MuleSoft will now also make it easy for line of business and knowledge workers to automate business processes and dramatically increase efficiency and speed.”


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A growing market

CEO Markus Duus founded Servicetrace in 2004 in his unheated basement. The company has since grown to a workforce of around 55 employees, according to LinkedIn data. Servicetrace released the first version of its software in 2005, and it has expanded with products over the years — including an automation tool designed specifically for health care clients.

In a recent Gartner study, analysts at the firm gave high marks to Servicetrace’s intelligent process recorder and scaling technology, as well as its integrated return on investment analytics and Kanban board for collaborative projects.

The market for RPA has grown substantially during the pandemic, despite challenges. As enterprises look to scale up operations while lightening the load on remote workers, brands across banking, retail, manufacturing, and more sectors have applied RPA to tasks in areas like sales, human resources, and logistics. According to a Deloitte survey, 53% of respondents are beginning to deploy RPA. And Grand View Research anticipates that the RPA industry will be worth $3.1 billion in 2025, up from $358 million in 2017.

MuleSoft’s Servicetrace acquisition — Salesforce’s first in the RPA space — is expected to complete in Q3 2022, subject to customary closing conditions. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

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