Microsoft Enters the RPA Market it Built
Recently Microsoft announced it was adding RPA capabilities into its Power Builder/Power Automate application. I saw the news about Microsoft entering the RPA Market and responded in kind on LinkedIn with the following statement.
“It’s kind of astounding that they are “entering” into RPA. They actually developed the API that drives most of the activities used, ie win32, UIA and the shdocvw (Internet Explorer API).”
In the recent months, Automation Anywhere announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft to advance intelligent automation.
While the extent of the partnership isn’t exactly clear, it shows the Tech Giant’s move to align with Automation vendors. I am confused as to the value AA can bring to Microsoft. Perhaps it’s to expand its own platform of Azure, Azure API and the rest of its suite of products. It is my thought that unlike some other spaces Microsoft has gotten into, companies they have either purchased from a technical perspective, RPA is not anything they need to learn.
I will contend as I did in my statement. They have created many of the techniques to automate an application that all the major RPA Vendors use. I know this because I created an RPA application that pretty much does everything UiPath does from a practical standpoint.
To be frank there is no secret sauce in 98% of today’s commonly used RPA Activities.
Many of these methods are using low level “C” or “COM” based libraries. As I described in one of our first blogs these libraries have been around for years and exist within the windows operating system. It’s the nuts and bolts of RPA. So taking the technical piece out of this for a second. I’d like to say that the one thing Microsoft doesn’t have is an ability to orchestrate bots, AI and ML activities in a scalable way.
Besides UiPath’s leadership on the activity level and the openness of their platform to create and add existing custom activities easily, the real game changer for them is their Orchestrator. At UiPath Forward III Craig LeClair from Forrester advocated that there are many AI and ML vendors out there but they can’t orchestrate their tools with others. The UiPath Orchestrator in concert with its IDE (UiPath Studio) can make this possible. It is for this reason I have been thinking of RPA as rich integration platform amongst many things.
In closing, don’t believe the hype regarding Microsoft “entering” the RPA space. They created it, they are just figuring out ways to utilize it. It’s my feeling they don’t want to mimic what UiPath is doing but use its methods to add more value to their product lines.
Peter S. Camp is the CTO and Founder of CampTek Software. He has been developing RPA Applications for over 15 years. For further questions, discussion or inquiry about CampTek Software Services, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.