Microsoft’s Power Automate has been named as a Leader in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for RPA (Robotic Process Automation).
This is the third edition of the Magic Quadrant for RPA. This particular Magic Quadrant report focuses on “providers of RPA software products, not service providers that use RPA capabilities licensed from another vendor”.
What is RPA?
Gartner defines “Robotic Process Automation” as a digital enablement technology that leverages a combination of user interface (UI) and surface-level features to create scripts that automate routine, predictable data transcription work. RPA provisions software agents – “bots” – that mimic human interactions with software systems, take on repetitive, predictable tasks, and act either in concert with humans (attended RPA) or mostly autonomously (unattended RPA).
According to the Gartner Magic Quadrant report, RPA software tools must, as a minimum:
- Enable citizen developers to build automation scripts
- Integrate with enterprise applications, primarily via UI scraping
- Have orchestration and administration capabilities, including configuration, monitoring and security
In addition, there are some RPA platforms that offer advanced features such as:
- Intelligent document processing
- Auto machine learning (Auto ML) and natural language processing (NLP)
- Process mining and discovery
There are also certain RPA platforms that have new capabilities which include:
- API connectors that can be orchestrated along with UI scrapers
- A low-code user experience (UX) for building UI front ends for bots
- Headless or serverless orchestration of automation workflows (also described as “headless bots”)
Power Automate – a leader in RPA
In Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Robotic Process Automation report published earlier this year, Microsoft was named as a Leader in the RPA Magic Quadrant. Microsoft’s RPA product is Power Automate, “a service that helps you create automated workflows between your favourite apps and services to synchronise files, get notifications, collect data, and more”.
Figure: 2021 Magic Quadrant for RPA (Source: https://info.microsoft.com/ww-Landing-Magic-Quadrant-for-RPA-Landing-and-Confirmation)
Power Automate includes the following features:
- Power Automate Desktop (PAD) which is augmented by Microsoft’s SaaS-based automation platform on Azure.
- API integration and orchestration capabilities.
- Seamless integration with other elements of the Power Platform, including Power BI, Process Advisor, Power Apps and Power Virtual Agents.
- Integration with the Microsoft Stack.
Looking ahead, Microsoft’s roadmap for Power Automate includes more out-of the-box API connectors, an improved recording experience, a more resilient runtime on virtual machines, easier installation processes and simplified document processing with embedded AI.
Power Automate – key strengths
According to the Magic Quadrant report, Microsoft, as an RPA software provider, has three key strengths:
- Product Strategy – “Microsoft’s RPA value proposition includes RPA with API orchestration that can integrate multiple systems of record to automate routine data transcription work. Microsoft uses all the components of its Power Platform to create a single, unified, end-to-end platform that offers automation, integration, low-code application development and analytics capabilities in order to meet enterprises’ business process automation requirements.”
- Microsoft ecosystem – Microsoft has a large customer ecosystem – 1 billion people can access Power Automate and it has 15.8 m bots deployed that are driving 1.5 m actions per day – which Power Automate integrates with.
- Sales execution and operations – A free version of Power Automate Desktop is available to all Windows 10 users. There is also a paid-for, premium offering that including all of the product capabilities, such as API connectors, process discovery/task mining and Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) on a per-user, per-month basis. Power Automate’s “sales ecosystem” is made up of a growing network of over 400 partners.
Power Automate – key cautions
According to the Magic Quadrant report, they have three key cautions about Microsoft’s RPA solution:
- Windows dependencies – Microsoft’s RPA is heavily dependent of Window. At the moment, Power Automate Desktop requires local installation on desktop devices or virtual machines that run on Window 10, Windows Server 2016 or Windows Server 2019. Microsoft does not currently support PAD installation on devices with ARM processors or other operating systems.
- Pricing – The report raises concerns about the per-user pricing model used by Microsoft which can be complex for customers to understand.
- UX – “Navigation between Microsoft Teams, PAD and the Power Automate service on the cloud can be confusing for business and IT users. Although PAD is the cornerstone of Microsoft’s RPA, the UX for automation design often starts with the Power Automate web portal. Additionally, some connectors and productivity apps are offered via Teams, which complicates navigation choices when designing and developing bots.”
Click here for more information on other RPA software providers named in the 2021 Magic Quadrant for Robotic Process Automation.
Why can TVision help you?
RPA, and Microsoft’ Power Automate, is an excellent way to automate time-consuming and tedious financial processes and is, therefore, extremely beneficial for many businesses. RPA will allow you to streamline your financial processes and, as a result, achieve greater business efficiency and effectiveness. TVision, as one of the UK’s go-to partners for Business Central, can help you to both implement Business Central in your business successfully and advise you on how best to use RPA, in conjunction with your ERP system, to achieve these business goals. Contact us to find out more.