ServiceNow Makes A Play For RPA (Robotic Process Automation)

ServiceNow, which is a leading software provider for digital workflows, announced the acquisition of Intellibot, which is a developer of RPA (Robotic Process Automation) applications. The technology helps organizations streamline and automate repetitive and tedious processes.

Keep in mind that the RPA industry is one of the hottest in the tech world. After all, the ROI (Return On Investment) is generally strong and quick.

“We were particularly impressed with Intellibot’s strong experience and know-how in developing RPA,” said Josh Kahn, who is the Senior Vice President of Creator Workflow Products at ServiceNow. “We saw Intellibot’s existing product capabilities, modern UI and technical talent as key benefits that will help us accelerate and enhance our ongoing efforts around RPA to drive improved automation native to ServiceNow’s platform. Intellibot’s capabilities are also strong in IT use cases, which is highly complementary to ServiceNow’s core IT workflows.”

The plan is to integrate Intellibot’s capabilities into the Now Platform, which will make it easier for customers to use both modern and legacy systems.  There will also be a focus on AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning). 

Another benefit of the deal will be to help get a bigger footprint in India. The country represents one of the fastest growing segments for ServiceNow. By next year, the company will build two new data centers in the country. 

Consider that the deal for Intellibot is not a one off. ServiceNow has been ramping its dealmaking lately. Some of the other notable acquisitions include Element AI, Loom Systems, Passage AI, and Sweagle. 

 “Today’s announcement of the acquisition of Intellibot by ServiceNow further reinforces the importance that Intelligent Automation and more specifically, RPA plays in Digital and Automation Transformation,” said Jon Theuerkauf, who is the Chief Customer Strategy and Transformation Officer of Blue Prism Software. “We have seen several acquisitions in the last several months of smaller firms by companies like SAP most recently. Consolidations like the announcement today will continue as companies fight for this growing multi-billion dollar market. The winners cannot follow the pack though; differentiation will soon become evident for those that know what to look for.”

Prospects For The Deal

The acquisition for Intellibot does look like a good move. If anything, ServiceNow will be able to leverage its massive distribution footprint to monetize the software. Note that the company has close to 80% of the Fortune 500 as customers and many of them are looking for ways to automate the workflows on their legacy systems. 

“As customers scale with RPA, they are finding that it hasn’t been well integrated into the overall process automation strategy,” said Kahn. “It is often an island of automation and they are looking for ServiceNow to provide a more complete solution. We’re bringing everything into one platform, from the overall orchestration of the workflow to specific points of automation, based on RPA and other automation technology like low code tools, workflow, integrations and AI. Examples of workflow processes where RPA can play an important part include customer account creation and management, customer verification, employee on-boarding and off-boarding, data extraction and migration, and claims and invoice processing, among others. In every one of those use cases, there is a core business process with multiple forms of automation, including RPA.”

The deal for Intellibot may even represent a disruption for the industry. And yes, it could spur more consolidation.

“The biggest impact is the new capability this acquisition creates to move from individual use cases enabled by RPA, often disconnected across the enterprise and hard to scale and sustain over time, towards an enterprise model where this capability will simply be another option for organizations to consider as they move toward broad business change enabled by the ServiceNow Platform,” said Dejan Slokar, who is a Principal within Deloitte Consulting LLP. “Being able to execute on business process automation by leveraging a broad set of digital workflow capabilities will be an attractive value proposition to ServiceNow users. That being said, organizations that already have a large RPA footprint will need to evaluate and decide on what their priorities will be.”

Tom (@ttaulli) is an advisor/board member to startups and the author of Artificial Intelligence Basics: A Non-Technical Introduction, The Robotic Process Automation Handbook: A Guide to Implementing RPA Systems and Implementing AI Systems: Transform Your Business in 6 Steps. He also has developed various online courses, such as for the COBOL and Python programming languages.

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