Automation Anywhere acquires FortressIQ for process mining

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December 23, 2021 6: 00 AM

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Robotic process automation (RPA) company Automation Anywhere today announced that it’s entered into a definitive agreement to acquire FortressIQ, a startup developing automatic process discovery and mining technologies. Automation Anywhere will now have new optimization capabilities to help identify software-based processes that can be automated in organizations, according to Mike Micucci, its COO.

” “As cloud-first companies we… have customers we can help scale digital transformation efforts and will benefit from our best of breed automation technologies,” he said to VentureBeat via email. “We believe that our acquisition of FortressIQ is a good business decision. Combining the pioneer in intelligent automation and the pioneer of process discovery is a great match .”

Mihir Shakla will remain as Automation Anywhere’s CEO and chairman. Pankaj Chowdhry (CEO and founder of FortressIQ) will join Automation Anywhere in the role of EVP and general manger for discovery.

Robotic process automation

As companies seek ways to improve their business processes and adopt digital technologies, the demand for RPA is growing. RPA promises to automate repetitive, monotonous tasks previously performed by humans. It will address bottlenecks in workflows, data and documentation, as well as provide audit trails and reduce compliance expenses and risks.

RPA begins with task discovery, or process mining. This is where the RPA client finds root causes by pulling data from various systems, including IT apps, desktops, email, and workflows. The next step in the onboarding process is task capture. This happens as employees go through a work flow that they want to automate.

“Automation is a technology that transcends all others as companies pursue digital transformation initiatives,” Micucci stated. Customers are showing great interest in process intelligence, which helps identify, map and analyze multi-dimensional processes across hundreds of apps and thousands employees. It also provides insight into which processes can be and should be automated to achieve business success .”

FortressIQ’s process-mining product uses AI, specifically computer vision and natural languages processing, to “learn” business tasks in real time. It analyzes and transcribes footage taken from a user’s laptop or desktop and then transcribes it. FortressIQ claims its technology can anonymize and filter out noise to protect privacy. The company claims that it doesn’t need APIs, transaction logs or installation. It works with existing, free, proprietary and commercial apps.

Chowdhry was the one who inspired FortressIQ when he was leading AI at Genpact (a business process outsourcing company). Automation Anywhere was our best option to help us accelerate our mission to provide actionable process intelligence. VentureBeat spoke with him about the difficulty customers faced in translating a process they discovered into an automated version. “We believe that [Automation Anywhere’s] scale is transformational for industry and will allow us to turbocharge our customer’s transformation agendas .”

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Expansion and consolidation

Gartner estimates that the market for dedicated process mining tools alone has grown from $110 million in 2018 to more than $320 million today. In a report released last September, analysts at the firm found that the broader RPA market increased at a moderate 19.5%, with total revenue anticipated to reach $2 billion in 2021.

Unsurprisingly, major RPA vendors are starting to invest in building out process mining. Automation Anywhere rival UiPath developed some of its own tools before buying Process Gold and StepShot for their process mining capabilities. Blue Prism has recently released Capture, a task-mining solution. Other vendors like ABBYY or Kryon are gradually expanding their process mining offerings.

“The demand for RPA and intelligent automaton has risen as the pandemic continues. Organizations have turned to automation to improve business resilience, support remote workers, and streamline their business,” Micucci stated. “With this acquisition we will add new capabilities to FortressIQ with built in intelligence to our automation platform. We also create a joint roadmap that focuses more on AI-powered process discovery. Customers will be able to accelerate and scale their automation journey .”

But Automation Anywhere’s acquisition comes at a time when the industry appears to be headed toward general consolidation — despite the vast amounts of capital being invested in it. SAP purchased Signavio, a German process automation company, in late January. This acquisition came just before ServiceNow entered the RPA segment through the purchase of Intellibot.io from India. In April, IBM acquired process mining software company MyInvenio. Salesforce’s MuleSoft and Microsoft followed suit with the purchases of automation technology providers Servicetrace and Clear Software, respectively.

Still, Automation Anywhere rival UiPath — which recently filed to go public — believes the total global RPA market to be around $60 billion currently. In a sliver of supporting evidence, Automation Anywhere claimed last November that it was on track to reach profitability for the first time.

“While RPA firms aspire for dominance, exits await Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere, UiPath, WorkFusion and a gallery of other RPA companies,” The Last Futurist’s Michael Spencer wrote in a recent analysis. “Sprawling technology platforms can acquire these RPA startups and turn them into automation software that’s profitable and will rapidly consolidate the entire sector.”

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