Key Criteria for Evaluating Robotic Process Automation Solutionsv2.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. RPA Solutions Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take
  8. About Ben Stanford

1. Summary

Robotic process automation (RPA) solutions are used for user interface (UI) and surface-level automation, and they support both unattended and attended automation use cases. In simpler terms, RPA solutions provide scripts to enable UI-level integration with legacy applications or systems that do not expose an API.

While there are other tools available to generate REST APIs against legacy back ends, RPA solutions are preferred because of their less-technical approach to automation and faster time to automation. RPA empowers technology savvy business users who are not part of a technology team—finance, HR, operations, or any other department in the organization besides IT—to create and own automations. This degree of accessibility places control of the solution and outcomes into the hands of the people performing the manual tasks.

As enterprises adopted RPA solutions to automate specific tasks and processes, requirements arose for other capabilities—such as intelligent document processing (IDP), API-led integration, and task mining—to automate end-to-end processes. This evolution indicates an increased capability of these solutions (along with adjacent products) to support a greater degree of automation for an end-to-end process.

Just as we’ve seen in other product lines, marketplaces are now part of RPA solutions. These RPA specific marketplaces are called “bot stores” and offer prebuilt components and RPA bots for automating a specific task. These bot stores are now a key requirement for enterprises that have scaled beyond their first couple of dozen RPA bots. API-led integration tools are used when application and data integration can be achieved via APIs.

Beyond legacy optical character recognition (OCR) tools, RPA solutions integrate with IDP solutions to enable document ingestion and processing. In other words, they convert semi-structured and unstructured data in documents to a structured format. Task mining empowers organizations to understand how tasks are performed by monitoring user interactions with their workstations. Auto-generation of process design documents (PDDs) for automation opportunities identified via task mining helps RPA developers expand their understanding of end-to-end processes.

RPA solutions have gradually expanded to offer a greater set of features and capabilities than mere task automation could. RPA adoption has entered the mainstream, and some RPA implementations have scaled to thousands of bots. At the same time, some RPA initiatives fail to scale beyond the first couple dozen bots. Such failures cannot be simply attributed to the technical aspects; people and process aspects are equally important for RPA initiatives to scale and deliver positive outcomes.

This GigaOm Key Criteria report details the criteria and evaluation metrics for selecting an effective RPA solution. The companion GigaOm Radar report identifies vendors and products that excel in those criteria and metrics. Together, these reports provide an overview of the category and its underlying technology, identify leading RPA solutions, and help decision-makers evaluate these solutions so they can make a more informed investment decision.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

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