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Lock or Unlock the future?
Can the technologies presented here put us on the path to a better future? Or do they risk leading us down the wrong road? A look at the perspective of our experts.
On the right path…
In a world of finite resources, automation is essential to avoid all waste: of materials, energy, time and skills. It enables the implementation and orchestration of new, optimised and dematerialised processes. Freed from thankless tasks and equipped with increasingly powerful no-code tools, employees can invest – and flourish – more in the transformation of the company and of their own business.
… or the wrong path?
We must not underestimate the human dimension of these changes, which challenge habits, raise legitimate fears and put individuals under pressure. For employees, the risk is not so much of losing their jobs to robots as of feeling pressured to be as available and fast as they are. Unlike humans, the machine never gets tired or stops, and letting it dictate the pace of the company means running the risk of serious psychosocial problems.
- Adopt: 83. Automation Anywhere 84. AWS Step Functions 85. BluePrism 86. Celonis 87. Nice 88. Nintex 89. Outsystems 90. Power Apps 91. Power Automate 92. UiPath
- Trial: 93. Aifi 94. Appsheet 95. Automation Hero 96. Bizagi 97. HyperScience 98. Kryon 99. Power Virtual Agents 100. Rocketchat 101. RPA Supervisor 102. Vosk 103. Workato
- Assess: 104. Dydu 105. OpenRPA 106. Rasa
- Automation Anywhere, Adopt
With its Automation 360 solution, Automation Anywhere is one of the major players in RPA (Robotic Process Automation), the fastest growing software segment. Automation 360 is a low-code, cloud-native, user-friendly solution that allows users to easily develop, deploy and manage automated processes, thus relieving them of time-consuming and unpleasant tasks. Automation 360 is useful for all business areas (HR, finance, etc.) and is particularly aimed at large organisations, where the benefits in terms of productivity, quality and user satisfaction are multiplied. In March 2021, Automation Anywhere signed a global technological partnership with Google that will see them closely integrate their respective products and develop joint solutions based on artificial intelligence.
- AWS Step Functions, Adopt
AWS Step Functions is a serverless workflow orchestrator. In particular, it allows you to extend the capabilities of AWS Lambda functions by combining them to create complex, robust and massive application processes. Step Functions manages, among other things, the error cases, which makes the code of each function lighter and clearer. It is also possible to restrict functions to elementary tasks, which are easier to maintain, and to present the business logic (loops, conditional branches, etc.) at the level of the Step Functions itself, which can take up to one year to execute. Mature and proven, the use of Step Functions appears to be essential to realise the promises of the serverless paradigm: to develop without worrying about execution conditions and to pay only for the computing resources actually used.
- BluePrism, Adopt
Blue Prism, founded in 2001, is the historical pioneer of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and is still one of the major leaders today. Its solution is distinguished by its robustness (which allows it to support complex processes and very large numbers of robots), its highly visual and intuitive interface, its dynamic debugging, and its rich queue management features. On the other hand, Blue Prism appears to be less advanced than some of its competitors in the cloud and in its offer of complementary products such as task or process mining. The platform is nonetheless particularly mature, ideal for the automation of back office processes in large organisations.
- Celonis, Adopt
Celonis specialises in the exploration, analysis and diagnosis of business process efficiency. Its EMS (Execution Platform System) solution is capable of analysing processes during execution on a large volume of transactions, and identifying, thanks to artificial intelligence, bottlenecks and areas for improvement. With around a hundred off-the-shelf connectors, it also offers the possibility of creating, without development, inter-application integration paths to immediately implement these recommendations. This dual dimension of analysis and implementation is what makes Celonis unique, and it is developing through numerous partnerships with software publishers, integrators and consulting firms. Recently, Celonis joined forces with ServiceNow and formed a strategic partnership with Accenture.
- Nice, Adopt
Positioned among the leaders in CCaS (Contact Center as a Service) by Gartner, NICE offers with CXone a platform that unifies and optimises the customer experience throughout their journey. As soon as contact is made, via a chatbot or by telephone, CXone recognises the customer and directs him or her to self-service tools or an agent, depending on the request and profile. In this case, CXone provides the agent with all the necessary elements to respond effectively. A studio and RPA engine enable end-to-end automation of processes, boosting productivity while letting agents focus on the relational dimension of their work. Finally, thanks to its analysis and back-office management tools, the contact centre optimises its operations and resources according to needs in order to improve service quality and control costs.
- Nintex, Adopt
Nintex offers a platform dedicated to automation of business processes based on three main pillars: process management, automation and optimisation. With the Promapp module, the organisation can map and visualise its processes, manage and control their evolution, and ensure their governance. Thanks to a library of standard connectors and integrated functionalities such as electronic signature and document editing, the automation module makes it easy to create and execute complex workflows. Ultimately, Hawkeye, the optimisation module, provides visibility into process efficiency to enhance performance. The Nintex platform is easy to integrate and use, and is particularly suited to optimising and automating largely manual processes, such as those found in finance, HR or marketing.
- Outsystems, Adopt
Founded in 2001 in Lisbon, OutSystems is the publisher of a low-code development platform that helps companies create, deploy and manage their applications quickly and easily. The solution provides a full range of visual tools, as well as automation and support services based on artificial intelligence, to speed up and make reliable the entire application lifecycle. The applications developed with Outsystems can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud, where they benefit from the best possible execution environment. Depending on the requirements, Outsystems can also be used to implement all necessary security, compliance and performance features at scale. OutSystems is extremely powerful and is aimed at IT professionals, who can benefit from significant productivity and quality gains. Very recently, Outsystems has launched “Project Neo”, their new platform which generates Kubernetes applications and therefore brings the speed of low code to cloud-native applications.
- Power Apps, Adopt
Microsoft’s low-code/no-code solution, Power Apps allows both casual and professional developers to easily create basic (Canvas) or more elaborate (Model Driven) applications. Power Apps is based on the tools of the Power Platform, such as Dataverse (cloud database), AI Builder (intelligent modules) and, above all, Power Automate, the inseparable complement to Power Apps to which it brings its capabilities for automating and linking tasks and processes. Power Apps also benefits from its natural integration with Microsoft’s collaborative work environment and over 400 connectors to various data sources. All of this makes it possible to develop applications that are closer to the needs of users devo.team/techradar 73 BUSINESS AUTOMATION more quickly, at a lower cost and in a more agile manner, provided that appropriate governance has been put in place upstream.
- Power Automate, Adopt
Formerly Microsoft Flow, Power Automate is Microsoft’s cloud-based RPA solution. Flexible, graphical, intuitive and highly robust, Power Automate enables users without programming skills to build and maintain automated processes, from the most mundane day-to-day tasks to the most complex business logic. For this reason, Power Automate is tightly integrated with Microsoft 365 and Power Platform tools, and has standard connectors for a large number of cloud services (if necessary one can create one’s own connectors). With AI Builder, Power Automate also allows the integration of artificial intelligence capabilities, such as text or image recognition. Although limited, the Power Automate licence included in Microsoft 365 offers the possibility to test and use the solution easily, and to take the first steps in RPA.
- UiPath, Adopt
Across many organisations, there are many processes that are based on repetitive, low-value-adding tasks. In recent years, automating these processes has become the holy grail of productivity and operational efficiency, so that RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is now the fastest growing area of enterprise software. UiPath is the undisputed market leader in this area according to various analyst firms, offering an end-to-end solution, from the discovery of processes and automatable tasks to the design, integration, execution and management of the robots. What is the only risk? Automating processes that are not optimised in any systematic way. However, with the right support, UiPath delivers a proven and rapid return on investment, and is a technology that no company should ignore any longer.
- Aifi, Trial
Thanks to a computer vision system, AiFi univocally identifies each customer in a point of sale as well as the products they pick up or put down on the shelves. The customer, who has registered with their mobile phone when entering the shop, can then pay for their purchases automatically and without contact when leaving. Customers benefit from a faster, smoother shopping experience while stores can remain open 24/7 without the need for checkout staff. The system was designed with absolute respect for privacy and compliance with current regulations (RGPD, CCPA). It does not use facial recognition and does not store any biometric data. AiFi has already deployed its technology in dozens of shops around the world.
- Appsheet, Trial
No-code development will be a major challenge for the years to come, as it helps to overcome the shortage of developers by giving businesses the ability to create the digital applications they need more quickly. Google, which is positioned in this market like all the major players, acquired the specialist AppSheet in January 2020. AppSheet is a no-code tool for citizen developers, allowing them to build web and mobile applications in a few days around numerous data sources (Google Sheet, Excel, Salesforce, MySQL, etc.). Appsheet offers turnkey functionalities and ready-to-use artificial intelligence components (character recognition, predictive models, etc.) to automate processes, as well as governance tools, which are essential to support the democratisation of development.
- Automation Hero, Trial
AutomationHero combines RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and artificial intelligence to automate all types of processes, from the most basic non-assisted tasks to the manual processing of complex documents such as invoices and contracts. In addition to a tool for process mining, AutomationHero offers an intuitive no-code interface, and a set of ready-to-use connectors and actions. Above all, AutomationHero makes it easy to incorporate artificial intelligence into its processes by means of predefined models (character recognition, document classification, data extraction, etc.) that can be parameterized. In the case of assisted automation, AutomationHero offers a customised interface, called Robin, that allows users to keep control of the process.
- Bizagi, Trial
Bizagi is a Business Process Management (BPM) platform that includes a process mapping and modelling tool, a low-code studio for creating automated processes, and an engine for running and orchestrating them. In order to accelerate development, Bizagi also offers process models, components and turnkey connectors (more than sixty). These combined solutions allow complex business processes involving humans, robots and systems to be optimised and automated from start to finish. Bizagi was founded in 1989 and has more than 1,000 customers in a wide range of industries.
- HyperScience, Trial
Hyperscience uses artificial intelligence to extract useful information from scanned documents, thus avoiding time-consuming and error-prone manual re-keying. Hyperscience processes scanned forms as 76 TechRadar | Business Automation well as low-resolution images or PDF documents, handwritten text as well as printed or typed characters. The platform uses the data collected to create and automate processes connected to the company’s various applications. Hyperscience is of particular interest to activities that process large volumes of paper documents, such as invoice management, mail sorting, claims and reimbursement processing, or identity verification, for which the productivity and quality gains can be considerable.
- Kryon, Trial
Kryon is a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) platform that covers the entire lifecycle of automation projects. This includes everything from automatic discovery and mapping of processes and detection of optimisation opportunities to simplified creation of automated processes using a low-code tool and a library of predefined actions and connectors. Kyron also covers execution and orchestration of robots and facilitates reporting, analysis and management via a centralised console. The Kryon platform allows for the automation of both assisted (requiring human intervention at certain stages) and unattended (robots operate completely autonomously) processes, expanding the possibilities of RPA and maximising its benefits. In February 2022, Kryon was acquired by its competitor Nintex.
- Power Virtual Agents, Trial
Power Virtual Agents are chatbots integrated into Microsoft Teams, which make it possible to equip and make interactive various needs for assistance: first level support, requests for information – as a company navigator that helps employees to find important information and as an interactive FAQ assistant about a tool, a product or a project. As a code-free solution, Power Virtual Agents makes it easy to define the dialogue stages (greeting, trigger expressions, escalation, etc.) for this type of use case based on pre-existing knowledge bases. Despite its limitations (lack of multilingualism, for example), Power Virtual Agents offers many possibilities for improving both the productivity of support services (which can focus on cases where a human presence is required) and the user experience (which benefits from accessible and immediate information).
- Rocketchat, Trial
Rocket.chat is a chat platform that provides companies with all the guarantees they need to make instant communication a daily tool. In addition to real-time chat, it allows for audio and video communications, and file sharing. Exchanges are end-to-end encrypted, and the company retains full control over its data. Finally, Rocket.chat is entirely open devo.team/techradar 77 BUSINESS AUTOMATION source and allows for all kinds of customisation and integration, particularly with social networks, productivity tools and chatbots. Rocket.chat can therefore be used for all sorts of purposes: remote working, communication within DevOps teams, unification of customer service channels, technical support, etc. Rocket.chat is a mature solution that is widely used in companies and has over 12 million users in 150 countries.
- RPA Supervisor, Trial
RPA Supervisor is a robot orchestration tool that can be connected to most RPA platforms (Blue Prism, UiPath…). The solution relies on artificial intelligence to optimise task scheduling and resource allocation according to business priorities. In case of failure or error, RPA Supervisor reacts automatically to maximise the availability of robots. The solution also allows the monitoring of usage data and performance indicators necessary to evaluate the return on investment. RPA Supervisor is a fairly young product, which is probably not yet fully mature, but its Norwegian publisher is very keen to listen to its customers and partners to improve it. The more robots become popular and important, the more this type of tool will be indispensable for managing the challenges of their profusion.
- Vosk, Trial
For practical or regulatory reasons, it is not always possible to use cloud-based speech recognition solutions. To remedy this, VOSK offers an offline tool that can transcribe audio files in more than 20 languages. VOSK’s language templates are only 50 MB each, making it suitable for use on mobile devices such as the Raspberry Pi, iOS or Android. VOSK is also distinguished by its simplicity of implementation. The counterpart of this lightness is a transcription that is still rather basic (to date, punctuation is not taken into account, for example), which would tend to reserve VOSK for the time being for non-critical use cases such as transcribing the words of customers in a call centre.
- Workato, Trial
Workato is a leading provider of cross-application integration use cases that enable code-free integration with the most popular business applications on the market. Workato develops and maintains an extensive library of connectors (more than 600 to date) and a catalogue of integration use cases (recipes), both of which are supported by their community of partners. This allows a business user, without technical expertise, to configure integration paths either by implementing existing recipes or by creating their own integration scenarios using drag-and-drop connectors. Positioned for the fourth consecutive year by Gartner as a leader in iPaaS integration, Workato has already convinced more than 11,000 customers.
- Dydu, Assess
The French editor Dydu offers a solution for building automated 24/7 intelligent conversational solutions, chatbots, callbots or voicebots. Thanks to its proprietary Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithm, users can communicate with the bot as they would with a human being, without being forced to use predefined keywords or scrupulously respect spelling, for example. This user-friendliness improves the user experience, facilitates the insertion of the bot into omnichannel paths and allows all the expected benefits to be reaped, whether in terms of customer satisfaction, productivity of support teams or cost reduction. Low code, the Dydu solution gives business teams the possibility to create, administer and continuously improve their bot in complete autonomy.
- OpenRPA, Assess
OpenRPA is an RPA (Robotic Process Automation) engine, which is positioned as an open source alternative to the solutions of the major players in the field (Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, Microsoft, UiPath, etc.). OpenRPA is a young tool, developed by the Danish publisher OpenIAP on the most recent technological standards (Kubernetes/Docker, MongoDB, etc.), which undoubtedly still lacks maturity, but which already offers some very interesting features. And, as it is free, you can try it without risk and evaluate the potential of automation.
- RASA, Assess
Rasa is a platform for creating virtual assistants, chatbots, voicebots and callbots. The German publisher offers two versions, Rasa X (free) and Rasa Enterprise (paid and more complete), the understanding (Rasa NLU) and dialogue (Rasa Core) engines on which they are based being open source. Together with the possibility of deploying Rasa containers on site (VM) or in the cloud (Kubernetes), it allows companies to retain complete control over their bots and data, and thus guarantee compliance and confidentiality. Powerful, accessible and relatively easy to use, Rasa is an alternative to the tools of the big players (Google, IBM, Microsoft, etc.) and enables all companies to integrate conversational agents into their internal (IT support, HR portal, collaborative platforms, etc.) and external (customer service) communication channels.