Private equity firm Vista Equity Partners announced it’s intention to acquire robotic process automation (RPA) software company Blue Prism. Subject to shareholder approval, it plans to merge Blue Prism into TIBCO Software, which it already owns. Forrester’s automation team took a look at this potential merger and had the following thoughts.
Our consensus is “thumbs-up.” A big value to TIBCO is in the customer base, and with the merger, it will get a great base. Blue Prism was an early mover in the RPA market and, in fact, named it and acquired many blue chip early adopters that value the scalability, security, and control that Blue Prism provides. RPA and intelligent automation is becoming more strategic each day, and TIBCO should now find it can climb to higher floors in the virtual building.
TIBCO over the years has become something of an automation roll-up. It appears in several markets that Forrester covers, including integration platform as a service (iPaaS), API management, business intelligence, decision management, streaming analytics, and data management — almost all based on acquisitions it made. This broad range of technical competence can infuse AI smarts rapidly in the Blue Prism platform. Recent Forrester RPA reviews had seen Blue Prism fading of late, mostly falling behind in analytics for document extraction, task and process discovery, and development of low code and business development features. TIBCO has R&D depth across many areas important to RPA. Moving to the private equity world will take pressure off public reporting and allow breathing room for Blue Prism to invest in longer-term AI innovation.
And lastly, RPA is an automation gap for anyone in the process world. TIBCO did not have it — it was best known for its iPaaS platform, and now it has a best-in-class platform for UI integration, so a gap has been filled. The move will complement TIBCO’s existing automation capabilities.
Blue Prism customers might be able to tap into an additional set of automation use cases leveraging TIBCO’s leading technology that shovels large amounts of data from one place to another at high velocity while curating it all. From a technological point of view, this has always been a shortcoming of RPA technology, as it was not designed for high-speed, large-volume data transfers. This gap has limited RPA’s applicability for many automation opportunities.
For the RPA market, this acquisition points to the further convergence of automation and integration technologies into the automation fabric. Forrester defines automation fabric as a framework to build, orchestrate, and govern a hybrid workforce of human and digital workers that links AI-based and traditional automation components along with a proactive program for innovation.