ServiceNow just announced that it plans to purchase Intellibot and add to its integration and process capabilities. As we predicted in 2020 (graphic below) the major low-code and cloud vendors are starting to move into the robotic process automation (RPA) market. The 2022 snapshot shows cloud low-code vendors such as ServiceNow and specialized domain-focused cloud vendors taking 10% of the market. Automation Anywhere just forged a strong partnership with Google, but unlike ServiceNow, Google is not as focused on process improvement, workflow optimization, and low-code markets in the same way: It maintains a consumer- and not enterprise-oriented focus.

This acquisition is different. It compliments ServiceNow’s existing automation capabilities. It is a blended acquisition of people and technology. Already with an Indian presence, ServiceNow picks a strong intelligent automation talent pool in Hyderabad. It gets good technology, as well. Intellibot brings a modern architecture. Although it has a small number of clients (perhaps less than 100), it has gained the attention of managed service partners in India (not an easy crowd to please) that want a modern and scalable architecture at low cost. For example, its orchestrator is multitenant and uses the latest computer vision techniques to control applications. It also offers some pretrained machine-learning models for specific applications such as text classification, named entry recognition, image object detection, and image classification. From the ServiceNow perspective, Intellibot can be deployed across at least four areas: customer service, core IT service management, security operations, and document extraction use cases.

It has a bit of the feel of the Microsoft acquisition of Softomotive. Microsoft’s internal development of an RPA capability was going too slowly for the hard-charging market, and the pipeline of UI integration features started to look daunting. Microsoft punted on its internal development, and it is likely ServiceNow will also. ServiceNow will replatform the RPA portfolio on its core data model and look for synergy with its AI components. All in, it is a very nice pickup. ServiceNow is not trying to be an RPA vendor, but it just wants stronger end-to-end process support, and it now gets plenty of that.