Distributor Tech Data has announced a new partnership with San Jose-based Automation Anywhere, which will see their robotic process automation [RPA] software be made available to Tech Data resellers in both the U.S. and Canada. The software will extend the capabilities of partners working in the business process automation [BPA] space.
“The market has been looking at business process automation since we were Webifying green screens,” said Colin Blair, vice president, Analytics and IoT Solutions, Americas, at Tech Data. “This space used to be more about automation and orchestration. But over the last couple of years, with the advent of bots, it has evolved to be more about Line of Business automation. It has made its way out of IT and focused more on business outcomes.”
Automation Anywhere’s flagship product, Automation Anywhere Enterprise, combines traditional RPA with cognitive elements such as natural language processing and reading unstructured data. They are the market leader in the space, which despite the name is not about physical robots but software ones, which automate routine tasks. These have been around for years, but have become more important with the growth of artificial intelligence.
“This space is growing exponentially,” Blair stated. “The CAGR is almost 50 per cent, and while these started out as enterprise products, they have been making their way into the midmarket.
“This is really about the impact of digital transformation,” Blair added. “in my estimation, business resource planning was lumped into middleware and services-oriented kinds of software solutions. But the implications of convergence are broadening this into areas that are not as IT-oriented and more around business outcomes in areas like retail, healthcare, public sector, smart cities, and discrete manufacturing. This is a perfect bolt-on to our value proposition, because the RPA extends the productivity of BRP solutions that the channel is driving.”
Blair said that RPA extends Tech Data’s positioning as a solutions aggregator.
“Tech Data has made extensive investments in cloud, the Internet of Things, security and services,” he said. “This play complements all of that. Solutions are now data-centric. They have to be secure. They are increasingly focused on the hybrid cloud. The opportunities to provide these kinds of efficiencies exist everywhere. They help partners with new and different reasons of call, to go to end users to have conversations that have their basis in digital transformation. It is next-generation technology that lets partners solve those business problems and lets them be the trusted advisor to their customers. It sits in all verticals, with large customers and with small customers.”
Automation Anywhere already uses channel partners, but this is their first foray into distribution in North America.
“There is a strong alignment between us in our perception of where the market is going in next-gen technology spaces,” Blair indicated. “We are focused on the same vertical markets and use cases, and they see the opportunity in using the channel to maximize our mutual opportunity. In some cases, it expends into operational technology [OT]. One of the things we like about this partnership is that it is all about the data – how do you get data from point A to point B. Their automation capabilities automate what that data integration looks like, and can address a lot of customer pain points.”
While Tech Data already carries some BPA solutions, extending the value proposition with RPA and software bots will drive further productivity.
“It allows for the creation of repeatable solutions, such as in health care around wayfinding and admissions, and facilitates a customer-first approach,” Blair said. “The machine learning and AI capabilities then allows for further analysis on trends and thresholds.”