As with any software, there are efforts to create open source RPA. Though there’s already some open source RPA providers, open source RPA ecosystem is currently quite immature. We do not expect this to change in the near future because we do not see major for-profit entities supporting no-code RPA yet. In all cases of strong open source adoption, for-profit companies heavily supported open source code development. For example, you can see share of contributions to Linux Kernel by for-profit companies in the featured image above.
RDA, also called attended RPA, is Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for the masses. RPA includes:
- Attended RPA which enables most knowledge workers to automate their work
- Unattended RPA which runs in the background, completing tasks in batches
- Hybrid: A combination of attended and unattended RPA tasks.
Read our RPA article’s types of RPA section for more on definition of different types RPA.
Just for clarity, we have seen RDA, attended RPA, personal bots or software assistants used to mean the same type of RPA programs. We’ll refer to this as RDA in this article but we also refer to it as attended RPA in other articles.
Why is RDA relevant now?
RDA facilitates human/bot collaboration. Sadly or luckily (based on how you view AI), cognitive capabilities of bots are quite limited when compared to humans. Therefore most of the time it’s not possible to completely automate a process, there are parts of a process that need to be evaluated by humans. With RDA, bots perform their tasks and then allow the human to make the necessary judgement calls/communication after which the simple parts of the tasks can be handed over to the bot.
Rpa is possibly the most flexible automation platform and as a result, rolling out RPA solutions require significant programming and customizations. Since RPA companies can not possibly build a solution for every process or task that will be automated, they rely on vendors to provide customized solutions. These solutions are provided in marketplaces built by leading RPA companies:
RPA marketplace owners are still developing a lot of the typical marketplace functionality such as:
- Developer categorization: By categorizing apps developed by RPA companies themselves, those developed by certified solution providers and those developed by 3rd party developers, RPA marketplaces give users a quick but crude assessment of the developer
- Ratings: For most categories of RPA apps (e.g. OCR), there are multiple solutions to choose from and ratings help users rank solutions.
- Reviews: It’s far easier to improve products with feedback. Users leaving public comments to apps helps apps improve their functionality
What are the apps offered in RPA marketplaces?
We can classify apps in these categories:
RPA development in most cases still takes months and requires costly maintenance. To improve this situation, RPA tech providers are building an RPA ecosystem: They develop the RPA software, build the marketplaces to attract developers who extend capabilities of RPA and sign partnerships with consultants and system integrators who implement RPA solutions. This guide aims to explain each part of the ecosystem so you know the full range of tools at your disposal as your company implements RPA solutions.
No code RPA is an emerging technology but there are already strong companies with commercial space emerging in this space. We see 2 major types of vendors in the space:
- 1st generation RPA companies expanding their offering with low/no code solutions
- 2nd generation RPA companies offering only no code solutions
1st generation RPA companies
While one of the largest RPA companies like Automation Anywhere still does not have a UX programming option, Unicorns like UiPath and BluePrism have been touting the effectiveness of their UX platforms since the last couple years. Though their UX has been growing in capability, we hear from implementation partners that most solutions are too complex to be built solely using the UX. Consultants inevitably end up relying on code to program the complex parts of RPA software.