rob king

Low-Code: Collaborator or Challenger for the RPA Crown?

Low-Code: Collaborator or Challenger for the RPA Crown?

Last week was the Largest ever low-code conference ever globally, hosted by Mendix in Rotterdam, it boasted around 5000 visitors across 2 days.  So what is low-code, what has it got to do with RPA, and should I care?

Low-code is an approach to development that uses visual modelling and configuration instead of traditional programming to create applications.  Many RPA tools are referred to as low-code, as are many of the ecosystem products such as Appian or TrustPortal because they follow this same principle.

Reinforcing the similarities even further, the target users for these products are often the business and not IT.  Mendix refers to this audience as Citizen Developers, and similarly to RPA benefit from business experience above a technical background.  

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The Low-Code and RPA markets are similarly buoyant with predictions that low-code alone will reach $21 Billion market size within the next 3 years.  It seems surprising that there hasn't been more recognition of these similarities sooner.

Low-code and RPA also provide high levels of integration between separate applications so you can understand at first why there may be an assumption that they do the same thing.  But, the devil is in the detail and it is at this point Low-Code Application Development Platforms (to use the full title) and Robotic Process Automation diverge and become powerful in their chosen areas of operation.

Low-Code delivers fully developed applications across a variety of platforms, include the ability to build entire databases, and have strong change management, version control and application deployment capabilities as a core component.  Building entirely new applications at 10-times the speed of traditional programming tools is the wheel-house of low-code development.

In contrast, RPA mimics human interactions to provide a digital-human layer (rather than application layer), is focused predominantly on windows and browser-based applications, uses the data only from underlying applications, and orchestrates the actions of your team of digital workers.

While the development approach and target audience have many similarities, there are many benefits from having both low-code and RPA at your disposal to deliver a comprehensive programme of digital transformation.  Utilizing each tool for its own strength will open up new opportunities to develop integrated solutions.

The RPA Academy is here to keep you informed in the rapidly developing ecosystem.  We are continuing to develop new insights and opportunities to further your knowledge.  Contact our team to learn more, check out our newly updated blogs and videos sections on the website or browse our catalogue of training options.

Rob 

A Change of Pace

The last three weeks newsletters have been packed to the brim with news from several conferences, large and small, with groundbreaking news on current and future developments in RPA, AI and the growing inter-connected ecosystem of solutions.

This week is a change of pace as I write this from an apartment balcony in Cyprus overlooking the blue Mediterranean Sea and reflect on this weeks newsletter.  It's a location that provides a welcome reminder that it is the customer interactions, the level of  service, the banter and the entertainment that will remain untouched by automation, even if it were possible to do so.

Looking back over the last few weeks it's been great to see the technology roadmaps of all vendors advancing, but on reflection this opens up two new challenges.  First, the business skills needed to develop and grow an automation program are still scarce; Second, the RPA ecosystem is growing at such a pace that it's difficult to keep up.

We've already started to develop the business skills: check out our Executive Briefing webinar and the new live-online Business Side of RPA course, which will help you to cut through the jargon and deliver the insight needed to start, scale an sustain a successful automation program.

Meanwhile the ecosystem is already huge, and all vendors are announcing an ever-growing list of technology partners.  Here at the RPA Academy we're seeking ways to help you all navigate these new opportunities, expand our technical training to include these topics and build a program of webinars to help raise awareness.  To whet your appetite, here are a few areas we'll be exploring in the coming months:

  1. Process Mining and Discovery

  2. Document Identification and Classification

  3. Natural Language Processing

  4. Dealing with Unstructured Data

  5. Computer Vision

  6. Orchestrating the Human and Digital Workforce


You'll be pleased to hear that normal service will be resumed next week as I'll be investigating whether RPA and low-code development platforms are competitors or collaborators!  For now though, I'm off to enjoy the sun and a bottle of local brew.  

Rob King