Appian will acquire native robotic process automation (RPA) capability with the purchase of Jidoka, which will be rebranded “Appian RPA.” It will be an additionally priced feature of the Appian Cloud platform. For 5K a month, enterprises can build as many robots as they need. Relatively small, with 25 employees, Jidoka clients are mostly unattended (back-office) use cases in finance and accounting, outsourcing, and utilities and in Spanish-speaking countries.
Appian’s goal is to be a one-stop shop for digital process automation (DPA) and RPA and to build out a more complete intelligent automation platform, an increasing need as enterprises begin to scale automation initiatives. RPA remains at the very center of many of these.
Appian is less likely to go head to head with the top RPA platforms but will look first to add RPA to its existing customers or find opportunities where DPA and RPA are both valuable. Market trends indicate there will be more DPA-RPA integration opportunities as rule of five task automation becomes harder to find. Appian will maintain partnerships with the big three (Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, and UiPath) that have resulted in successful projects.
For Appian, this is a technology buy: Jidoka has a Java-based architecture that runs on Linux, containerized, and cloud-native. As a smart and well-financed software company, Appian can quickly round out capabilities, such as task analytics, text analytics for unstructured use cases, or more attended mode features and customers, while expanding geographic scope.
All told, this is a very good move for this well-established process company. The challenge will be to not treat RPA as a loss leader to entice customers toward deeper automation but give RPA an equal seat at the process table.