Microsoft Looks To Disrupt The Low-Code And RPA Industry

At its recent Ignite conference for developers, Microsoft revealed it is making significant moves in the automation space. The company announced it would be making its low-code RPA offering — Power Automate Desktop — available to Windows 10 users for free.

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Since acquiring RPA technology provider Softomotive in May 2020, Microsoft has made a slew of announcements regarding its low-code automation solution. In December, the Seattle-area software juggernaut made Power Automate Desktop generally available for a fee and, starting March 2, Windows 10 users can now download the tool at no additional cost.

Microsoft’s recent low code announcements indicate that, instead of building a bespoke deployment system, Microsoft’s approach will be to incorporate low-code software into an enterprise’s existing CI/CD workflows.

Azure-originator Microsoft has focused on cloud RPA to provide central management and governance for these automations. This reduces the overhead of deployment and management for organizations, compared to traditional RPA approaches that required dedicated servers and deployments to manage. Power Automate also supports a wide range of integrations via more than 475 connectors.

In an interview with RPA Today, Charles Lamanna, Corporate Vice President for the low code platform at Microsoft, said making RPA part of the low-code Power Platform is the natural progression of the conversation the industry is having around citizen developers and empowering business lines with automation technology.

“If you truly want to democratize RPA, you don’t talk about millions of users,” Lamanna said. “You have to talk about a billion users. There’s no better way to do that than to tap into the Windows community.”

In May, Microsoft expanded into process capture and analytics with the release of Microsoft Process Advisor. This extends the reach of Microsoft Power Automate, the company’s RPA and cloud integration platform.

These updates will ultimately supercharge Microsoft’s Power Automate strategy scale beyond RPA into the broader hyper automation market. Notably, Gartner expects the hyper automation market to grow from $481.6 billion in 2020 to $596 billion in 2022.