Robotic process automation company Automation Anywhere Inc. is releasing a free-to-use Community Edition of its software in what looks like an effort to showcase the merits of its platform to a wider audience.
Automation Anywhere is one of the biggest and best-funded of a clutch of RPA startups that have emerged in recent years. RPA is a fast-growing subset of artificial intelligence that involves using software robots to observe workflows in common business applications and then deduce ways to automate repetitive tasks.
In the case of Automation Anywhere, the company has tried to set its platform apart from its rivals with an expansive set of value-added features. Its software enables companies to build custom AI bots optimized for their workloads, centrally manage their deployments and analyze performance. Organizations can also access ready-made bots for popular business applications through a marketplace that was added last year.
“[RPA software] simulates human behavior on a computer… and can make basic cognitive decisions if it is as sophisticated as ours is,” Automation Anywhere co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Mihir Shukla (pictured) said during an interview on SiliconANGLE’s livestreaming studio theCUBE last year. “It can run things on a computer in an autonomous way.”
The software has proven popular thus far, with Automation Anywhere recently claiming to have signed up more than 1,400 paying customers, including the likes of General Motors Co., Mastercard Inc. and Google LLC. The company also has a massive war chest at its disposal, having landed a massive $300 million round of financing from SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund in November that values it at more than $2.6 billion.
Still, the RPA market is a very competitive one, and Automation Anywhere faces competition from rivals such as UiPath Inc., which has raised a serious amount of cash itself and is valued at $3 billion. Other notable players include BlackLine Inc., Blue Prism Group, Kofax Inc. and Pegasystems Inc., all of which are chasing a market that’s expected to reach $2.3 billion in revenue in 2019, according to data from HfS Research.
With so many rivals all vying for a piece of the action, it’s not really a surprise that Automation Anywhere is trying to entice prospective users to take a closer look at its platform.
The company said the Automation Anywhere Community Edition provides users with access to its “full suite” of offerings, including its basic RPA tools that are used to build AI bots, its IQ Bot cognitive automation platform and its Bot Insights embedded analytics software. Free users can also access the company’s online marketplace in order to buy ready-made bots that can automate a range of business tasks.
Kashif Mahbub, vice president of product marketing at Automation Anywhere, said the thinking behind the community edition release was to try to eliminate the barrier to entry to RPA for small businesses, many of which have yet to explore the benefits of automation.
The Community Edition matches the features such as robust bot development of its Enterprise Edition, which is a paid version of its RPA platform that’s designed for its larger enterprise customers such as Google, Cisco Systems Inc. and LinkedIn Corp., he said.
“It [provides] the tools to learn and build bots fast, understand how automation works at large scale by giving them a view into the cloud-based control center and then enables them to showcase their bots in the Bot Store for a global audience,” Mahbub said.
The Community Edition isn’t just targeted at small businesses but also at students and young professionals taking Automation Anywhere University courses who also need free access to its platform. The Automation Anywhere Community Edition can be downloaded here starting today.
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