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Should I stay or should I go? – my 2 cents on current and future leaders in Digital Process Automation 

Gustaf Soderlund
15 March 2023

The State of Digital Process Automation

Digital process automation (DPA) technology has been instrumental as the engine for digital transformation through digitizing and automating manual and paper-based process. As such, the DPA space has been a great place to be for many years, but it is becoming more crowded with more and more vendors. Current DPA leaders (like Pega, Appian and to some extent IBM and Microsoft) are under heavy attack from several fronts. We see suppliers entering DPA from other areas, like Salesforce (from sales and marketing) and even more so, ServiceNow (from ITSM and employee services). Lowcode (only) suppliers, like Outsystem and Mendix, are also trying to enter this space with basic workflow and business rules capabilities, but to a much lower cost. As some sort of RPA capabilities are nowadays integrated in the DPA platforms, even typical RPA suppliers (like UI Path and BluePrism) are starting to step up the value chain into IPA/DPA as analysts are deeming traditional RPA dead. But, as the analyst firm Horses for Sources cleverly points out: “What isn’t dead is the fact that RPA created the path…to a much bigger market that’s evolving”. What is also clear is that the DPA market is growing and that existing vendors (and newcomers) will want to capitalize on this, but the competitive landscape will get more fierce and tough going forward.

Focus Areas for Current and Future Leaders in Digital Process Automation

So, where should leaders keep and increase their focus to keep the edge and where should challengers extend their capabilities to become future leaders?

As a connected experience becomes more and more important, digital process automation platforms need to be able to orchestrate timely and contextual content across the journey using both historical and real-time stream processing data. While the central DPA platform would manage the processes for the business, a well-connected process management platform will be able to define and control process behavior dynamically based on recommendations. As organizations increasingly invest in cloud solutions, it is imperative that DPA solutions continue to build, not only their own AI capabilities, but also the ability to adopt to AI services extended by various leading hyper scalers. 

Considerations for Prospective Clients of Digital Process Automation

So, what does this mean for you as a prospective client? I’ve summarized three points to consider: 

Vendor Selection for Digital Process Automation

So, which vendor should you pick? Of course, the typical consulting response – ‘it depends’ – is relevant here. But the slightly longer response is, the more complex and regulatory needs you have, the more it makes sense to pay the premium price for some of the leading platforms. If your need is neither complex nor regulatory, you can safely opt for one of the more lightweight or even the low code-only solutions. You could do this analysis yourself, but it helps involving a trusted advisor doing this work that have the ability, the experience and can stay objective towards the vendors throughout this process.

Planning and Execution

Always start with the business need, the ToBe or the Target Operating Model – and then work backwards, to ensure you generate real business value (more on this in a coming blog post). Focus more on what you want to achieve (fitment analysis) than which platform is cheapest or comes with most bells and whistles. Many DPA implementations are transformative in their nature, which means you need to spend some time to really plan and prepare the implementation (else you should ‘prepare to fail’). And, when you take this plan to execution, you want an SI that’s prepared to have some skin in the game and take ownership beyond resourcing. Having the right partner can be the difference between a transformative change and a failed IT project.

Managing Change and Culture in Digital Process Automation

Don’t underestimate the cost of change, both from a technical point of view and a cultural point of view. Changing an enterprise workflow system can be a very big and costly affair, so that kind of decision shouldn’t be taken lightly and only if it’s supported by a very strong (and challenged) business case. From a cultural perspective, having a structured organizational change management approach can be vital.

At Capgemini, we’ve been doing digital process automation or IBPMS for the last 20+ years. You can always reach out to us if you want more detailed advice on this subject!


Gustaf Soderlund

Global Vice President Business Process and member of Digital Leadership team, Capgemini FS 
Gustaf has many years of experience selling, delivering, and leading business process and customer engagement solutions in a variety of industries, including banking and insurance Gustaf currently leads Pega globally and is the Augmented Services leader for Financial Services.

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