Points of View

Bringing Operational Analytics to RPA

Feb 29, 2016 Tom Reuner

The scope of and competitive intensity within the HfS Intelligent Automation Continuum keeps constantly expanding with new market entrants as well as new capabilities from existing participants that are building out their value propositions. Similarly, the narrow notion of RPA keeps evolving. The leading tool providers are expanding their roadmaps toward cognitive and analytics capabilities. At the same time, there are new players coming out of desktop automation in the contact center as well. As a result, what had initially been a narrow notion of what constitutes Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is evolving very rapidly. HfS recently had the chance to walk through the state of Intelligent Automation with executives from OpenConnect, who bring attention to operational analytics and a strong vertical focus on healthcare and insurance to the evolving RPA landscape.


While most RPA discussions and projects start with easy to secure process opportunities of lower complexity, OpenConnect is aiming first to identify and address the most complex processes because these tend to be the ones with the highest value. It achieves this via its WorkIQ suite that includes data collection, discovery, and analysis. The suite generates current state process maps that allow drilling down into a general process, specific transaction flow, a specific employee, or a specific transaction. Crucially, it supports Mainframe-based applications and processes. The process analysis is complemented by the broad capabilities of its workforce analytics suite that collects data on all desktop activities in real-time, even of remote workers. These analytical tools allow organizations to automate processes leveraging the AutoIQ RPA solution. A key differentiation of OpenConnect’s approach lies in the ability to analyze broad sets of data including deep data on real-time basis. Furthermore, its server-based RPA tool sits on the network rather than the desktop as some of the competitive products.


As the discussion on Intelligent Automation is moving beyond the initial cost reduction emphasis based on eliminating FTEs toward transformation and the notion of human augmentation, change management will become ever more important. Thus, real-time operational analytics can provide a critical building block for an organization’s journey toward the As-a-Service Economy. By focusing on the healthcare and insurance verticals, OpenConnect offers clients a blend of deep domain and process expertise as well broad automation tool sets. To date, its go-to-market is largely direct, but OpenConnect has started to work with a number of BPOs on selected accounts as it becomes oriented towards service providers as well.


Operational analytics will come increasingly to the fore as RPA deployments scale beyond proofs of concept. However, OpenConnect has to demonstrate that its RPA capabilities match those of the leading RPA providers or it must develop an eco-system approach where its productivity tools sit alongside other automation products. HfS is seeing the market evolving toward a portfolio approach on Intelligent Automation, thus differentiation and the clear communication of solution roadmaps will become critical success factors for those providers wanting to succeed in this market.


With an increasing market maturity and the leading automation tool providers evolving their capabilities, the HfS Intelligent Automation Continuum is getting ever more crowded. Consequently, the boundaries of the automation segments starting to blur. HfS will continue to evolve its thinking on Intelligent Automation throughout 2016 and welcomes discussion and debate on this evolution.