The Bottom Line: Roboyo’s growth strategy must be about more than RPA to be relevant to clients in the medium/long term
Automation services company Roboyo brings its as-a-service offerings and process-focused consulting to more North American customers through its acquisition of JOLT. Customers get the pureplay boutique focus of deep robotic process automation (RPA) expertise coupled with the reassuring scale of 400 employees at locations across 18 cities in 10 countries and three continents.
But, Roboyo customers tell us they want an increased focus on intelligent solutions to extend RPA functionality and increase the potential for business transformation, too. The next step must be to broaden its native automation chops to keep pace with the ambitions of clients and the native automation capabilities of bigger rivals.
Roboyo’s acquisition of US-based pureplay RPA service provider JOLT Advantage Group adds 150 Americas-based automation specialists and executes on Germany-headquartered Roboyo’s clear intent to scale in North America.
JOLT provides Roboyo with a sales engine focused on West Coast and Midwest clients complementing its current expansion with existing clients in the US market. Furthermore, JOLT gives Roboyo a significant foothold in the federal sector.
Roboyo’s consulting-led approach can also help customers expand their automation horizons beyond RPA toward the native automation that HFS advocates in our vision of OneOffice™. In the context of services, native automation uses those services that leverage a range of emerging technologies to create intelligent and automated workflows in the cloud, enabling new “native” standards for cross-functional enterprise operations. To deliver this requires a wider mix of technologies and capabilities.
Customers are buying automation solutions in which RPA is just one part
HFS sees enterprise customers increasingly seeking broader native automation solutions in which RPA is just one part of the story, albeit still the leading entry point. Revenues earned by systems integrators and business process outsourcing (BPO) service providers, combining technologies found on the OneOffice™ Emerging Tech Platform in Exhibit 1, are up 32% year on year, according to our Native Automation Service Providers Top 10. RPA remains the most-used technology of those applied, in use at 61% of leading service provider engagements in the enterprise.
But Exhibit 1 also shows us that automation is diversifying away from RPA-only solutions. Diversity is critical for scale, long-term success, and enabling enterprise automation (inclusive of IT and business) and the OneOffice. The #3 position, OneOffice Enterprise Applications (47%), serves to remind us that many enterprises regard the core applications running their businesses as their primary conduit for automation.
Exhibit 1: Enterprises are combining technologies and diversifying away from RPA-only automation solutions.
Sample: N=13 leading global service providers serving 14,000 enterprise clients
Source: HFS Research, 2021
The JOLT purchase deepens UiPath capabilities and gives Roboyo access to more customers’ broader automation journeys
Yes, UiPath is JOLT’s key partner, and JOLT is a member of the UiPath elite service network program. It was named UiPath’s Global Partner of the Year in the “Innovating RPA” category in 2019. So, some might read the acquisition of Tampa-headquartered JOLT as Roboyo simply doubling down on its UiPath relationships. But, we have already seen Roboyo combining automation technologies and services to respond to the emerging enterprise demand beyond RPA. And JOLT brings customers such as Citrix, Herbalife, Krispy Kreme, and Facebook into Roboyo’s range.
Roboyo’s journey has included expansion into optical character recognition, machine learning, and artificial intelligence-based technologies across functions such as process intelligence, intelligent document processing, and low-code app development with independent software vendors such as ABBYY, Outsystems, Celonis, Dialogflow, and Bizagi. JOLT also has relationships with ABBYY and Celonis and adds a product offering with Hyperscience for intelligent document processing.
Roboyo is conscious of the limitations of taking a product-centric view. From inception, its approach has focused on broader process consulting and less on implementation, though it has made a success of riding the UiPath wave.
Attending to that still-important RPA entry point, JOLT Analyze helps customers get a 360-degree view of their RPA, identifying when they can reuse components and where they need to deploy fixes. It embeds automatic code-checking tools to root out bad practices such as hard-coded passwords and poor design to make bots less brittle.
Adding offshore capability should add depth and lower cost to Roboyo’s offerings
The Roboyo move on North America was far from unexpected. It already had a presence and was looking to ramp up. As we wrote in our Highlight on its acquisition of AKOA in June: “Roboyo must now press its scale advantage by building its footprint… via the right acquisition in the NA [North American] market.”
Beyond being a suitable cultural fit, Roboyo’s choice of JOLT offers opportunities to leverage JOLT’s offshore base in Mexico. Roboyo can blend its European nearshore hub in Spain with the newly acquired offshore hub.
Roboyo’s pockets remain relatively deep since the business—one of the rising stars covered by HFS in 2020’s The Specialists: The Rise and Evolution of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Pure Play Service Providers—landed growth capital of €21 million from private equity backer MML Capital in September 2020.
Founded in 2015, Roboyo has enjoyed triple-digit growth driven by consulting-led process optimization, custom development, and productization of its internal intellectual property in its Converge platform, designed to help accelerate and manage engagements.
Net-net: Roboyo adds significant UiPath capabilities but needs to keep expanding beyond RPA to stay relevant in the future
It is hard to see past the apparent riding of the UiPath wave that the acquisitions of JOLT and AKOA represent. Sure, it makes for a good fit. And North America is very definitely where Roboyo needs to add some enterprise heft. But there has to be more.
There is. Roboyo must continue to build out its native automation capabilities and use them to rescue enterprise automation customers from the curse of failed task-based RPA experiments. Success will come from applying its consulting creds and building on its belief in the value of a broader stack of technologies to help companies realize native automation in the enterprise.