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SAP hits back at interlopers with its own twist on workflow, low-code and RPA tech

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SAP is trying to take on the upstarts slurping customer spending with sales pitches for workflow, low-code and robotic process automation tech.

Not content to see former CEO Bill McDermott hog the limelight by proclaiming his new home, ServiceNow, the "defining enterprise software biz of 21st century", SAP said it has created Cloud Platform Workflow Management wares to let developers and admins alike "configure and automate enterprise workflows in a low-code approach".

Meanwhile, SAP is taking on low-code specialists such as Betty Blocks, Mendix, and Pega Systems with its own SAP Ruum solution. No, we don't know how you pronounce it either, but it "allows business users with no coding skills to create departmental processes in hours instead of days and weeks".

What could possibly go wrong? Users fearful of business teams breaking everything should ask about data governance and guardrails.

Finally, SAP simply had to do something with that little French robotic process automation company it bought a couple of years ago, and the result is SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation (RPA) 2.0 which "targets developers looking to automate repetitive, manual tasks with software bots".

SAP said that from January 2021 it will include a limited edition of SAP Intelligent RPA in every SAP S/4HANA Cloud subscription.

So what is SAP playing at? Since workflow, RPA and low-code began to emerge as sizeable categories in the enterprise software market, SAP has been stuck between acknowledging that nascent vendors have found a useful niche in its market, or competing.

In September, fellow enterprise software veteran Oracle launched its own attempt to fend off irritating market interlopers with its take on workflow and RPA, the latter being called the Intelligent Process Automation.

Microsoft has been in the low-code space for a while with its Power platform. At Ignite in September, it added Power Automate Desktop to its arsenal.

In the end, SAP's decision is pragmatic. With users sluggish to upgrade to its latest preferred S/4HANA application platform, the company couldn't simply sit back and let others chow down on large mouthfuls of its lunch. ®

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