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Salesforce follows application rivals into the RPA market with Servicetrace purchase

Replacing swivel-chair integration is not a market that independent vendors will get to themselves

Salesforce-owned application integration biz Mulesoft has gobbled up Servicetrace, a robotic process automation vendor.

In a move that follows Oracle and SAP in the RPA market, the buy is intended to help Salesforce provide integration, API management, and RPA platforms, which would further "enrich" its Customer 360 tool, according to Brent Hayward, Mulesoft CEO.

"The new RPA capabilities will enhance Salesforce's Einstein Automate solution, enabling end-to-end workflow automation across any system for Service, Sales, Industries, and more," he said.

But Salesforce is not the first application giant to see the logic in buying or developing RPA technology to sit alongside their own business platforms.

In 2018, SAP bought French RPA vendor Contextor and followed up last year with the launch of SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation (RPA) 2.0, which "targets developers looking to automate repetitive, manual tasks with software bots."

Similarly, Oracle is also looking to take a chunk out of the RPA market, dominated by vendors including Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere, and UiPath, which could be worth $75bn by 2025.

But just to be different, Big Red is calling its effort Intelligent Process Automation. Last year Juergen Lindner, Oracle senior veep of ERP, said it would "leapfrog the RPA approaches" by using machine learning to "auto suggest which tasks can be automated."

Not to be left out, Microsoft has bought Softomotive and last year launched its Power Automate Desktop product.

But Mulesoft sees RPA as part of the process of application integration rather than simply automating desktop tasks.

With a partial regurgitation of the jargon dictionary, CEO Hayward said: "We're continuing to build on our vision of enabling the composable business, making it possible for companies to turn every asset in their organization – data, automations, and applications – into reusable building blocks to create seamless digital experiences, faster."

Lovely stuff.

This being the IT industry, everyone is trying to eat each other's lunch. RPA and low-code vendor Pega is also having a stab at integration, with its "context-aware" APIs that "dynamically update" as processes change. ®

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