RPA Tools - Blue Prism
If three RPA Tools must be mentioned, Blue Prism is certainly one of them, together with Automation Anywhere and UiPath. The debate “who was now the first” is always a bit tricky, but arguing that Blue Prism can be counted among the pioneers and even helped create the concept of robotic process automation is never wrong. To date, it is also the only listed pure-play RPA company (AIM: PRSM). It has recorded good growth since its first listing in March 2014, which also speaks for the growth curve of RPA in general. Blue Prism could perhaps even claim market leadership for 2017, thanks in part to its pioneering role and strong anchoring in the financial sector. In the meantime, Automation Anywhere and especially UiPath have taken over the leading position, mainly through a different market and product strategy. Moreover, switching from one RPA provider to another is far from simple – scripts are not transferable between the different products – which means that the existing customer base that was built up during the pioneering years remains a stronghold.
Benefits Blue Prism
Stable and reliable
Thanks to the pioneering role that Blue Prism has unmistakably played in the RPA landscape and the customer base of mainly very large organizations, it can boast an extensive experience. This results in a tool with a high maturity and reliable operation.
Robust en simple architecture
Blue Prism deliberately limits itself to unattended robots, where no direct interaction with the user is possible. This leads to a relatively simple, server-based architecture where no direct access to the bots on the user side is possible. This, in turn, of course contributes to the safety and robustness of the whole, and limits the number of components to be installed.
Due to the traditionally strong presence in the financial sector, the security provisions are well developed; Encryption, user management and dealing with credentials are among the best in the market.
The relatively long track record of Blue Prism means that an experienced, albeit limited, developer base is in place. Often offshoring is also used to get sufficient capacity.
Blue Prism contains functionality that is focused on the reuse of created objects. Whilst this is also possible in other RPA tools, it is built-in by design in Blue Prism.
Weaknesses Blue Prism
No unattended RPA
Blue Prism consciously does not offer an attended RPA solution. This means direct interaction between the databot and the end user is NOT possible with Blueprism. This may improve the robustness, but on the other hand it considerably limits the possible use cases. A number of organizations respond to this by opting for a dual-sourcing model, incorporating attended automation in another tool.
Unlike many other relevant players, Blue Prism does not provide a free RPA test version. Training material can only be obtained through accredited partners and a forum where users can exchange experience is largely missing.
The licensing policy means that the entry threshold for Blue Prism is high. Even if price levels are coming down fast, the high base price, the mandatory minimum number of licenses to be purchased and the time associated with the initial set up soon result in set-up costs above €50,000 or more for licenses alone.
Another conscious choice, fully consistent with the previous point, is the lack of a recorder function. This also means that implementing Blue Prism requires real IT development skills.