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If names of RPA software have to be mentioned, Blue Prism is definitely among them, along with Automation Anywhere, Microsoft Power Automate and UiPath. Blue Prism is one of the pioneers and co-founded the concept of robotic process automation. For 2017, Blue Prism could perhaps even claim market leadership, thanks in part to its pioneering role and strong roots in the financial sector. Afterwards, Automation Anywhere and especially UiPath took over the leading position, mainly through a different market and product strategy. This was joined by Microsoft in the 1920s, with a unique strategy focused on the everyday desktop user coupled with integration with their Power Apps environment. Switching RPA providers is also far from easy – scripts are not, in practice, transferable between products – which means that the existing customer base built up during the pioneering years is hardly crumbling.

Once undisputed among the market leaders in RPA,Blue Prism has had to cede the lead position to major rivals Microsoft and UiPath. Both the choice of functionalities offered, a closed eco-system and a (now defunct) licensing policy, contributed to this. However, those looking for just an unattended solution, with an uncompromising vision of security and robustness, Blue Prism is still at the right place.

The pros and cons

Benefits

Stable and reliable

Because of the pioneering role Blue Prism has undeniably played in the RPA landscape and its customer base of mostly very large organizations, it boasts extensive experience. This results in a tool with great maturity and reliable operation.

Robust and simple architecture

Blue Prism deliberately limits itself to unattended robots, allowing direct interaction with the user only through add-ons. This leads to a relatively simple, server-based architecture that does not allow direct access to the bots from the user side. This in turn, of course, again contributes to the safety and robustness of the whole, and limits the number of components to be installed.

Security

With a traditionally strong presence in the financial sector, security features are well established; encryption, user management and handling of credentials are among the best in the market.

Available resources

Blue Prism’s relatively long track record means that it has built up a rather limited but generally quite experienced base of developers. Often, to get enough capacity, people also look offshore.

Reusability

Blue Prism contains functionality that effectively targets the reuse of created objects.

Cons

No attended

Blue Prism, by its own admission, deliberately does not offer attended automation – in which direct interaction between the bot and the end user is possible. This may benefit robustness, but on the other hand it significantly limits the number of possible use cases. A number of organizations are responding by opting for a dual-sourcing model, capturing the attended automation in another tool.

Closed eco-system

Unlike many other players, Blue Prism does not provide a free trial version, training materials can only be obtained through authorized partners on a paid basis, and a forum in which users can exchange experience is also logically limited from then on.

No recording

Another deliberate choice, fully in line with the previous point, is the lack of a recorder function. This also immediately means that implementing Blue Prism requires real IT development skills. Blueprism missed the train of process mining & task mining as a result. They have partnered with Abbyy (which is an excellent choice).

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