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In a very short time, Microsoft has catapulted itself to the top of the RPA landshap thanks to a strategy that relies on :

  1. Integration of their RPA capabilities into the Microsoft Power Platform, Microsoft Power Platform, which consists of Microsoft Power Automate (RPA tool), Power BI, Power Apps and Power Virtual Agents. That Microsoft Power Platform is built around the Power Fx low-code programming language
  2. Integration with the ubiquitous Microsoft office software that almost every employee is familiar with: Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, GitHub and Teams.
  3. Inexpensive licensing structure that enables the vision of “every employee’s own virtual assistant.”

Especially the integration with Power Apps allows for clever use cases: the combination Power Automate – Power Apps allows for fully customizing trusted windows screens and feeding them with data from various underlying systems. Workers who have to plow through 5 screens daily to complete 1 order particularly appreciate this type of application.

Because of the massive penetration Microsoft has in the enterprise software and operating system market, coupled with solid marketing, Microsoft Power Platform has rightly catapulted like a comet to the top of the RPA firmament.

And rightly so: its familiar look and feel, wide availability (part of the Office365 suite) and integration with the Microsoft applications used daily in just about every office are unique.

The pros and cons

Benefits

Readily available

By integrating Power Automate into the Microsoft 365 platform, with which quasi all companies are already familiar, Power Automate is easily accessible to a large audience.

Pricing

Power Automate’s fee structure is clear and freely available. This is a pleasant difference from the big players where it is difficult to get concrete pricing information, in the case of Kofax even downright complicated to figure out what elements are really needed to get off to a full start. However, there is also a comment on this seemingly attractive pricing: the big players, such as UiPath and Automation Anywhere make the so-called “community” version available for the SME market. These are fully functional AND free, and in that sense may be an even more favorable alternative.

User-friendly

While the functionalities are limited, for those familiar with the Microsoft ecosystem, the usage is quite simple, with drag and drop functionalities.

Cons

Long way to go in terms of functionalities

Established RPA players have long been building and perfecting all kinds of functionalities that enable automation across all systems. Microsoft Power Automate is still at the beginning of a long journey here.

No interaction between bot and end user

Interaction capabilities between bot and end user are not provided by default in Power Automate. Of course, Microsoft PowerApps can be invoked for this purpose, but that obviously has an impact on the cost.

Rather suitable for simple automations

The number of tasks per workflow is limited, and the construction of the workflow itself must be linear. As a result, building complex workflows that can deal with different basic scenarios quickly becomes complex and cluttered.

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