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Automation Anywhere Funding: Will MSPs Embrace RPA Bots for Service Desks?

Automation Anywhere, which makes software that may disrupt traditional IT service management (ITSM), help desks and more, has raised $290 million in Series B funding at a potentially frothy post money valuation of $6.8 billion.

The massive funding and lofty valuation reflect growing demand for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software. RPA allows businesses to write code and bots that rapidly automate tasks across multiple departments -- from IT service desks to HR, finance, customer support and more. Still, it's difficult to provide a reality check on the Automation Anywhere's valuation since we don't know the company's actual revenues or profits/losses.

The latest Automation Anywhere funding was led by Salesforce Ventures with additional funding from existing investors, including SoftBank Investment Advisers and Goldman Sachs.

On a related note, the software company has launched an Automation Anywhere Salesforce Connector on Salesforce AppExchange. This new connector can, for example, "empower a customer service agent to get help from an attended RPA bot during a live customer call, improving both the agent's productivity and the customer experience," Automation Anywhere says.

Automation Anywhere: Executive Perspectives

Mihir Shukla, CEO & co-founder, Automation Anywhere
Mihir Shukla, CEO & co-founder, Automation Anywhere

In a prepared statement about the funding, Automation Anywhere CEO Mihir Shukla said:

"Never before has there been such a transformative shift in the way we work, with artificially intelligent software bots changing how people, processes and technology interact for productivity gains. This new funding reinforces the promise of the RPA category and empowers our customers to achieve greater business agility and increased efficiencies by automating end-to-end business processes – bridging the gap between the front and back office."

Salesforce also weighed in with perspectives on the new connector software. Bill Patterson, executive VP and general manager, Salesforce Service Cloud, said:

"Automation Anywhere makes it easier for Salesforce customers to automate repetitive, manual tasks and focus on what matters most—the customer. We're excited to extend our partnership with Automation Anywhere to help more customers automate their end-to-end business processes and accelerate their digital transformation journeys."

RPA Bots: Hot or Hype (or Both)?

RPA is heavily hyped as a way to automate business and IT tasks -- including service desks and IT support.

Here's an example of how RPA software may shake up service desks and help desks, according to Automation Anywhere rival UiPath:

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The Automation Anywhere Series B funding surfaces only a few days after Moveworks raised $75 million in Series B funding to accelerate the company’s IT support automation business.

Still, some pundits (including ChannelE2E) wonder if some sectors within the IT automation and RPA markets are getting overhyped. UiPath, for instance, is growing rapidly but recently confirmed some targeted layoffs amid a longer-term path toward a potential IPO.

RPA Bots: Most MSPs Are Laggards

Meanwhile, ChannelE2E frequently notes that the MSP market, in particular, has been slow to sort out opportunities in artificial intelligence and chatbots for further business automation.

Still, some new IT automation solutions in the area surfaced at IT Nation Connect 2019, hosted by ConnectWise earlier this month in Orlando, Florida. Key names to know include:

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.