Why low-code RPA and Microsoft Power Automate represent a huge opportunity for partners

Over the past several months, businesses that were hit hard by the global pandemic have had to dramatically change how they conduct their business and operate daily. This disruption has brought an increased need for digital transformation, but demand for that transformation and the applications that drive it is growing more quickly than supply. There simply aren’t enough developers to meet the growing need for digital transformation.

As a Microsoft partner, you can help your customers address this problem by showing them how to use Microsoft Power Platform to automate outdated manual processes so they can focus on their most important work, without needing to hire new developers or invest heavily in building software in-house.

Making automation more accessible

Power Platform is a rapid application development platform that helps people with limited coding abilities innovate and build new solutions faster. Microsoft Power Automate, which is part of Power Platform, democratizes automation by offering an affordable, low-code automation solution that is designed for both citizen developers and pro developers.

In our Power Platform product announcement, we showcased two new product capabilities—Microsoft Power Automate Desktop and process advisor. Both are low-code automation solutions that make automation more accessible by empowering everyone to optimize how they work.

Today, we want to focus on why robotics process automation (RPA) is a huge opportunity for partners, and how the new capabilities add value to Power Automate. We also want to share a few examples of partners who have experienced success with Power Automate and process advisor, helping their customers replace cumbersome manual processes and choose which processes to automate. First, here’s a quick recap of what’s new in Power Automate.

Bridging the gap and identifying automation opportunities

The integration of process mining capabilities and the launch of Power Automate Desktop elevate your customers’ ability to derive the most value from process automation, helping everyone across their organization to collectively focus on work that makes a difference for your bottom line.

Power Automate Desktop, now generally available, brings RPA capabilities to any organization with a robust desktop authoring experience. With Power Automate Desktop, organizations can remove boundaries between legacy and modern solutions using low-code RPA. Power Automate Desktop provides a unified automation platform that bridges the gap between API-based automation with cloud flows and UI-based automation with desktop flows.

Process advisor preview is a new process mining capability in Power Automate that helps organizations identify where they might benefit the most from automation. Process advisor helps you find opportunities to automate old ways of working with easy-to-use process maps and analytics that provides transparency into the areas that need automating across your organization.

For more details about these new capabilities, check out the product announcement.

RPA and Power Automate—a significant revenue opportunity for partners

These new capabilities better position Power Automate at the forefront of the RPA revolution that is happening right now. But why should you as a partner care about RPA and Power Automate? Simply put, RPA represents a compelling new way you can help your customers save time and increase productivity, and it is also a significant revenue opportunity for you as a partner.

Demand for mobile apps is growing rapidly, while organizations struggle to find the talent needed to build applications. As more companies turn to low-code automation, the low-code/no-code cloud addressable market is growing quickly.

With this level of growth and demand, we wanted to focus on building out a low-code automation solution that democratizes automation for all users. With Microsoft Power Automate, we have created a low-barrier-to-entry pricing model and a user-friendly RPA and process mining platform that is truly accessible to all.

Now let’s take a look at a few partners who are already experiencing the benefits of offering Power Platform low code automation to their customers.

Sogeti gains automation insights with Power Platform process advisor

Part of the Capgemini Group, Microsoft partner Sogeti is an IT consulting company headquartered in Paris with operations in more than 100 locations globally. According to Glenn Wesenhagen, Lead Solution Architect at Sogeti, the company started working on a service offering using Power Automate two years ago to help their customers incorporate automation into their business processes.

“Many of our customers have big IT backlogs, where the business part of the company wants the value to be delivered faster than the IT department can deliver, because they don’t have enough resources for it,” Wesenhagen said. “Companies usually have multiple types of processes in their organization, but they don’t have the resources to automate all of them.”

Daniel Laskewitz, the Power Platform Lead at Sogeti, said Sogeti recognized the potential that Power Automate offered. “It’s an end-to-end offering, and that’s why we decided to build an offering on it. Now, with the new addition of process advisor, it will give us the ability to choose the right processes to automate first.”

Sogeti has used process advisor with their customers and within their own organization to identify which tasks are the most time consuming or error prone and therefore the most beneficial to automate.

According to Laskewitz, process advisor’s recording capabilities have been particularly useful. “To us, the real superpower of process advisor is that we can ask the people who are involved in the process to record the tasks themselves. This way, we can make sure we have the correct metrics and statistics when we analyze the results,” he said. “Process advisor helps us to get a better overview of the processes we are automating and gives us insights we wouldn’t get otherwise.”

Hitachi Solutions helps customers replace cumbersome manual processes

This year, Microsoft partner Hitachi Solutions has found that the COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the biggest drivers accelerating business transformation, resulting in the need to automate manual processes. “Things that worked okay manually in the in-person world don’t work very well when many people work remotely,” said Joel Lindstrom, Power Platform Practice Lead at Hitachi Solutions.

Whether the need for automation is related to pandemic or not, Hitachi Solutions is helping its customers use the low code automation of Power Automate to address their needs.

“Power Automate solves many business challenges,” Lindstrom said. “It lets us look for processes where a user is spending time doing manual processes and automates them so the user can focus on their highest-value activities. For example, a salesperson spending time every week copying and pasting from a spreadsheet for management reporting takes away time from selling. Power Automate allows us to automate those manual and legacy processes.”

Hitachi recently helped their customer, a large American pulp and paper company, replace a cumbersome, manual, spreadsheet-based approval process with a Power Automate-based solution. Using Power Automate, they now have a validated, flexible approval process.

“Traditional manual approval processes typically are poorly validated. If conditions change or there is a problem later on, it is difficult to ensure that the manual approval process happened,” Lindstrom said. “By automating it, we not only can save time for the requestor and the approver, we also have an approval log where we can verify that the approval happened. We can also reroute or escalate it should conditions change. That is a big win for our customers, because at the same time we are making their employees’ jobs easier. We are also giving management more control over the process.”

DXC helps its clients increase productivity with Power Automate

Microsoft partner DXC helps clients on large-scale business transformation projects, replacing ERP, CRM, and PSA systems using Microsoft Dynamics 365 tools. According to Paul Saxton, CTO of DXC’s Microsoft Business Applications practice across the United Kingdom and Ireland, Power Automate is adding an extra level of efficiency to their projects.

“A key part of these projects is to ensure business processes are modeled as efficiently as possible,” Saxton said. “Power Automate is a natural extension of this process and allows us to streamline areas of the business where a Dynamics process can be significantly enhanced.”

Saxton has found that many of his customers are under constant pressure to reduce costs and headcount. Also, since the pandemic began, Saxton has found that reduced staffing numbers have been a key driver that has led to conversations with some of his clients around the benefits of automation.

With Power Automate, DXC can extend Microsoft Dynamics capabilities for customers without modifying the core platform. “As an example, we have been able to automate a Dynamics process that previously took about an hour to complete. With Power Automate, user interaction now takes only 35 seconds and has been achieved without modifying the core system.”

DXC recently worked with a client to build a streamlined Power Platform-based application that helped to revolutionize the company’s onboarding process of thousands of employees and projects. Automating repetitive processes saves their client time and expense and frees up staff to do higher value tasks, which increases productivity and job satisfaction.

Saxton said partnering with Microsoft has allowed DXC to better serve their customers. “The constant innovation from Microsoft allows us to address new business challenges and extend our customers’ digital transformation journey,” Saxton said.

Get started with process advisor and Power Automate Desktop

Try the process advisor preview to start identifying high-value processes you can automate across your customers’ organizations, and explore how Power Automate Desktop—now generally available—extends automation capabilities in Power Automate to on-premises processes and tasks.

Watch the video, “Optimize efficiency with process mining in Microsoft Power Automate.”