IBM Thursday strengthened its bid to dominate the business process automation market with its acquisition of highly-regarded Italian software maker myInvenio.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We have just given partners the biggest weapon they could ever have on tackling this automation opportunity,” Rob Thomas, IBM’s senior vice president of Cloud and Data Platform, told CRN in an exclusive interview.
MyInvenio’s software allows partners to quickly identify business processes in sales, procurement, production, accounting and other operations that can be automated, saving money and speeding up operations.
The deal adds to the growing IBM automation portfolio, building on IBM’s 18-month platform buildout. In fact, Thomas said, myInvenio’s automation muscle now gives IBM standing as the “most complete” end-to-end business and IT services automation platform provider. “I have 100 percent confidence in that,” he said.
The myInvenio software allows partners to provide a “health check” of sorts showing customers which business processes can be automated to deliver the biggest cost savings out of the gate, said Thomas.
“If a partner walks into a customer with our automation platform in their bag, they can walk in and they can say, ‘Look, I can do a health check and tell you what process you should stop, which process you should automate and how fast I can get it done for you,’” Thomas told CRN. “With myInvenio, you can answer that question in hours. Not days, Not weeks. We can answer that question in hours.”
The myInvenio deal continues the IBM automation offensive, following deals last year to buy robotic process automation (RPA) software maker WDG Automation and application performance monitoring software maker Instana. It also follows a strategic partnership with ServiceNow to build out a joint IBM AI-powered version of the popular ServiceNow IT automation platform.
Thomas called myInvenio “the next piece” for IBM channel partners selling customers business process automation solutions.
“If you look at most of the players in RPA, they only do one piece, which is they do the front end,” said Thomas. “Now we do the front end, we do the back end. We also do the health check. We have the most complete automation platform in the market with this announcement.”
The myInvenio deal comes just five months after the two companies announced a “global strategic business partnership” to integrate myInvenio’s process and task mining technology into IBM Cloud Park for Automation by December 2020.
Upon close of the acquisition, expected at the end of this quarter, myInvenio’s software will be integrated with IBM’s Automation portfolio, including the Cloud Pak for Business Automation hybrid cloud software.
The deal is sure to provide a boost to Cloud Pak for Automation, which grew at a strong double-digit rate for the most recent quarter.
The business process automation market amounts to a US$40 billion software market opportunity growing at a double digit clip, said Thomas.
Partners are poised to play a big role in IBM’s automation push. Earlier this year, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna told CRN that IBM is investing US$1 billion in “rapidly expanding” its partner ecosystem as it sharpens its focus on hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence AI.
Thomas, for his part, said the benefit of the myInvenio deal goes well beyond the largest enterprises into the midmarket.
“What partners should feel good about is the core of our automation strategy was actually designed for the midmarket,” Thomas said. “Now we are scaling up, but I think they’ll find they can pick these up and run with them right away.”
Some partners are already seeing results from IBM’s automation push. John Longmire, chief revenue officer at Boston-based IBM partner Ironside, told CRN that bundled and integrated automation technologies like IBM Cloud Pak for Data plus the overall decrease in automation entry costs have made business automation tools “very accessible to medium and even smaller businesses.”
“Today, we see companies of all sizes being very successful with AI, even if they’re only building a handful of models,” Longmire said.
Thomas, for his part, promised that IBM will continue to invest heavily in business and IT services automation going forward. “This whole space of automation, whether it is on the business process side or the IT side, is a theme that we will continue to invest in,” he said. “I would view myInvenio as a critical ingredient to the business process piece. But this is still an area we are just getting started with.”