• June 14, 2024
SS&C Blue Prism Remains a Pioneer Post Acquisition

SS&C Blue Prism, a solution from SS&C Technologies, has a long history as a pioneer in intelligent automation technology. The founders were even involved in coining the term “robotic process automation”—though that description is giving way to “intelligent automation” as both purpose-built and generative AI technology are increasingly incorporated into automation platforms. In March of 2022, Blue Prism was acquired by SS&C Technologies for $1.6 billion. The group has spent much of the time since then integrating technology and corporate cultures and solidifying its position as an industry leader.



Product Leading the Way

As a global software and services firm serving mainly financial services verticals, Windsor, Conn.-based SS&C is well aware of the efficiencies intelligent automation can deliver back-office environments in finance, insurance, accounting, fund administration and other markets it serves. Integrating Blue Prism’s intelligent automation technology with its Chorus BPM solution for its enormous customer base has been a goal since the acquisition closed. But, as many merged organizations find, it takes effort to realize the potential synergies, according to Colin Redbond, SS&C Blue Prism’s global senior vice president of Product and Strategy.

“The combination of the products we pulled together has made a lot of sense,” Redbond told Automation Today. “It’s definitely in line with where the industry is going. Historically, everybody looked at business process management, RPA, intelligent document processing, process mining, and all these different technologies as having different capabilities. Generally, they were implemented in silos, and now it’s really about combining those technologies into a single platform and a coherent strategy because you need all of those things to drive automation.”

Since the acquisition closed, Redbond, a Blue Prism veteran of nearly a decade, said the company has gotten the product strategy right across that disparate range of technologies. SS&C has also addressed the cultural, people and systems challenges that naturally accompany the integration of a relatively small, focused technology provider based in the U.K. into a larger, broad-based American-based global software company.

According to SS&C Blue Prism CMO Paul Taylor, Product led the way, with a joint capability launch within six weeks of the acquisition. After the company integrated the BPM capabilities of SS&C’s Chorus with Blue Prism’s RPA and intelligent automation, Taylor says, the marketing and sales teams were integrated and began rolling intelligent automation out to more than 20,000 existing SS&C customers.

“We’re one of the only vendors in the sector that incorporates both orchestration and RPA in the same platform,” Taylor says. “I find it gratifying when that initial brainchild starts coming to life—you see joint products being delivered, joint positioning and joint placement in things like analyst reviews.”

Taylor points specifically to research and consulting firm Everest Group, which releases evaluations of various industries it calls its “PEAK Matrix.” Like many firms in the technology consulting space, Everest evaluates vendors in a variety of verticals. SS&C Blue Prism has been a mainstay as a “leader” in the RPA category for many years. In 2023, the company was named as a leader in the RPA category and the Process Orchestration category.

 

The Road Ahead

With the integration complete, SS&C Blue Prism is ready to capitalize on the value analysts like Everest Group see. When the acquisition closed in 2022, SS&C leadership was excited about the chance to automate its own systems. Taylor says the company has made significant headway on that project and aims to expand it significantly.

“We’ve got more than 1,200 digital workers being used across SS&C Technologies doing everything from fund administration to reconciliation to procure-to-pay,” he notes. “We would argue that’s been the fastest adoption of digital workers on the planet. And by the end of this fiscal year, we aim to have three to four thousand digital workers deployed and, ultimately, ten to fifteen thousand over the next few years within SS&C.”

From a product perspective, Redbond is excited about the resources SS&C brings to enhance Blue Prism’s capabilities.

“What I care about is being able to build great products and that requires investment,” he explains. “SS&C is a profitable, well-managed, well-funded company, which means it’s obviously a lot easier to get investment than when we were a standalone company.”

Over 2023 and into 2024, the most significant investment the company made into upgrading its product is the NextGen Platform. The cloud-native platform, which Blue Prism began developing even before the acquisition, will be the basis for all new development moving forward, Redbond says. The move was vital as most customers are migrating toward cloud-based services.

The roadmap also focuses on human-in-the-loop automation, as illustrated by a new UX Builder product, a no-code user interface designer for business users lacking technical coding expertise.

“The way people measured the success of automation projects in the past was mainly cost reduction,” Redbond says. “But now they have a more variable way of looking at value from automation. People are much more interested in value to the customer—improving the end-to-end customer or employee journey.”

That collaborative message extends to integrating generative AI into the automation process. Redbond acknowledges the growing number of use cases driving technology providers to integrate generative AI into their platforms. Effectively building GenAI into automations to support human tasks can translate what they want from plain language to something the system understands.

“We’ve got a case study where we’re using a large language model within an automation to understand a complaint e-mail and generate a proposed response to the customer’s claim,” he says. “There’s a human in the loop who’s reviewing that proposed response. Nine times out of 10, the language model would have gotten it mostly right, and the human worker might have to tweak a few words. But those automations are accelerating that end-to-end customer experience. Those are the kind of sweet spots for generative AI at the moment.” But he also warns there are question marks over regulatory and compliance issues and who owns the IP depending on how the model was trained.

SS&C Blue Prism continues to work toward integrating generative AI into its platform to make the automation journey for its customers easier.

SS&C Blue Prism started as pioneers in the process automation space. A successful integration with SS&C has left it in a position to continue the innovation it has brought to the industry in a more robust way, Redbond says.

“With a focus on cloud and generative AI in the NextGen platform and the ongoing adoption of the broader SS&C portfolio and capabilities, we can be the solution for any of those customers in that ecosystem,” he says. “That’s 20,000 plus customers already leveraging some of that SS&C ecosystem who can also benefit from automation.”

According to Taylor, the company is in a place where it can continue to deliver on its leadership in the space. And he reiterates the most important things necessary to make automation successful for companies willing to adopt it.

“The thing that matters is a top-down mandate. Corporate leadership must be committed,” he says. “Have a big, ambitious goal; make sure you’ve got the right operating model in place to be able to execute it and then have something in place to measure it.”


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