The future of the application software industry will be shaped by a range of disruptive themes, with robotic process automation (RPA) being an important theme that will have a meaningful impact throughout the industry.  A detailed analysis of the theme, insights into the leading companies, and their thematic and valuation scorecards are included in GlobalData’s thematic research report,Robotic Process Automation – Thematic Research.  Buy the report here.

RPA describes software that can be programmed to perform basic tasks across a range of platforms and applications. Businesses in virtually every industry accelerated their automation efforts during the pandemic. For some, RPA allowed them to reimagine how they work, while others used RPA to ensure business continued as usual.  


The pandemic highlighted the necessity of coordinating automation across a business. This has accelerated the development of RPA as companies move away from standalone automation capabilities and offer RPA as part of a broader toolkit of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, allowing for end-to-end automation of more complex business processes.

The application software industry refers to companies that design computer programs, more often referred to as apps, aimed at carrying out specific tasks other than ones relating to the operation of the computer itself. These apps are designed for businesses, consumers, and enterprises. The large tech companies in this industry require RPA to coordinate automation across their businesses.  

However, not all companies are equal when it comes to their capabilities and investments in the key themes that matter most to their industry. Understanding how companies are positioned and ranked in the most important themes can be a key leading indicator of their future earnings potential and relative competitive position.  

According to GlobalData’s thematic research report on Robotic Process Automation, leading adopters of RPA processes include: IBM, Salesforce, Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon. 

Insight from a top ranked company 


Microsoft is considered the leading alternative to the three prominent RPA-centric players UiPath, Automation Anywhere, and Blue Prism. In October 2019, Microsoft began offering an RPA component, UI Flow, as part of its Power Automate (formerly known as Microsoft Flow) solution. The tech giant significantly added to its RPA offering in May 2020 by acquiring legacy RPA software provider Softomotive. The acquisition added a low-code desktop automation tool to the Power Automate platform. Microsoft also provides several integrated features both as part of the Power Automate platform, including Process Advisor (process and task mining) and AI Builder, and as part of the wider Power platform, such as Power BI (analytics), Power Apps (low-code application development platform), and Power Virtual Agents (chatbots). The AI Builder is built on the Azure AI platform and can be used to understand and process text, detect objects in images, analyse customer sentiment, and more.  

In October 2021, Microsoft announced an attended RPA solution to automate tasks in SharePoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, and third-party business apps. In March 2022, Microsoft’s process advisory capabilities expanded when it acquired Minit, a leader in process mining.  

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Robotic Process Automation.    

  • IBM
  • SAP
  • Baidu
  • Cloudera
  • Dynatrace
  • Alteryx
  • Infor
  • Salesforce
  • Datadog
  • Sumo Logic
  • Oracle
  • Snowflake
  • Bentley Systems
  • Software AG
  • UiPath
  • Automation Anywhere
  • Meta
  • Broadcom
  • iFlytek
  • Open Text
  • Zoom
  • Palantir
  • ServiceNow
  • Autodesk
  • Micro Focus
  • TIBCO Software
  • Cadence Design Systems
  • Zapata Computing
  • Cambridge Quantum
  • Ansys

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