SAP has acquired French automation business Contextor and intends to use this to help automate 50% of the business processes in the SAP software over the next three years.
Contextor’s focus is to “relieve business software users from performing repetitive tasks” – robotics and RPA (robotic process automation). SAP will combine this with its Cloud Platform, conversational AI technology and Machine Learning within Leonardo to “deliver intelligent RPA, which SAP plans to include in key solutions.”
Contextor has seen over 100,000 bots built and used in its customers, saving those businesses valuable resources, time and money.
SAP comments “The acquisition is a big step towards orchestrating process automation and will help SAP inject RPA capabilities into our applications, first and foremost into SAP S/4HANA.” It expects Contextor to be deployed to customers as soon as the first half of 2019, with integration into S/4HANA later in the year. SAP’s vision is for half of all its customers’ SAP processes to become automated over the next three years.
SAP is clearly investing heavily in this area at present, with this following the acquisition of experience management firm Qualtrics two weeks ago, on top of the purchase of chatbot business Recast.ai early this year – not to mention recent acquisitions of Coresystems and Callidus Cloud.
It all looks good news – but, as always, the key will be how quickly and how easily it becomes an integral part of the SAP product family – especially how they fit it into Leonardo and SAP Cloud Platform. We’ll be keeping an eye on SAP comments on product roadmaps in this area, and on early adopter experience.