At CommunityLIVE 2019, Hyland announced a partnership with Blue Prism, a leader in the RPA market. This comes a year after Hyland announced plans to develop its own RPA technology. “We are excited about the relationship with Blue Prism,” said Hyland CEO Bill Priemer. “Both companies have a lot of customer adoption on their own, but using the two technologies together is a very powerful concept. There are steps within processes that we manage that call for the type of automation that Blue Prism can provide. The combination of our technologies will create solutions that are not currently being delivered by other ECM and RPA ISVs.”

“I see RPA as a component in a workflow continuum,” added Ed McQuiston, EVP and Chief Commercial Officer for Hyland. “We have thousands of customers using workflow, and in many cases their workflows include discreet processes with repeatable tasks that could be automated through RPA. If you think about underwriting, for example, somebody is typically going out to a Web site and looking for a credit score. Today, that’s a task being eyeballed by a person. Blue Prism gives us the capability to insert RPA and take what’s hopefully already a pretty efficient process and make it that much more.

“RPA is a game changer and it’s a hot topic,” he continued. “It’s something that, when I travel around, and not just domestically, you are asked about when you sit down with CTOs. They want to know, what are you doing with RPA? Now, I have a really positive answer about a partnership with another Gartner leader.”

Hyland is also an attractive partner for Blue Prism, which is headquartered in Warrington, U.K., with a U.S. base in Austin. “We are very picky about who we partner with,” said Chad Gailey, VP, channels and ISV partners, Americas, for Blue Prism. “We are not just looking for logos on our Web site, we are looking for partners that can help us scale globally.”

Gailey noted that Hyland and Blue Prism share similar partners and customer bases. “We like to partner with partners of our partners,” he said. “Hyland has partnerships with the likes of Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP, which are all huge partners for us. We do not currently have any hardwired relationships in the ECM market.

“If you look at Hyland’s solutions, they are trying to create more meaningful experiences for users. Hyland talks about surfacing content anytime, anywhere, on any device. Through our technology, we can speed up the time it takes to process claims or to complete documentation—how fast stuff moves in and out of an ERP system. There are a lot of places where digital workers are faster and less expensive than humans.”

Hyland’s customer base offers white space opportunity for Blue Prism. “If you look at both companies’ footprints in healthcare and banking, we share very similar customer bases,” said Gailey. “We don’t have 20,000 customers like Hyland does, but if you look at the Fortune 500, there are many entities that we share. However, the question to us is, how wide and broad and deep in some of those large customers is our technology being used? It’s our goal to have digital workers across all departments and business units. Hyland has a footprint in many areas that we currently do not.”

Gailey explained that the partnership between Hyland and Blue Prism has three facets to it. “Hyland will act as a reseller of our technology and will take our offering to market as a new product for their client base,” he said. “That is in place today. The second facet is that Hyland partners and resellers will be able to take a joint offering to market—it will feature our technology embedded in a Hyland offering. We will be building and launching that co-branded offering in the coming quarters. That is an important aspect for us, as we are a channel-focused company.

“The final aspect is that Hyland will become a Blue Prism Technology Alliance Partner. TAP is a dedicated program for our ISV partners. Hyland will be able to build a connector and promote some of their connections to our other partners in areas like ERP. Hyland can put their software on our marketplace. The relationship is really a multi-faceted two-way street.”

Priemer added that Hyland considers itself to be a systems integrator and solution provider of the Blue Prism technology. “We still have our own RPA capabilities, but they are not the full suite that Blue Prism offers,” he said. “There might be certain vertical applications or integrations that are easier for us to address as a one-off integration utilizing a bot from our system, but if a customer is going to standardize on an RPA suite and use it in conjunction with our whole suite, then we will direct them to use Blue Prism.”

AI key to future automation
While the cloud and RPA are being incorporated in Hyland’s next generation products, the ISV is also investing R&D resources in further out technologies like AI. Hyland is already leveraging some of the machine learning and AI it acquired with Brainware in document capture applications (this will be ramped up in the Hyland Capture Experience), but Priemer feels there are also workflow improvements that can be made using AI.

“If you look at the workflow scenarios where our technology is used, you can think of it like a manufacturing process—but instead of pushing products through an assembly line, we are moving documents, like a mortgage or a student application, through a process. These documents are typically being moved from a person to another person who then has to look at them to make a decision. They are either going to accept or ask for more information.

“Our workflow today is typically a user-facing application and it’s our goal to automate each step as much as possible. RPA is a step in the right direction, but we also think that more machine learning and AI can be brought into play. If you use this technology to watch the workers, for example, you can start to determine what it is about the information that leads them to make certain decisions. You can start to say that because certain characteristics are present, a certain decision is made. Leveraging AI, you can start to automate people out of more routine processes. You will still use people for handling exceptions and stewarding the whole process, but there is an opportunity to remove more people from document processes.”

Blue Prism has a similar focus on leveraging AI. “RPA is today, but it’s really simple processing,” said Gailey. “The future is leveraging machine learning and computer algorithms to mimic and behave in a human manner. We want to infuse vision from AI and cognitive learning platforms into our RPA software to move to our next generation.

“We have been widely credited with creating the term ‘RPA’ and the current market. We have tens of thousands of functioning automations in place today, and we feel customers and the industry are looking to us to set the standard for what’s next. That involves doing more than simple process automation. That’s why we like to use the term ‘digital workers,’ instead of robots. It’s the idea of using silicon FTEs instead of carbon FTEs.”