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Automation Anywhere Monetizes Bot Store to Provide ‘Value as a 2-Way Street’

Automation Anywhere’s current Bot Store contains ~500 bots and has received ~40K downloads. In January 2019, these bots were complemented by Digital Workers, with bots being task-centric and Digital Workers being persona- and skill-centric.

 

 

So far, downloads from the Bot Store have been free-of-charge, but Automation Anywhere perceives that this approach potentially limits the value achievable from the Bot Store. Accordingly, the company is now introducing monetization to provide value back to developers contributing bots and Digital Workers to the Bot Store, and to increase the value that clients can receive. In effect, Automation Anywhere is looking to provide value as a two-way street.

The timing for introducing monetization to the Bot Store will be as follows:

  • April 16, 2019: announcement and start of sales process validation with a small number of bots and bot bundles priced within the Bot Store. Examples of “bot bundles” include a number of bots for handling email operation around Outlook or bots for handling common Excel operations
  • May 2019: Availability of best practice guides for developers containing guidelines on how to write bots that are modular and easy to onboard. Start of developer sign-up
  • Early summer 2019: customer launch through the direct sales channel. At this stage, bots and Digital Workers will only be available through the formal direct sales quotation process rather than via credit card purchases
  • Late summer 2019: launch of “consumer model” and Bot Store credit card payments.

Pricing, initially in US$ only, will be per bot or Digital Worker, with a 70:30 revenue split between the developer and Automation Anywhere, with Automation Anywhere handling the billing and paying the developer monthly. Buyers will have a limited free trial period, initially 30 days but under review, but IP protection is being introduced so that buyers will not have access to the source code. The original developer will retain responsibility for building, supporting, maintaining, and updating their bots and Digital Workers. Automation Anywhere is developing some Digital Workers itself in order to seed the Bot Store with some examples, but Automation Anywhere has no desire to develop Digital Workers medium-term itself and may, once the concept is well-proven, hand over/license the Digital Workers it has developed to third-party developers.

Automation Anywhere clearly expects that a number of smaller systems integrators will switch their primary business model from professional services to a product model, building bots for the Bot Store, and is offering developers the promise of a recurring revenue stream and global distribution ultimately through not only the Bot Store but through Automation Anywhere and its partners. Although payment will be monthly, developers will receive real-time transaction reporting to assist them in their financial management. For professional services firms retaining a strong professional services focus, but used to operating on a project basis, Automation Anywhere perceives that licensing and updating Digital Workers within this model could provide both a supplementary revenue stream, and possibly, more importantly, a means to maintain an ongoing relationship with the client organization.

In addition to systems integrators, Automation Anywhere is targeting ISVs who, like Workday, can use the Bot Store and Automation Anywhere to facilitate deployment and operation of their software by introducing Digital Workers that go way beyond simple connectors. Although the primary motivation of these firms is likely to be to reduce the time to value for their own products, Automation Anywhere expects ISVs to be cognizant of the cost of adoption and to price their Digital Workers at levels that will provide both a reduced cost of adoption to the client and a worthwhile revenue stream to the ISV. Pricing of Digital Workers in the range $800 to as high as $12k-$15K per annum has been mentioned.

So far, inter-enterprise bot libraries have largely been about providing basic building blocks that are commonly used across a wide range of processes. The individual bots have typically required little or no maintenance and have been disposable in nature. Automation Anywhere is now looking to transform the concept of bot libraries to that of bot marketplaces to add a much higher, and long-lived, value add and to put bots on a similar footing to temporary staff with updateable skills.

The company is also aiming to steal a lead in the development of such bots and, preferably Digital Workers, by providing third-parties with the financial incentive to develop for its own, rather than a rival, platform.

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