Microsoft Acquires Clear Software to Boost Workflow Automation
Microsoft has acquired startup Clear Software to expand support for enterprise resource planning (ERP) integrations in its software package for automating routine business workflows.
The application programming interface and underlying knowledge is intended to bolster Microsoft Power Platform, an enterprise software framework for surfacing, manipulating and automating data. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
Companies use robotic process automation (RPA), often known as RPA bots or just bots, in combination with machine learning to perform highly structured, repetitive workflows.
The software is programmed to copy a task being performed manually on a computer. ERP systems operate at a higher level, by collating information for key business processes in centralized databases.
Clear’s platform has no-code functions, meaning no specialized software programming is needed, for automating common data entries, bar code scans, sales center processes and enterprise bookkeeping tasks.
Microsoft says the product has more than 100 preset abstractions for business workflow development that work in tandem with ERP systems such as Oracle and SAP.
“Organizations depend on their business applications to work seamlessly across many different systems and data stores,” said Stephen Siciliano, partner general manager, Power Automate at Microsoft. “Customers need to know that their most critical business processes are built to optimize working across those systems and data sets no matter how complex the process becomes.”
RPA market revenues were projected to reach $1.9 billion in 2021, an increase of 20% from 2020, according to Gartner.
The market appetite was demonstrated with UiPath’s $1.3 billion flotation on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) earlier this year.
Microsoft’s intelligent RPA strategy is centered around its Power Platform and was previously augmented with its acquisition of Softmotive for an undisclosed sum in May 2021.
Softmotive’s product, which has since been rolled out to Microsoft Power customers, allows enterprises to record repetitive tasks on the computer or web using mouse clicks and keystrokes.