The fully automated enterprise™ has arrived and UiPath is the automation platform of choice for thousands of you. The 21.4 release delivers a host of exciting new capabilities and products to help you automate more.
Rather than cover everything, I will summarize the four big areas of focus in this release.
1. Automation governance and enterprise scale
First, let's start with enterprise-scale management and governance of your automation program which is definitely top of mind for many as you deploy more and more robots.
Scalability is a constant quest for us. We already have many of the largest programs in the world running on our platform. Customers with tens of thousands of robots in production. For scalability, we’ve added new features to UiPath Orchestrator to make it easier for admins to install, manage, and update these large deployments.
The big news this release is about governance. We know that as you begin to expand your automation programs to include citizen development and attended scenarios, governance becomes extremely important. In this release, we are introducing a new capability: UiPath Automation Ops. Automation Ops enables admins to quickly setup targeted polices for powerful governance of large deployments of the Studio products family and attended robots.
2. AI-powered process discovery
Second, is AI-powered discovery, prioritization, and integrated development of the most impactful automations. This has been a theme over several releases now since we first introduced our initial discovery offerings back in late 2019. And it has been powered by both product acquisitions and lots of great in-house work. With this release, we deliver two additional key pieces of functionality.
The first is the general availability of our Task Mining product. UiPath Task Mining automatically identifies and aggregates employee workflows and applies artificial intelligence (AI) to identify repetitive tasks that have high potential for automation.
It is also integrated with the UiPath Platform to support one-click exports to process definition documents (PDDs) or UiPath Studio for speedy bot-building.
These kinds of integrations across products are one of the key reasons for adopting a platform versus adopting separate, disconnected solutions. Common and high-value scenarios that span products and are engineered to work seamlessly are where the magic happens. In this release, we’ve added more of these cross-product scenarios.
For example, while analyzing a process directly in UiPath Process Mining you can identify a bottleneck you want to automate and send all the associated information into UiPath Automation Hub with a single click. This connects Process Mining insights to your automation pipeline directly, speeding implementation and reducing errors. That isn’t possible with standalone process mining tools.
3. Upgraded user experiences (for all automation users)
Next, let’s talk about upgrades for all user experiences (from everyday business users to professional developers). We think a lot about the people we build UiPath products for.
What does a developer need to write better, faster code?
What does an automation user need to make his or her life easier?
What does IT need to deliver the best service?
Let’s talk about improvements for a few of these roles starting with automation users.
Last release was a big one for our automation users with an entire facelift for UiPath Assistant that made it more fun and engaging to use. With the 21.4 release, you now have the ability to easily drag automation shortcuts to your desktop. The big news is the seamless integration of UiPath Apps into Assistant. Now you can launch an App directly from Assistant just like an automation.
For our citizen developers, StudioX has been available for over a year now and this has given us significant real-world insights into the processes they automate. They spend lots of time automating office productivity apps so we have invested in making it easier for them to build automations across the entire Microsoft Office experience. We’ve also added support for PowerPoint and the Google productivity suite.
Many of you work with tables in both desktop applications and the web. So, we used our new modern user interface (UI) tooling to completely reinvent our table capture, making it more reliable and easier to use. There has been a lot of really good feedback on this from our Insiders and UiPath Community members.
Automation developers have been a focus for us since day one and there is plenty in this release for them. We made some great improvements to UiPath Document Understanding in this release, including handwriting recognition, and new models for purchase orders (POs) and utility bills. The new models make it easy to automate a wider range of document-related processes. We’ve also added new native integrations for API-based access to Workato and Tableau.
Finally, for developers we’ve delivered Data Manager as part of this release. Data Manager allows developers to define custom Document Understanding machine learning (ML) models in the UiPath Platform. The models will continue to improve over time thanks to continuous retraining.
For our friends in IT, we didn’t stop at making it easy to run large programs thanks to improvements in deployments. In addition, we have been investing for some time in IT automation so IT can use the platform to automate their own processes. In this release, we added support for desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) offerings such as Amazon WorkSpaces and Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop. These became more important early in the pandemic when many security-conscious customers had to pivot to a work from home model. They create company desktops in the cloud which can be securely accessed from potentially insecure devices like home personal computers (PCs). We support automation of the full lifecycle of these services from provisioning to de-provisioning and everything in between.
4. Even more Automation Cloud™ capabilities
The last area is rapid expansion of Automation Cloud capabilities, and it’s really incredible how much it has advanced in the past year. Since we launched Automation Cloud in May last year, we have gone from simple cloud orchestration in a single geo to a multi-service, multi-geo, highly available offering with a 99.9% financially backed guarantee. In this release, there are three big areas of innovation to Automation Cloud.
First, we are bringing robots to the cloud. This has been a huge request from you and has two different options. You can run your robots in our cloud, or you can run them in a public cloud such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure. In both cases, you get the advantage of elastic compute. We will create and spin up your robots when they are needed for peak amounts of work. If there is less work to do, we will automatically shut them down and de-provision your robots to ensure compute is efficiently used. We also manage the robot itself (including upgrades!).
Second, we’ve added new services to Automation Cloud, including Automation Ops (which I mentioned earlier) and Insights. We moved Automation Hub from a standalone offering to an integrated part of Automation Cloud, which means it inherits new capabilities like multitenancy.
Third, since we are seeing such great traction in the cloud, we also delivered a migration tool that allows you to move everything from on-premises to the cloud in a few easy clicks.
I’m often asked how our investments in Automation Cloud benefit customers with other deployment models. Our platform philosophy revolves around choice and supporting IT strategies of all kinds. We start with Automation Cloud, which delivers our platform as a service and allows you to get started quickly, with no infrastructure. We innovate in Automation Cloud first and deliver new capabilities every two weeks. We fully manage and upgrade that for you. Many customers choose to deploy our platform in public cloud services or on-premises data centers, and we love that equally. We release these platform updates twice a year (this 21.4 release is the first of two releases this year).
In terms of next steps for those of you on Automaton Cloud, the 21.4 release is already live and you are using much of it already. If robots in our cloud sound interesting, you can talk to your sales team about how to get started there. For our on-premises customers and those deployed in the public cloud, the release is available for download so you can grab it whenever you want and get started.
Chief Product Officer (CPO), UiPath