Automation Anywhere in 2023: 100 Million Digital Workers and Counting

By Robert Burgelman, Raj Joshi
2023 | Case No. SM373 | Length 18 pgs.

Automation, robots, and artificial intelligence (AI) were driving massive change by the 2020s—and it was perhaps only a matter of time before the planet had billions of digital workers executing standardized, repetitive tasks. In the 20 years since its founding, Automation Anywhere had laid a solid foundation in Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which helped companies be more efficient via application user interfaces, application programming interfaces, and database access. In 2023 the global RPA market was around $3 billion—and analysts projected this would hit $24 billion to $30 billion by 2030.

Mihir Shukla, CEO of Automation Anywhere, had seen the potential to transform how companies and people worked by letting technology take on repetitive tasks. Shukla had helped pioneer the technology that automated business processes with intelligent software bots – AI powered digital workers. And Shukla had led the company from its early days selling a low-cost software product, to its pivot towards the enterprise market and SaaS model. The company timed its series A funding round in 2018, positioning itself to be a leader in bringing new advances and AI applications to millions of people.

By 2023, large and small organizations alike were increasingly open to adopting new technologies—and many companies believed the tipping point for AI had occurred with the emergence of the large language models and ChatGPT. The next five years promised to be exciting. What would Automation Anywhere tackle next in the fast-evolving intelligent automation market? How would it win the innovation battle, and brainstorm the path forward to build enterprise value?

Learning Objective

This case is designed to help students assess how CEOs juggle a company’s short-term goals and longer-term challenges, particularly in a fast-moving technology ecosystem. Students discuss the trajectory and vision of one company that had mapped a successful story to date, and was now looking for the next opportunities to help revolutionize software and work.
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