When Salesforce announced it was buying German RPA vendor Servicetrace last month, it seemed that it might match up well with MuleSoft, the company the CRM giant bought in 2018 for $6.5 billion. MuleSoft, among other things, helps customers build APIs to legacy systems, while Servicetrace provides a way to add automation to legacy systems. Sure enough, the company announced today that it's planning a new MuleSoft-Servicetrace tool called MuleSoft RPA.
The Servicetrace deal closed on September 2nd and the company isn't wasting any time putting it to work wherever it makes sense across the organization -- and the MuleSoft integration is a primary use case. John Kucera, SVP of product management at Salesforce where he leads product automation, says that MuleSoft has API management and integration tooling already, but RPA will add another dimension to those existing capabilities.
"We found that many of our customers also need to automate and integrate with disconnected systems, with PDFs, with spreadsheets, but also these legacy systems that don't have events or API's. And so we wanted to make sure that we can meet our customers where they are, and that we could have this end-to-end, solution to automate these capabilities," Kucera told me.
The company will be packaging ServiceTrace as a part of MuleSoft, while blending it with other parts of the Salesforce family of integration tools, as well as other parts of the platform. The MuleSoft RPA tool will live under the Einstein Automate umbrella, but MuleSoft will also sell it as a standalone service, so customers can take advantage of it, even if they aren't using other parts of the MuleSoft platform or even the broader Salesforce platform. Einstein is the name of Salesforce's artificial intelligence capabilities. Although RPA isn't really AI, it can become integrated into an AI-fueled workflow like this.
The MuleSoft acquisition always seemed to be about giving Salesforce, a fully cloud company at its core, a way to access on-prem, legacy enterprise systems, allowing customers to reach data wherever it lives. Adding RPA to the mix takes that a step further, enabling companies to build connections to these systems inside their more modern Einstein Automate workflow tooling to systems that previously wouldn't have been accessible to the Einstein Automate system.
This is often the case for many large companies, which typically use a mix of newer and often very old systems. Giving them a way to link the two and bring automation across the company could prove quite useful if it truly works as described.
The company is announcing all of these capabilities at Dreamforce, its annual customer conference taking place next week. As with many announcements at the conference, this one is designed to let customers know what's coming, rather than something that's available now (or at least soon). MuleSoft RPA is not expected to be ready for general availability until some time in the first half of next year.