UiPath vs Power Automate

In our automation-hive things have been very busy with year-to-year exponential growth. As we strive to beedazle our partners with innovative ideas and custom solutions we get to explore a lot of platforms, products and tools, out of which two stand out most of the time: UiPath and Power Automate.

It is very often that we encounter the same question from potential clients that are trying to paint out their digital transformation journey: “What’s better: Uipath or Power Automate?”. As you would expect there is no certain answer, and it really depends on the goals and context so in this article we’ll try to have a close fly-by through both platforms to see their cons and pros.

UiPath is the benchmark when we’re talking about RPA and they’re all about developing tools that are easy to use and cover most of the technical environments. They blew up several years ago and have continued their growth at an unbeelievable rate, being the most sought out solutions provider for automation. They are constantly claiming the top spot in the industry’s charts and assessments, closely followed by Microsoft’s Power Automate Platform and Automation Anywhere.

When we’re talking about PROs there is a quite extensive list, but we’ll try to pinpoint those differentials:

  1. Versatility – without any doubt this is the most versatile platform that we have worked with. This is achieved with a simple formula: neutrality towards legacy platforms and technologies, plus considerable financial investments in functionalities. The developed tools and complementary functionalities are covering most of the needs in any organizational automation environment.
  2. Ease of implementation – probably the most valuable ingredient for successful new software is “citizen user adoption” and everybody has the “low-code / no-code platforms” approach these days. Being able to build your own robotic workflows will be a skill as common as navigating the internet 20 years ago and some of the product developers are achieving this at some extent. Automating workflows that incorporate some basic user digital interactions is fairly simple even without a technical background. However, when we are talking about more complex processes, scalability, exception handling, business exceptions etc. there is need for specialized resources. UiPath does very well in both categories as the development framework is easily adjustable for any scenario.
  3. Community participation – UiPath had invested a lot of resources into creating great buzz and they scored well on many levels. One of them is the community growth that have formed a consistent core for support, improvement suggestions and, best of all, free plug-and-play activities for automations which really speed up implementations.

As CONs there is one aspect that stands out: licensing pricing. Yes, robot licensing is not cheap, but it makes a lot of financial sense if you stick to the RPA best practices: pick the right processes for automation, get everybody affected onboard and invested, build modular and scalable. RPA done right has a 6 to 12 months ROI and an immense impact in the organization so licensing costs matter close to nothing. On the other hand, the automations initiatives that are not addressed accordingly can turn south real bad real fast and this is why a professional implementation partner, or an internal core of specialists is needed.

Power Automate is Microsoft’s response to the market’s explosive demand for easy automation. Truth be told, the first UI automations are about three decades old and were done by Microsoft, but only now the digital landscape is mature enough for large scale implementation of this technology. Taking this into consideration it is only normal that they have built a powerful automation platform (hence the branding 😊 ).

As stand-out PROs we would name the following:

  1. Flexible licensing – Microsoft’s licensing strategy for cloud products has been efficient all along with pay-as-you-go offers that are fit for any budget and this gave them the edge on user adoption of their software. Power Platform, and the subsidiary Power Automate, are not any different and pricing can be easily scaled to needs. However, one should be careful when designing architecture, as complex processes may end up chugging more costs than other products that deliver the same result.
  2. Seamless Microsoft integrations – The Microsoft products spectrum is huge, starting from the legacy OS Windows to an immense suite of productivity tools and cloud services. It figures that most of these tools and environments have a solid base for integration and inter-connectivity. If your automations are mostly regarding interactions in the Microsoft universe then the Power Automate flows are the natural solution.
  3. It’s all in the cloud – Organizations that use Microsoft tenants have by default access to the Power Platform that brings all data and business functionalities on the same puffy cloud. This means that jumping from data clusters or environments in the company is very easy and one can rapidly use dynamic references, regarding the source, to build fast and stable processes.

Microsoft tries to do it all and most of the time they succeed, but you can tell, at least for RPA, that this is not their core concern, but another piece of the vast landscape. This comes with some downsides, so here are the CONs:

  1. Power Automate Desktop – When it comes to UI automation it seems that Microsoft was caught a bit off guard by the market development and made the natural move to acquire the already mature WinAutomation product and convert it into their own PAD (Power Automate Desktop) – a platform for desktop automations that bear the same low-code / no-code approach. It is a product with a high improvement and growth rate but it is still far away from its main competitors as it only delivers on simple automations. It lacks the depth and complexity needed to build stable and scalable robotic automated flows.
  2. Low external reach – Power Automate is firstly about automating Microsoft developed platforms and it does a great job at it, but when it comes to incorporating external platforms and integrations thing become tedious. There is a consistent “connector” market developed that bridges the most used third-party productivity platforms to the Power Automate flows, but it’s far from the flexibility provided by other platforms.

As a conclusion we would suggest going for Power Automate when you have most of your business flows in the Microsoft spectrum and use UiPath for any other scenario given. Some flowers give you the best pollen and others the best honey.