IBM buys RPA company WDG Automation

The deal is yet another step in its push into the AI-infused automation market

IBM has announced its acquisition of WDG Automation, a Brazillian software provider specialising in robotic process automation (RPA)

Financial details of the acquisition weren’t disclosed to the public, but the companies said they expect the deal to close in the third quarter. 

IBM’s decision to acquire WDG Automation sees the tech giant continuing its expansion into the AI-infused automation market, as it looks to provide its customers with the ability to “quickly identify more granular opportunities for automation (...) as well as help ensure consistent and accurate data is being used across all tools and business functions, including customer service, IT, finance, HR, and supply chain”. 

RPA technologies have the ability to computerise repetitive tasks, removing them from the human employees' workload and therefore boosting productivity, as well as general welfare and wellbeing.

WDG Automation, based in São José do Rio Preto, Brazil, is a provider of RPA, Intelligent Automation (IA), Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and chatbots. It markets its products at business users looking to create automations using a desktop recorder without the need for IT.

WDG’s software robots are able to run on-demand or by using an automated scheduler, depending on the customer’s needs.

The company’s founder and CEO Robson Felix called automation “crucial in the digital era, as businesses need to perform several repetitive or routine tasks so that employees are able to focus on innovation”.

“I'm incredibly proud of the role WDG Automation has played in the RPA market with a unified and integrated platform to help companies in Brazil increase their productivity," he added.

WDG co-founder Kleber Rodrigues Junior said that “joining forces with IBM will scale our capabilities to a wider audience, helping companies around the world accelerate their growth on their business transformation journeys”.

Denis Kennelly, general manager of Cloud Integration at IBM Cloud and Cognitive Software, added: “IBM already automates how companies apply AI to business processes and IT operations so they can detect opportunities and problems and recommend next steps and solutions”. 

“With today's announcement, IBM is taking that a step further and helping clients accelerate automation to more parts of the organization, not just to routine, but more complex tasks so employees can focus on higher-value work."

The acquisition might signal a shift of priorities for IBM, which recently decided to “sunset” its general-purpose facial recognition and analysis software suite over ethical concerns following a fortnight of Black Lives Matter protests.

Last week, the company unveiled an AI-powered inventory control system to help businesses optimize their decision-making and build resilient supply chains more effectively.

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