SAP purchases intelligent robotic automation firm Contextor

The deal is focused on improving SAP's Leonardo machine learning portfolio and overall business process automation.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

SAP has announced the acquisition of Contextor SAS in a bid to boost the company's machine learning and robotic automation portfolio.

On Monday, the software solutions provider said the purchase will help SAP accelerate the development of the Leonardo machine learning solution, a platform for the creation of enterprise machine learning and automation-based apps and software.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Contextor SAS, based in Orsay, France, is a small European company focused on robotic process and desktop automation, offering products which are compatible with Microsoft Remote Desktop setups, XenDesktop workstations, and XenApp application servers.

Founded in 2000 by Patrick Lemare, Contextor now accounts for over 100,000 bot deployments using automation for business processes. The company previously received €600K in a venture-stage funding round.

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SAP says that Contextor's robotic process automation technology will be used to simplify interface interactions between SAP and non-SAP apps and environments.

Furthermore, the acquisition will build upon SAP's Leonardo machine developments, announced in October, which included investment in intelligent robotic process automation (RPA) designed to "help SAP automate repetitive processes across its portfolio."

Intelligent RPA capabilities are scheduled for inclusion into SAP S/4HANA in the first half of 2019, with other SAP applications to follow.

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The most interesting aspect of the deal, however, is that SAP plans to use Contextor's RPA technologies to automate at least half of all the tech giant's processes related to SAP ERP software over the next three years.

"With intelligent RPA accelerated by Contextor, businesses will be able to achieve the high automation level necessary to become intelligent enterprises," said Markus Noga, head of machine learning at SAP. "The acquisition is a big step towards orchestrating process automation and will help SAP inject RPA capabilities into our applications, first and foremost into SAP S/4HANA."

See also: SAP embraces Robotic Process Automation as part of new AI and cloud push

In related news, earlier this month SAP announced the acquisition of Qualtrics in a deal worth $8 billion. Rather than go public, Qualtrics agreed to the buyout, giving SAP access to the Qualtrics product suite which covers HR & customer processes and data including analytics, employee engagement, and retention, as well as exit interviews.

In Q3 2018, SAP reported total revenue of €6.02 billion IFRS or earnings per share of €0.82, up eight percent year-over-year.

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