You’ve probably heard that recently UiPath, a leader in the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) industry, has acquired the StepShot technology. Although this news has been already announced to our customers via email, we feel like there still may be some questions and concerns. So, if you are a customer using the StepShot product wondering what the acquisition means – this blog post is for you.
Preface: About the StepShot products
We had been developing the StepShot products for a couple of years, and ultimately, we released a newStepShot Guides PRO version a bit more than a year ago. Back then, we were working on a process documentation tool that would meet the needs of our customers in creating step-by-step guides and training materials. That’s why we were scheduling a lot of customer interviews and questionnaires to understand our priorities. Later, once the new version was half ready, we were running user beta tests to improve or even completely change the functionality as per requests/feedback. Eventually, we delivered the biggest StepShot Guides update which, according to the reviews, successfully met the expectations of our customers.
Acquisition: About RPA and UiPath
However, as we were looking for an opportunity to add more value to the existing tool, we unveiled one more significant use case – process discovery for RPA. We discovered that the RPA industry would greatly benefit from a process documentation tool with similar functionality to StepShot Guides. That was just a couple of months after our StepShot Guides PRO release, and since that time things moved rapidly. As we found this niche in RPA, it led to our partnership with UiPath followed by the acquisition within just several months. UiPath had a similar culture to StepShot and both companies were striving to save time spent on dull tasks that can be completed by software instead of a human. So, StepShot and UiPath joined forces with an aim to improve the current StepShot product and facilitate fast and easy document creation. We integrated our efforts to deliver an innovative process documentation tool for RPA – Explorer Expert.
New tool: About Explorer Expert
Now, we’re happy to claim that Explorer Expert is a tool that can facilitate your process documentation endeavors. Additionally, this can lay ground for further task automation and increase employee productivity. Explorer Expert has been created on the basis of StepShot Guides with its core functionality being preserved. This means that you will still be able to capture screenshots with every mouse click, automatically get step descriptions, annotate the screenshots, and export documents using customizable templates. Moreover, Explorer Expert builds advanced process diagrams and its capturing capabilities are “smarter” in terms of improved step description and duplicate screenshots removal. Another enhancement if compared to StepShot Guides PRO is an automatic collection of process statistics. This functionality will be especially helpful for those who have used the tool to create guides for employees, for instance, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Basically, some logic has been changed to make the tool more suitable for creating Process Definition Documents (PDDs) as its main use case. That’s why we believe that our lifetime users and subscription customers will like Explorer Expert.
Customers of the StepShot products: About the changes and solutions
Since the acquisition, we have received questions about the related changes and offered solutions and we want to be honest with our loyal customers. We’d like to provide you with an explanation of what we can offer to you, how we’ve come to this decision, and how you can benefit from it.
As a customer formerly using the StepShot product, you’ll be able to access two tools: UiPath Explorer Expert (already available) and offline StepShot Guides (available after March 31, 2020). What’s important, you’ll have access to the exact same version and the exact same number of licenses you’ve purchased before. For example, offline StepShot Basic will have access to basic features, while offlineStepShot Guides PRO Team will comprise 5 licenses with the full functionality. As for Explorer Expert, it’s already available and you can download it after completing the sign-up form – click below to open it.
Considering all this, let’s define the benefits you’ll get with access to Explorer Expert and offlineStepShot Guides:
+ There are two ways to create a process diagram in Explorer Expert. You can either build a diagram and then capture steps for each of its blocks, or start with process capturing and then the diagram will be generated automatically.
+ Smarter process capturing also solves some issues which have been frequently addressed in your feedback. Now Explorer Expert removes duplicate screenshots, provides more accurate step descriptions, and collects process statistics.
+ All other core functions except for exporting options of Explorer Expert remain the same as in StepShot Guides PRO but with improved UI/UX. However, owing to Word export, you’ll still be able to export your documents into many other formats including PDF, HTML, and others directly from Word.
+ The offline StepShot tool will be ultimately updated to make sure it will work better and will comply with future OS updates.
Unfortunately, along with these great enhancements, there will also be some limitations as StepShot is now a part of the UiPath platform specializing in RPA. These are the following:
– StepShot Cloud will be discontinued on December 16, 2019, so please make sure you download and export all your materials from Cloud by then.
– Auto narration will be disabled in the offline StepShot product. Still, you will be able to record your own audio to narrate the video.
– Explorer Expert will be available only for Windows. However, Mac OS users will be able to benefit from the upcoming update of the offline StepShot tool.
As we hope you’ll agree, while there are some drawbacks here, there are many more benefits and by no means does the acquisition imply that our lifetime users are losing access to the tool. We sincerely had both the subscription customers and lifetime users in mind throughout the whole process. With this in mind, we suggested and brought to life the idea of an Explorer Expert Community version since we wanted to make sure you would all receive access to the new tool. Functionally speaking, this version does not differ from the Enterprise version, which is available only as one of the components of the RPA platform and cannot be purchased separately.
Also, we understand that some users will still prefer the functionality of StepShot Guides rather than the new tool. That’s why we’ve made a commitment to provide those customers with access to the offline mode which will have the same features, except for the online ones (Cloud + auto narration).
We hope that you find the two solutions we provide acceptable and beneficial for you. Thank you for believing in us from the very beginning and please believe us one more time – we’ve genuinely done our best to keep our promise made to our lifetime users. In the case of any questions, feel free to contact us – we’ll be glad to talk more about these changes and address your concerns.