Software Robots to Automate Work-force

“Automation Anywhere’s vision is to create a digital workforce where human beings are assisted by bots, thus augmenting the true potential of the workforce. We aim to liberate employees from mundane, repetitive tasks, thus allowing them more time to use their intellect and creativity to solve higher-order business challenges”, shares Milan Seth, EVP- IMEA, Automation Anywhere in conversation with Poulami Chakraborty of BW SmartCities. Excerpts below:

How has been the journey in Enterprise business for Automation Anywhere so far? 

Our journey started in 2003 when we built our first software bot and made it available for users to download. While we were expecting the first customer to download our bot in a week or two, we found that the first customer from Australia implemented it within a couple of hours. It was a pivotal moment and there was no looking back. 

Today, Automation Anywhere is the industry’s most widely deployed enterprise-grade RPA solution. We’ve experienced unprecedented ecosystem growth with more than 3,100 customers and 1,600 enterprise brands using our Intelligent Digital Workforce Platform. The journey so far has been exciting. Businesses today are increasingly augmenting their human workforce with a digital one. They are driven by the growing prevalence of millennials in the labor force and the reality of a rapidly aging workforce, and this is fueling the acceptance of RPA solutions and our ecosystem expansion.

Precisely, Automation Anywhere emphasizes their presence in Automating Workforce. Would you share with us what has triggered the thinking of foraying into this sector? Honestly, what prospects of development are you observing? 

Automation Anywhere’s vision is to create a digital workforce where human beings are assisted by bots, thus augmenting the true potential of the workforce.  We aim to liberate employees from mundane, repetitive tasks, thus allowing them more time to use their intellect and creativity to solve higher-order of business challenges. We see a world where every employee will work side by side with digital workers, making them exponentially more productive and far more fulfilled. 

RPA is a fast-evolving technology that uses software bots to automate business processes that have never before been automated. The RPA industry is growing at an unprecedented rate due to the high levels of efficiency that can be achieved from intelligent automation. Software bots enable enterprises to digitize business operations, advance productivity, improve customer experiences and lower operating costs. 

Industry analysts provide a range of forecasts for RPA - all in the multibillion-dollar range. For instance, Zinnov reports state that the RPA services market is going to be worth a mammoth USD 4 billion by 2024 with a CAGR of 47 percent. RPA is disrupting traditional technologies which are increasingly viewed as expensive and complex. Zinnov further states that 55 percent of the global RPA service provider talent comes from India. What’s more, the ROI on automation is exponentially higher and quicker to achieve. Many customers have reported breakeven times within six months of deployment. High level of software automation along with a rise in the Internet of Things is further creating a favorable market for RPA. Therefore, the opportunity is huge in this space.

Specifically, high-end technical terms have not only successfully evolved in the Indian enterprise ecosystem, but also have been adapted vividly in both enterprise and government segments. But do you feel the same has been the response even in the grass root mass level? Where has been the challenge, if any? 

The response has not been the same so far. At the grass root mass level, we think that the main challenge is the fear of job losses, which is overhyped. Software bots are designed to automate mundane repetitive jobs that does not need any human interventions, we believe RPA will bring out the true potential of a human at work, by allowing him to spend more time on insight driven creative jobs. We strongly believe that technology is creating opportunities, thus paving the way for new and altered jobs, increasing productivity, and improving the delivery of public services. Companies can thus automate data entry, but creative thinking won’t ever be replaced by bots.. Additionally, as RPA grew at a rate of 63 percent in 2018 as per Gartner reports, it’s fair to say that RPA is reinvigorating the Indian tech sector while leading to the creation of new jobs that didn’t exist just last year. This adds credence to our claims that RPA has the power to create 290,000-320,000 jobs over the next 3 years.

What challenges do you face while operating in Indian enterprise market? 

With modern enterprises drowning in legacy systems, overloaded with data, and struggling with too many manual processes, organizations have begun to embark on their digital journeys to simplify work. Business and technology decision makers know that they need AI-driven technology that can reduce friction around productivity and enable them to develop new business models, products and services. 

While businesses today are increasingly augmenting their human workforce, challenges arise when enterprises decide to scale up the use of RPA. Many organizations are still in the ‘experimental’ phase with automation and are just beginning to implement it on an end-to-end basis. 

Proof-of-concept projects will also need to be scaled up to match rising demand.

Employee up-skilling will also need increased focus to build an ecosystem around hiring, up-skilling and reorganizing workflow for an automated world. NASSCOM predicts that by 2023, 54 percent of Indian digitally skilled employees will need to resell themselves.

Companies are taking initial steps towards adapting to change but there is still some way to go.

Going forward what prospects do you feel bots find in the Indian scenario? Any specific segment of operation you feel may leverage it the most?

India is experiencing an automation wave that has been accelerating in the last few years. India has the potential to become the global hub of business automation, especially because the digital and human workforces based in India have long been running data-driven operations for companies worldwide. 

In terms of segments, there are not many verticals of operations where automation can’t make a valuable difference. We have seen examples in billing, manufacturing, HR, finance and many more verticals to say with certainty that Automation Anywhere’s Digital Workers can augment human workers across business functions and verticals to meet unique business needs. 

Moreover, with Automation Anywhere’s IQ Bots, which automatically read and process a variety of complex, low-resolution documents and emails in 190 languages, we are giving enterprises the ability to sort through unstructured and semi-structured data with cognitive abilities. The Automation Anywhere mobile app also allows IQ Bots to be accessed from a mobile device, thus allowing users to leverage it on the move. 

What is your vision for the coming five years? Do you plan to support the Government of India in its pet projects and missions?

The demand for RPA solutions in India has increased exponentially over the last few years due to significant adoption by GICs, financial institutions, telecom service providers, and technology and manufacturing companies. We intend to facilitate and drive this adoption further. 

The aim is to encourage better investments and improve our Bot Store as it is a free marketplace where users can come and share their automation ideas. In one of our recent partnerships with NASSCOM, we also committed to becoming the first provider of upskilling programs in the RPA domain to match the government’s Future Skills initiative. We remain open to supporting similar government-driven plans in the future.

We’re excited for the growth opportunities ahead of us and are focused on delivering ground-breaking RPA solutions to our customers and prospects. Our vision is to be the world’s largest employer by 2020, with 3 million bots running alongside human workers to bring true Intelligent Digital Workforces to all industries.