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When you picture a robot, what images come to your mind? Is it R2-D2 or C3PO? Maybe a Roomba or the Terminator? That’s not unusual, but mostly that is not real life. In today’s world, we have robots, automation, and A.I. everywhere, just not in the way people think.
On this episode of IT Visionaries, Ian chats with Guy Kirkwood, the chief evangelist at UiPath, and Jordan Collard, the CEO and co-founder of Jolt Advantage Group about the robots they’re working on in the RPA industry. RPA stands for Robotic Process Automation and it is working its way into Fortune 500 companies at a rapid pace as everyone tries to find more ways to work more quickly and efficiently. Together, the trio explores how RPA is implemented and go through use cases that prove you can go from a task taking 16 days, to it being done within four hours. Plus, they discuss the future of the industry and how to get more people interested and invested in the technology.
Best Advice: Guy: “Go and talk to the analysts because they are the route to achieving global education at very low costs.”
Jordan: “Select the right process. And don’t automate a broken process.”
- What exactly is RPA?
- Who will be using RPA in the future and how will it be implemented?
- How to build an ecosystem of customers who are excited and invested.
What UiPath focuses on and how Jolt AG fits in
After raising about $1 billion in funding, Guy explains that UIPath has a plan to use that money on three key focus areas: A.I., education, and partners.
Jordan says that Jolt AG is looking to strap itself to the rocketship UIPath is launching. But for each company to succeed, there needs to be an awareness built among the customer base. To do that, the two companies work together to put on workshops and training programs that are designed to not only inform participants about RPA, but allow them to build and take home an RPA robot so they can see the utility of the technology. Each company is also working to get RPA curriculum into schools and universities.
A crash course in RPA
Robotic process automation is kind of like an operating system, Guy says. What RPA does is move through all of the applications and systems on your computer and automate processes that are time-consuming or inefficient. The RPA runs through a process exactly how a human does, but on its own. There’s always a fear that robots and automation will take jobs away, but in fact, both Jordan and Guy say that isn’t the case. Rather, once RPA is implemented — which is relatively easy and cheap — the RPA can live on doing the work that’s necessary but tedious, allowing the human assets to focus on high-level work.
The RPA industry is growing rapidly. In the last two years, UiPath went from having five total clients from the Fortune 500, to working with more than 60% of companies in the Fortune 500.
But RPA has its limits. Guy uses a golf analogy to explain where RPA can fall short, saying that the RPA is the driver in your golf bag, but in order to complete the hole, you need other clubs as well. So with RPA you can get yourself started on a great path, but you need tools, systems, and processes to make the entire organization run.
“It was considered to be sort of macros on steroids. So [it’s like] if you write a macro for an excel sheet, you can consider RPA to be a macro across every organization and every system that sits within those organizations.” —Guy
“Once people are able to see not only how this robot will be able to do that same process that they do, but how they execute it much faster with 100% accuracy and do it as many times as they want they have that ‘Aha’ moment.” —Jordan
The future of RPA
It is not impossible that within just a few years, RPA and A.I. will become ubiquitous in all industries. There is a possibility that RPA will become a productivity tool in the same what that Word and Powerpoint did in offices everywhere.
Guy explains it by saying A.I. is like the new electricity. Automation is going to disappear and you may never think about it or really notice it. And that is not because it’s not used, but because it’s going to be used everywhere all the time. You’ll use it so much you won’t have to think about it. Because that’s the case, Guy again stresses that education will be important as RPA becomes more heavily used so that people can understand the technology and the impact it will have.
“[Education is] important because we realize that if RPA is going to be ubiquitous, it is going to be everywhere and everyone was going to have one, then everyone needs to understand what impact that’s going to have on them, both positive and negative.” —Guy
Working with partners
In order to scale, UiPath has relied on implementation partners like Jolt AG. With partners, UIPath can grow internally because they can source talent, they can grow linearly and they can grow globally as they tap into the markets of everyone they partner with. From the other side, partners like Jolt AG are flush with opportunities to market to new customers and bring in more value for the company.
“The value of partners is that we can scale so much faster and the value add that they provide in terms of the relationship with the C-suite of their clients is so much stronger than we could ever have.” —Guy
Building an ecosystem of customers
Putting products into the hands of potential customers is the best way to build up an ecosystem. Guy advocates giving away a ton of stuff for free.
“In order to build a community of people who are passionate about this automation stuff, then you have to make as easy as possible to use. You have to make it as easy as possible to buy. You have to be as easy as possible to learn.” —Guy
- Blue Prism
- Everest Group Paper on Scaling Automation
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- The Great Yorkshire Show
To learn more about RPA and how to build a robot of your own, look for upcoming events with Jolt here: https://www.joltag.com/webinars-events?utm_source=mission