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Integrating emerging technologies with an existing workforce is challenging. Automation not only stands to change how individuals perform their jobs but will transform the behavior of the organization itself, says Yousuf Khan, CIO of Automation Anywhere
What is the single most significant trend you see in enterprise adoption of automation over the last year? How do you see it panning out to impact the industry over 2020?
Intelligent (AI-driven) automation will replace rules-based automation. While many RPA platforms now offer AI capabilities, historically, RPA and AI have been used as two separate applications – one is rules-based, and the other is adaptive and predictive. Over the next year, RPA and process analytics will become entirely infused with AI and machine learning (ML), accelerating process mining and discovery, and dramatically simplifying human effort in these areas. Automation Anywhere has been engaging in this area and our software bots will be able to automatically identify the best business processes to automate, act upon this insight, and optimize deployments to guarantee the best possible results.
This is not the first time you are joining a team as the first CIO. What typical challenges do you see the very first head of IT faces in a company? How do you mitigate them?
Often, CIO’s biggest challenge is managing and prioritizing a myriad of opportunities available so that their organization is in the best position to evolve and thrive. More importantly, as the first CIO of Automation Anywhere, my goal is to provide governance and harness the positive momentum that we have experienced during the company’s steady growth and become a partner to the product, marketing, and sales teams.
One of my priorities at Automation Anywhere is to set up a Center of Excellence (CoE) to implement thousands of bots internally to automate end-to-end business processes. The company has more than 200 bots deployed internally, with expectations to grow that number to 500 bots in the coming months and over 1,000 or more in the next year to 18 months. My job is to remove roadblocks to internal automation of processes and arm our team with the knowledge and confidence to tell us how we can use our RPA tools to save time, effort and make our work more human.
In your experience, which vertical is seeing the most significant adoption, and reaping the highest benefit form RPA?
A fascinating aspect of RPA is that almost any industry can benefit from utilizing this powerful technology. A report from Futurum Research commissioned by Automation Anywhere found that the media and publishing sector has been the most eager to embrace automation, with 87.5 percent of respondents claiming that their firms have already implemented some form of RPA. The complete digitization of media has driven companies and content publishers to replace manual content and media management processes with flexible, adaptable, machine-learning-based automated solutions.
There is no more doubt about RPA adoption in enterprises. But it is also true that enterprises need to be ready for this kind of process transformation. What do you advise companies planning to adopt RPA for benefits? What should they do to be, so to speak, RPA ready?
RPA will transform business, but that’s not a given. There is the right way as well as the wrong way to implement RPA. Adoption is a long-term journey of creating change that will empower the workforce to become more productive and creative. The RPA journey is closely connected to digital transformation. Creating an enterprise-wide strategic move is the hallmark of successful RPA implementations. RPA, as one of the core elements of digital transformation, has the power to augment and free resources. It redefines the standards of speed, efficiency, and changes the way businesses operate both, organically and intentionally.
Discovery is the first step in ensuring your organization is RPA-ready. CIO’s should start by assessing organizational fit, appetite, and readiness for RPA, and researching the available RPA tools and then begin to sketch a vision for organizational transformation. It’s essential to bring in HR early to keep people at the center and establish an open, pragmatic approach from the start.
Are there any risks associated with RPA and its rapid entry into the B2B enterprise? Have you seen any instances of such an incident? If yes, how did you eliminate it?
I’ve spoken with hundreds of CIO’s over the last two years, so from my vantage point in hearing about challenges at other companies, RPA offers tremendous value for businesses: dramatically reducing operating costs with near-zero error rates, 70% higher productivity gains, and infinite scalability. While RPA is the fastest-growing segment of the global enterprise software market, according to Gartner, there are still several barriers to overcome before the full promise of RPA is fulfilled.
Getting a deployment off the ground can be the hardest part. The largest stumbling block I see is the need for proper RPA skills and training. Integrating emerging technologies with an existing workforce is challenging. Automation not only stands to change how individuals perform their jobs but will transform the behavior of the organization itself. For CIO’s, it will transform the IT team to do so much more impact on the rest of the company. That’s why Automation Anywhere launched Automation Anywhere University (AAU), our online RPA training academy, to prepare the workforce of today with skills for the automation-driven future. Through AAU, Automation Anywhere has trained more than 350,000 developers, business analysts, partners, and students in RPA to prepare the workforce of today for the automation-driven future.
Yousuf Khan is the CIO Of Automation Anywhere and leads the IT team covering business applications, corporate infrastructure, and security. Prior to Automation Anywhere, he was CIO and VP of Customer Success at Moveworks. Prior to this, Yousuf was the CIO of Pure Storage, where he joined as the company’s first CIO and part of the leadership team that led in scaling company through an IPO and growing internationally to nearly three thousand employees. Before Pure Storage, Khan was part of the leadership team of Qualys, where he served as the company’s first CIO, leading all IT including business applications, product integration, sales operations and IT security.