B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 5 months ago

Robotic Process Automation: A Rapidly Growing Market


Robotic process automation, or RPA, is an emerging market experiencing explosive growth.

It’s growing so quickly, in fact, that there isn’t a single industry that hasn’t been touched.

Shelby Skrhak talks with Phillip Clay, UiPath regional vice president, about:

- How RPA works

- What’s possible with RPA

- Some industries where RPA is used

- How Ingram Micro works with UiPath

For more information, contact the UiPath Solutions Development tTeam (uipath-sd@ingrammicro.com) or visit uipath.com.

To join the discussion, follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher. Or tune in on our website.

...mm hmm. You're listening to B. two B. Tech talk with ingram micro. The place to learn about new technology and technological advances before they become mainstream. This podcast is sponsored by the Ingram Micro one event. Dream of possibility craft the future and think of the things nobody else has. Our customers arrive as individuals but quickly become one. Let's get into it. Welcome to B. Two B tech talk with ingram Micro. I'm your host, Shelby skirt hawk and my guest today is Phillip clay regional vice president for Ui Path Philip. Welcome. Welcome. Thank you for having me. Well today we are talking about robotic process automation. R. R. P. A. With new york based Ui Path. So Philip for those who may not be familiar, can you give us an overview of robotic process automation and how Ui Path works in this space? Yeah, I'll try my best. So R. P. A. Or robotic process automation can be pretty complex once you get into it. So what I describe to my family members over thanksgiving or other family dinners is it's just automation as simple as that is. We're just automating things that people do already and we try to make it simpler for them. And you know, the benefits of automation just to recap is that it can be done without intervention from people and it's error free. So it's it's kind of a two pronged approach there where Ui Path plays in this space where one of the pioneering companies that developed our papa, we've been in this space for six plus years definitely have spearheaded a lot of innovation and approach to our P. A. I think from a market cap size were one of the largest if not largest independent DARPA companies in the world and we focus on that piece of it really dedicated the innovation of this space and technology. Great well you know when we talk about technology, you know it's there's the saying you know you don't want to incorporate technology for technology's sake, there used to be a greater purpose there. So let's let's talk about what's possible with automation and I guess what's what the real kind of value realization there is. So how does the conversation normally go when when potential clients express an interest in process automation for their business? Yeah, I think it starts usually because automation is a buzzword, it is very much hyped. I think everybody their first inclination is to automate or it seems like a good thing. The challenge is immediately when you start to have the conversation is that our software and our peers in this space can essentially automate anything that a person does with a keyboard and mouse. And so when you really evaluate someone's environment, even just an independent business unit or department, there is literally no exaggeration, thousands of possible automation that could happen. And it could be from, from a business side all the way through a technical side, it's an incredible amount of possibility. Now once we start going through that conversation with, you know, people that are curious about learning more. It's really, really a big effort to quantify what to automate and walk through, you know, not how, but what...

...should be automated. You know, the conversations are really interesting, at least from my point of view because a lot of times we start talking with a client or customer or someone of interest, there's not usually just one person, it's usually a room full of people and there's always a few that get it right away. But then there's a group of laggards that just don't quite understand the potential of automation. And I think sometimes we take for granted or we don't fully appreciate how much automation has slowly crept into our lives example I like to think of and we're planning some holidays and vacations coming up this year's, you know, to book a flight in a hotel room and you go to a site like kayak or Expedia, that's all automation behind the scenes, finding the hotels and availability and the flights and the coordination and all that stuff. If you listen to Spotify or Pandora or any other music service, that's all automation behind the scenes to find the right song for the right mood and you know, put together your customized playlists and recommend who's next and you know bill that comprehensive library of recommendations and and songs for you. So it's the big part of the conversation beginning is helping people understand what really is automation? What's potential. And then the second piece is now in the light bulb goes off and they fully realize what's in front of them. Not overwhelmed, you know, not overwhelm the possibilities back to kind of narrow it down to a few things that could be beneficial for them in the immediate. So that's how I kind of have the conversations start to get a little bit more involved in course for the different complexities, but that's kind of a that works well. That brings up a good point then. So, you know, when you talk about how everything really can be automated and a lot of things that that maybe we've taken for granted our automation, then I guess when you talk about narrowing that scope, what are those, guess what are those, those drawbacks that you normally hear like, you know, are there often those objections as well? You know that that has to be a person that can't be automated. What are those objections you here? Yeah. I think people just don't like change and I speak for myself, you know, it's scary. Look at things differently and you're like, I'm going to trust something else to do it. There's also inherent debt that companies have, whether it's technical or process debt or just things have been done a certain way. And one time they changed it five years ago it broke everything and took weeks to fix. And so there's just there's inherent friction with automation, especially the more complex things that get automated. There is a knee jerk reaction. No that can't, that can't be automated. We always have to have sally doing that one thing or whatever ends up being. There's also some apprehension around job security and this is gonna replace my value to the company and so forth. But I do think that once they see it and they start to put the pieces together and you can go incrementally it doesn't have to be a complete transformation from the get go our big focus. Something we're trying to differentiate ourselves from our peers in the spaces is to develop a set of tools that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence and some other technologies to rationalize what should be automated and also what the impact and benefit of that automation is to the organization so that when you do go to make a decision, you have a ton of facts and empirical evidence that supports it versus how most people make business decisions right now is kind of a gut feeling. I don't think we all want to admit that but we do tend to...

...kind of have a biased and lean into that and what's that saying? We kind of find the facts after making the decision versus the other way around. And so I you know big, big focus for us that you my path is hey how do we use these technologies to extract that data before you start looking at your automation so that it's justified and the right approach. Right. Right. Well, so can we go into some specifics and and examples and the industries where our P. A. Is used? Um It's a broad question. So I would say right now there isn't an industry that we don't touch. What we are seeing though is some major macro economic impacts that's causing acceleration of automation in certain industries. Healthcare is an obvious one that is just being overwhelmed. It's understaffed, there's tons of governance and compliance has to go into it. It's a very, very complex topic. So, you know, so healthcare is right for automation. We do see manufacturing and supply chain as another industry that is coming up a lot um just resource allocation and predictability and modeling where material comes from and helping get the right pieces where they need to go. Supply chain is as much as the world depends on it. It's actually pretty old technology that's still being kind of runs the world. So that's right. We're seeing a lot of change there. We see, we've seen in the past and we seem to pick up more financial sectors. So banking, insurance, financial services, mortgage companies, things that where it's a lot of paperwork, a lot of things right now, a lot of people touch, It blows my mind still that modern multi billion dollar companies, you know, there'll be eight or nine people that touch a document gets printed out, gets re scan gets facts, that's still a thing. And and then it gets manually updated to upload it to a centralized database uh for data entry into this big archaic resource management system. Uh So that's ripe for disruption. We're seeing a lot of interest there and I'd say the last one, there's many more, but we're seeing retail. You know, it's retails, a really interesting thing for us because it's it's kind of shifted online and the person that kind of oscillates back and forth, no consumers what they want, delivery packages. And just in time it's all changing. It's very dynamic. And so a lot of companies are looking at automation and ui path to help them serve their customers better to have a better interaction with the customer service side, give updates on packages and alternatives in real time. And you know, kind of, the next evolution of fixing the problems is actually how do we use this technology for a competitive advantage? How do we build something to grow our position, not just protected. So it's it's all over the place. Yeah, that's interesting. Well, you know, certainly with those industries that you've mentioned, there's a huge need there and especially with the technology side of it with such a shortage of of, you know, technology talent in, you know, in the pool there, that shortage of jobs can be alleviated. Certainly with this process automation, right? Yeah. That's it's interesting when I first started a couple years ago the big fear was companies are going to hire robots to get rid of their workers. That's very classical industrial revolution type of meth. Yeah. And it's logical, it makes sense if I'm doing accident, robot can do it, you know...

...better and cheaper than of course what is my value? That was initial concern but that's not what we've seen and I don't, I can tell you that's just evolution in economics or if the robotic process helps shift it. But now even with the robots in place and automation or seeing a massive shortage of people and it's not just people but as often as you mentioned technical skill sets to do this job. But what's really fascinating though is if you really, if you really look at most people's day, especially the knowledge worker capacity in their studies and I don't have the official numbers but a big portion of their day to day responsibility is to do low value highly visible tasks or reporting and communications and things where a lot of times people don't even read it or see it, but optically they have to produce it. And what we found is when when you take that off your plate and you say listen don't all of that stuff can be done. It's all automated away it's on a schedule. You don't worry about it. You can focus all your time on the execution standpoint so you can focus on things like creativity or developing new ideas for your company. The net value goes way up from the contribution side and then I think to solve the long term problem of of this county workers shortage or people shortage there's just a lot of highly talented people that are kind of stuck in monotonous jobs that are necessary for the business but do provide low value that could be retrained or up levels. What would say two all kinds of jobs. We haven't thought about one example that comes to mind to me that I see in real time right now customer service So when you call the 1-800 I need help. The old way was it's a tuna phone tree stall you for a long time to get lost then you get someone on the phone and they want you in and off as fast as possible and there was no attention to building a conversation or poor relationship, it's just one and done into the next person and even worse it's like one and done and then an Upsell or cross sell. So it was very um jarring, you know it's like call because you're upset, it takes an hour to talk to a person. They barely fix your problem. They do fix it and then the next thing is I want to sell you something so it's just not a good thing and so we've seen companies have said well what if instead immediately when you call someone picks up the phone And they have permission to talk to you for 10 minutes or an hour. It's completely open for discussion. Everything's automated. So your hands are on a keyboard, you're not looking at spring, you're just talking with someone and being present. And you can be fully empathetic to the, you know what the issue is. And we found that comes have done this have much higher retention of customers. They have a much higher spend their average spend revenue per customer goes way up. They're longer customers, they prefer more of their friends and when they do the surveys, what they find is that they feel a connection to the company that they really care. You know, a lot of people call customer service. We found, I wish I had more stats on this and I apologize, but not a lot of people call not because there's a problem because they really just want to talk to somebody. And so a lot of customer service agents couldn't do that because they were you quoted and all that stuff. So that's one really...

...specific example or I see repurposing kind of the human element and get rid of all of the kind of obnoxious monotonous work. But I can see this with creativity. Writing content development. This is a lot of stuff where people could contribute. But unfortunately their jobs prohibit them from being in that capacity. Right. Well, it's interesting. You mentioned writing because I just read an article that the gosh was at the Washington post or one of the, one of the larger papers is experimenting with robotic, you know, basically automated writing for real estate stories. Which that makes sense. There's a bit of a formula. You know, you mentioned the, you know, the square footage, the bedrooms, the bathrooms, what are the updates, what all of those things? It makes sense. But you know, Yeah, as as a journalist, you're like, oh gosh, you know, is this podcast going to be hosted by a robot? Now, I can see the kind of the wheels spinning there and and that conversation that people might have with you kind of enquiring like is this really possible? I do think from like content creation and if I need to research or find something and it reads like an encyclopedia or a Wikipedia article or calls a very kind of rigid construct, then yeah, that will work. But I will say people and if anything the last two years has taught us is that we do value our relationships and we do value independence and creativity and authentic and authenticity looking for. And I will say robots can do a lot of things. But I don't see in the near future where they can replicate that true intimate conversation that we have with people. And I do think businesses are starting to acknowledge that they need to go back to the relationship side, develop strong interactions and experiences with their customers and I don't see the automatic you know the journalism side I see it legal is actually the same way to look at contracts. It's all it's very you know form its formulas. I mean for very especially with contract law, very strict things and it doesn't vary all that much but you're not going to see a robot argue a criminal case in front of a judge. So yeah I do I do think I personally believe that strongly that we do need to invest more people to people connections both in business and personally and I think the robots in my humble opinion do elevate that and give that possibility versus this idea where I I mean I have to listen to some music but have to put together like 10 reports before the end of the day. You know if I'm contributing all that much to the business or my clients outside of just being a glorified data collector, that makes sense. The automation to be able to handle the tasks that are you know kind of wrote or monotonous uh to be able to focus on the on the the tasks that do require thought and talent and creativity. Absolutely. Also when we look at the opportunities that are there for resellers and and how they you know resellers can approach their customers with this idea of automation, can you tell us how angry micro works with UI path and I guess what some of those opportunities are? Yeah, this is my passion. So you know, this is the thing I spent almost all my waking hours thinking about. So I'll tell you how we got with ingram Micro and how this business relationship kind of started over the last five years. Ui Path has had exponential growth. Um the whole industry has so I don't want to just call up your ipad but this is not only an emerging space, but one of the fastest growing spaces and entry to a new market that I've ever seen. And the...

...numbers and growth are just phenomenal and because of that, you know, we have more demand from customers than we could get to. And so part of our big scale out and kind of approach or strategy to serve all of our customers is to work with partners. So now that's our new problem. Now we have all these partners that want to work with this and we don't have enough people even to serve all those partners. And so that's when we look to ingram Micro to say, hey we love it if you came in as a partner of ours and help us build out these automation practices with these thousands of partners that want to work with us and that's how our relationship and that's the value that ingram Micro working with the spring together from here. It's it's really unknown territory so be as open about that as possible because what we are seeing right in front of us is an intersection between technology and business. And I've never quite seen it like this historically. When you work with technology was very narrow. It's going by data centers or cloud or whatever it is for a very specific application. It's very contain it specific. Our product is usually sponsored by a CFO or CEO or in a key executive and they're asking our partners to bring in subject matter expertise business analyst bring in a ton of experience and help them optimize a business solution. But they need to use technology to get there. And so what we really have leaned on ingram micro is to help qualify the right partners to fit into that deliver on the intersection. Help provide education about this industry and the technology and where it's going and what's important and then help what we call enable or activate. So provide resources. Talk tracks battle cards, scripts, things that will help them become familiar with this industry and the different personas that speak to and then of course what does a good practice look like? And this is where Anger Micro can add a ton of values that help these partners make sure that the right people on staff at the right talk tracks the communications, the business development side. It's just starting. It's a massive pivot. It's not something that happens overnight. This is going to change the way people do business with their customers. It is touches all sides of the business. This is the only product I've ever seen where you'll have everyone from finance. Hr it all the bottom up kind of end users all affected by this one software. So it's it's it's just not it's not an easy pivot for a lot of our partners but within the macro we're gonna definitely solve that problem. Absolutely. Well, as we start to wrap up this episode, we always ask our guests the same final question and that's where do you see technology going in the next year? Oh, so that's a good question. I cannot predict the future. So I will ask trick that. I see the big thing I see with technology is accessibility. So what we've seen in my world over the years is that have and have nots of expertise and technical capabilities. So if you think about it in the old days, if you wanted to work on a mainframe or a database or other technology, you have to go to school, take some certs, tons of training and you would have a database admin or someone specific within a company that could only do that one thing and the average person didn't get access to that or contribute...

...to ideas and all this stuff with automation right now. You do need to have some technical skill sets and you do need to have some knowledge about automation and how systems interact with each other. I do see technology moving to a more of a no code or low code approach. We're just the average person. Anybody could have an idea about something to automate, jump into a program. Dragon drop some squares and circles and some lines and test it out and publish it. Automate different scenarios. So my big thing right now is what I see in the future. Technology is not more widgets features or even which all are coming anyway, but the ability for the average person to use this technology and provide some value for their business. That's a short term yet democratization. That's, that's exciting. It is and uh, I'm very excited about it. I think our partner should be really excited about this. I think the potential in front of us to help make a meaningful impact and and help help these customers move to the next wave of this technology is is very exciting and meaningful to me. So that's what I get really excited about. Fantastic. Well, so for listeners who want to find out more about, we talked about today, how can they reach out? That's a good question. They can always reach out to me. Um so we have our email address posted, I guess that would be the easiest um Phillip p H I L I P dot c l A Y at Ui Path dot com. You always go ui Path dot com. That's where most people start reach out ingram micro and your account executive who your primary contact is. And just on that, I mean the unscripted side of me once you know you should probably have use the hashtag DARPA, you know there's a time publications out there, some thought leaders out there via twitter and stuff but let's figure out yeah there's there's a lot out there definitely. Well as uh as we uh we do wrap up, I want to thank you Philip for for all the insight and uh a little bit of the let the mind wander the possibility of automation. Thanks so much for joining me. Thank you for having me, I appreciate it. And thank you listeners for tuning in and subscribing to B. Two B. Tech talk with ingram micro if you like this episode or have a question, please join the discussion on twitter with the hashtag B two B. Tech talk. Until next time I'm Shelby skirt talk. You've been listening to B. Two B. Tech talk with ingram micro. This episode was sponsored by the ingram micro one event. B two B. Tech talk is a joint production with Sweet fish Media and ingram Micro. To not miss an episode. Subscribe today on your favorite podcast platform mm.

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