Automation Anywhere Imagine: Perspective on RPA Going Forward

  • June 14, 2020
  • Scott
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whatever it is you focus on, make sure it is a really important problem that people will notice when you fix it.  Pick something that matters… your organization has a very scarce resource that isn’t money, or time, or people: it is focus.  And for most large enterprises, it is the most scarce resource of all.

Automation Anywhere just held their Imagine event last week, virtually, optimized around 3 different rotations for Europe, the USA, and Asia.  Great production value on the talks from Automation Anywhere keynote speakers, and also including a large number of virtually recorded panels and sessions of clients and partners.

All told, the world of Robotic Process Automation – emulating how a person interacts with software in order to get repetitive tasks done more quickly – is good:  business is growing, clients are getting return on their investment, and despite (or because of) the disruption of a global pandemic, adoption is only increasing.

Cue Phil Fersht, the CEO and Chief Analyst of Horses for Sources (HFS) Research, the provocateur analyst of this industry segment.  He introduced his session with Mario Maffie of Mars, with a quick intro of RPA – with the publication of their first paper on “Robotic Automation” in 2012, fast forwarding to about a year ago in 2019, when they penned the paper “RPA Died. Get over it. Now focus on designing processes that deliver superlative experiences.”  As Phil put it in the panel (paraphrased): “we needed a reality-check to make RPA more real” – and to have a more rigorous automation strategy.

Phil kicked off with a quick state of the union.  We’re in perhaps the most disruptive period in business in our lifetimes, a disruption that will likely be with us for 12-18 months. From a business perspective, automation is becoming even more important. Phil argues that for companies that survive, they are the ones most likely to be automation natives.

Automation is the second highest priority after cybersecurity, according to HFS:

And a closely related topic, Artificial Intelligence, isn’t far behind.

Mr. Maffie, the Corporate CIO for Mars, joined the discussion, and really impressed me with his mastery of the interview.  He represented both the perspective of RPA, of automation more generally, and of IT.  But he represented Mars, the business, and the culture and brand with equal skill.  As a consulting firm, these are the kind of people you want to work for.  Mr. Maffie is responsible for all the systems that support the business, but also for advanced and emerging technologies like automation, data science, and AI. When asked if automation being the second biggest area of investment reflected Mars’ priorities, he affirmed that it resonated with him. Part of it due to their maturity, and part of it is that the crisis is surfacing things that don’t need to be done manually.  It feels like things that were priorities further out are being brought forward, closer in.

A key point that Mr. Maffie hit hard to make sure you’re organization isn’t getting stagnant:  whatever it is you focus on, make sure it is a really important problem that people will notice when you fix it.  Pick something that matters.  I concur: your organization has a very scarce resource that isn’t money, or time, or people: it is focus.  And for most large enterprises, it is the most scarce resource of all.

I thought this panel was the best of the conference, thanks to two great personalities, with deep knowledge of the space and of automation’s implications for business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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