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Courtesy of IRPA AI's Rohail Khan, below is a transcript of his speaking session on 'RPA 2.0 in a Post-Pandemic World' to Build a Thriving Enterprise that took place at RPA & Intelligent Automation Live Virtual Conference.
RPA 2.0 in a Post-Pandemic World
Introducing my next speak up now Rohail Khan, Rovio, hi, O'Brien or you're going to see and thank you for joining us. I'm Romeo is the current President of Digital Services and Solutions at the Institute of Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence where he's Goliath guiding global clients in their Strategies. And so they couldn't be a better person to really tie, although the entire day, if not top rated, as well prior to that, he has held a number of C level executive roles at Xerox huge associate.
Some Bank of America, he's been a true thought leader in the process automation space for over 20 years and has served up 1300 of the global Fortune 2000 across business services, digitalization, and transformation.
So please, really drew on the expertise and experience that Rovio is bringing to the event today.
So with that, I'm going to fight out, leave you in row who's capable hands.
Thanks, Ryan, I look forward to your presentation.
Thanks, Brian. Appreciate that, and look forward to, to kind of engage with everyone. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, depending on where you are in the world. So, appreciate that, and good sessions Thus far today, and hopefully what I'll talk about today will be a way to kind of bring some of the key components that a lot of my colleagues talked about earlier today. And kinda tie those components a little bit together. To kind of three areas that I'm gonna focus in on, as it says, in the title here is not only what the pandemic has done in terms of RPA, but what was happening in advance of that. And in particular, as it relates to ..., What does that done to change the buying and selling processes as well, and there's some very dramatic things that, that has caused.
And, and until we establish whatever that new normal is going to be, those changes are going to be part of our, our world, whether you're a client and a consumer of technology, and RPA and automation, or whether you're on the sell side, as well. So, without any further ado, let's let's kinda go to to the next step.
A little bit about the ... Institute of Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence. So we're conglomeration of North of 100,000 clients across The globe, in North America, Umea, Asia-Pac, Middle East, and Latin America. And what we focus in on is a series of capabilities that, not only help guide clients through their decision process, but also educate and help them understand where opportunities exist to continue to optimize kind of, where they need to focus in, on how to evaluate, and assess capabilities as well. So it's a broad range of capabilities that allow us to meet clients where they are.
We're technology agnostic.
Our focus is from a client perspective, how do we help drive the best execution, and then bring together not only solutions in terms of point solutions, but also platforms and ecosystems that are integrated into what the client is looking for overall?
And so let's jump in. I thought it'd be important to start with the current market realities that we're dealing with globally and these realities permeate, industries, permeate, verticals, and the permeate geographies, right? So the simple fact of the matter clients are confused. There's a lot of buzzwords in the marketplace. There's a lot of providers there seems to be new provider showing up every couple of weeks.
So, from a client perspective, the, the, the environment gets crowded, gets confusing and I'm bombarded with a lot of information and ones that my previous colleague, that just ended, talked about in terms of creating that confusion.
Next, automation is something that's been leveraged to drive efficiency for years. Right, I'm, I'm a process guy from 25 years ago and I've gone through the kind of the evolution of TQM and process re-engineering and Lean six Sigma. And then, you know, automation.
And the reality is, RPA is just the next set of tools that continues to allow business leaders, whether it's the CFO, Whether it's head of marketing head of sales, head of operations, or head of HR, or the CEO, broadly, bright, or even the board drive business optimization and business execution, right?
And so the challenge is, is we have a lot of organizations that are looking at bots and RPA as a very tactical or mechanical way to solve a specific need.
And the reality is, that's OK to start.
But there has to be a longer term vision in place. So it's not just about efficiency and cash flow and cost optimization. It's about business enablement. It's about employee satisfaction. It's about customer engagement, right? All of those things create kind of that, that universe of capabilities that are going to be critical for organizations to understand and to navigate.
Next, there's and one of my colleagues earlier today, talked about the fact that the first generation of bots were ones that were hard wired, right? Or they solved a very specific need. We have a large client and financial services. It was a Fortune, 50 company, right? And the reality is, five years ago, they were one of the early adopters in terms of building of bots They've deployed almost 300 bots in their compliance and regulatory environment. And then they jettisoned or redeployed, or eliminated almost one thousand FTEs.
Now, remember, what was happening: five years ago. We were in a different administration. Prior to the Trump administration. It was still the tail end of the Obama administration. We had a lot of regulations in terms of dodd frank. We had a lot of requirements and compliance and reporting requirements and bots were built in that environment.
Then we had a new administration in the US.
That thankfully is, is now over, but during the Trump Administration compliance and regulatory oversight was gutted So now you had an organization that built these bots in a very highly regulatory regime environment.
Now the bots had to start working where they were looking for 8 to 10 data points and only getting 2 to 3.
Well, what happened Exactly That you would expected, the Boat's failed because bots were hard wired. They were binary, either they work or they don't, They're looking for data, and if the data doesn't show up, then processes don't get execute.
And so there was a real challenge, and the reality is, a lot of our clients have understood that, you know, it's not just about building the bot, but the real value is in helping to maintain and, and kind of update what that bought capability is going to be.
Next, clients are looking for an end to end solution.
They started at a very tactical or kind of mechanical place, and then they started to realize, well, I need more, and then I need a little more. And let me look at this next adjacent service. Or this next adjacent process. And all of a sudden, you started to build an end to end capability, or the requirement existed for an end to end capability, not just a software solution.
And that's going to be really important, because it's too easy to assume that RPA is just about getting software, and I've done, and I'm off to the races. The reality is, nothing could be further from the truth.
And what ... has done is not only put an extra lens on the need to accelerate some of the impacts that automation can drive, like, cost containment, like cashflow preservation.
But it also changed the way that we're engaging, Whether you're on the buy side or the sell side, I will talk about that, as well.
So what is causing clients to struggle? Well, one of the biggest challenges that we've seen and we've been reviewing over the last 4 to 5 years, hundreds and almost thousands of opportunities. And it's, it's what I call failed experiments on the part of organizations that were quick to deploy quick to act but necessarily hadn't thought about the entire goal properly upfront. And I hate to be direct about it but that's really what we're seeing. Right?
So, why weren't they able to achieve the roi?
Well, first and foremost, some of the high high value transformational opportunities weren't even contemplated and they're not always obvious, right? What I think the gut reaction is to what needs to be automated, unfortunately, is rarely what actually needs to be automated.
And my colleague, earlier, today, they talked about it, right, it's not just about automating and making the bad things happen faster, it's understanding, do I actually even need to automate? Can I eliminate, can I eliminate redundancies? Can I make this process actually not even necessary? So, then in that case, I can reduce the universe of what actually needs to be automated?
Next, you gotta start with process optimization and assessment.
So, a lot of the conversations we've had earlier today in the presentations, anchored in on this critical, critical component, it's not a ready should aim environment.
You have to understand the process environment, in which you are going to deploy or potentially deploy automation opportunities.
Next, you have to understand, what is the ecosystem or the life cycle of the end to end processes. What happens upstream that affects the automation?
What happens downstream when the automation has been executed and information or data is passed, right? Where's it passed, how's it passed in which format as it passed? That ecosystem understanding is absolutely critical.
You have to understand not attacked the, the, the symptoms, but in fact the, the outcomes and the root causes, right? That requires a level of assessment and a level of insight.
And I can tell you one of the biggest challenges that we see when we come in and are asked by clients to help assess or re-assess why the initiatives have failed or have stagnated.
It's because they never started in the right place.
The process, the framework, was missing, right? And so it was already should aim because our board told us we need to automate Our CEO said, where's our automation plan and I was scrambling to put something in place.
Next, you've gotta be able to understand and and almost prioritize what is the vertical or horizontal process baseline and where do you see the highest impact opportunities.
It's not as simple as picking a process and then, oh, we'll figure it out and we'll figure it out as we go. Because you may set yourself down a path that's too hard to remediate or come back from.
And there's there's an expensive cost structure and an expensive implication to the success of subsequent automation opportunities. If you fail miserably the first time.
The organizational readiness and the organizational tolerance for another initiative becomes exponentially lower and lower to the point where it becomes a joke.
And that's going to be a problem.
Next, we've got to assign and understand what kind of benefits are measurable, right? It's not good enough to say, Hey, we automated 300 processes. So what, what was the impact? What was the outcome? What was the engagement to the customer or the stakeholder? What was the value on the P&L? Right? What did it do?
Was there a real outcome that was measurable, quantifiable, and realistic in terms of what it was expected to be?
Then as well, you gotta focus on what are the outcomes.
But when you're looking at outcomes, a lot of opportunity is also about minimizing risk.
We have a lot of clients that are in Europe and GDPR is a huge challenge. Now, we're seeing the same kind of requirements in terms of data privacy in California and New York in Illinois. Which is usually what happens. And then it spreads to the rest of the US.
The challenge is, it's not just about outcomes and efficiency, it's also about risk mitigation and risk protection, right.
Those are key.
So, when you're looking at it in the context of an automation strategy, if you're tactical, you're going to see just a limited upside or a limited impact.
But what you're going to miss is the transformational opportunity, you know, again, having been in this space for 23 plus years, The reality is, there's always been this promise of continuous process improvement.
Automation and RPA is the first opportunity to actually deliver on that promise, but it requires discipline. It requires focus and quires a framework approach to how to, how to, how to attack that problem.
And so when you think about it, you know, we've, we've probably done assessments north of almost a thousand client engagements over the last 4 to 5 years.
And what we've seen are challenges that, that have kind of allowed us to take a step back and create. What we've got is a proprietary kind of a framework. And I thought I'd share that process led framework RPA, isn't just about automation.
It's about understanding the process environment in which you, your employees, your customers, and your stakeholders have to operate.
So, how do you start, first and foremost, you need to develop an automation strategy.
It's not already, Shewed ain't. It's an odd I buy software, and I'm ready to go.
You have to understand, what are you trying to solve for, and where are you today.
And that's the next step.
What's the operational ecosystem in which this automation is going to be deployed, managed, and continuously updated and evolved?
Next, you have to just deploy whatever the discovery process tools are going to be, whether it's going to be at the server level, at the desktop level, or a combination, which is what we recommend.
And it's the, it's the salone, it says, It's the ..., it's the abbey's, it's a ton of tools that have a varying degree of capability that allow a user, a client to understand if I'm going to talk about order to cash or procure to pay, we'd like one of our clients did in the technology sector. They had an understanding that. They said, Oh, well, you know, we use our web applications, or Salesforce, or sap platforms 80 to 85% of our time is sitting in that environment. And when I sat across the table from the CFO, I said, are you sure about that? They said, absolutely, I said, fantastic. Well, let's, let's deploy our discovery bots for two weeks at a 10 days, before month end and seven days prior postma then and see exactly what happens.
And shockingly, here was the result.
8% of their time, coming up to month, end, close, and post, month end, was spent in web applications like Salesforce, sap.
82% of the time of their sales and account management folks was spent in Outlook, an Excel.
Let me say that again, 82% of their time in month end was spent in Outlook and Excel because they were doing contracts in Outlook and pricing models in Excel.
So, when I shared that with the CFO, she nearly fell off her chair.
So, had they pursued a strategy to automate sap and Salesforce linkages At Max, they would have generated 8% value and even then the wrong processes.
So, it would have been a complete and utter waste of time.
Our data capturing in terms of what processes were actually in flight, indicated that overwhelming amount of time were set in two systems, Outlook and Excel.
And that's where we needed to look first.
So, the Discovery bods tell you where the problems are, then you have to assess the processes that you've now captured.
An assessment means: What are the KPIs, what's the consistency, what kind of throughput volumes do you have? What kind of variations exist in that process ecosystem? And as a couple of my colleagues talked about earlier today, there are tremendous amount of variation. Organizations think they know, and they do things consistently.
As someone who has led three multi-billion dollar organizations in financial service business services and technology, I will tell you, they don't served serving over 1500 Fortune 2000 clients. They don't, whether it's HR, whether it's finance, whether it's supply chain, whether it's sales market.
You have to assess, where the ... variations are and this is where you can eliminate redundancies overlap. And kind of fringe cases that allow you create a consistent process environment.
Once you've done that, then you have the ability to target. Which one of these processes are ideally situated or targeted for automation.
It's not already shoot aim, it's ready, aim, aim, aim, shoot.
That's what we're talking about.
Now once you've got that you can then put these new processes in place and we've done it with me, with kinda mini jad sessions, with the process owners, with the organizations, with the sponsors of the efforts to help them understand, here's where you were.
Here's what we saw.
Here's the variations we've eliminated. Here's a target processes we think are the ideal ones for you based on our industry expertise and experiences. And now, let's deploy. This is a POC. This is a pilot. It runs for two months, three months, four months, whatever that duration is to allow you to take knowledge and data from your client or from your own or operations, and start to materially see it in operation and see the changes start to happen.
Once you've done that, you now have the ability to track, and realize that continuous improvement opportunity, process capture, as an example, is not a one-time thing.
In the engagements that we've helped clients put back on track, and we've led process kind of base lining, and then re assign it a re-evaluating's at least once every six months or once every four months.
That's the continuous improvement capability and the process Discovery tools, the ..., and Abby's and others that we've mentioned, right?
That's the way the, Now, I can re baseline the processes that I've now automated and assess the next generation of automation, or the next set of opportunities to look at, as well.
And so, when we think about it, a framework is critical. You have to know where you're going before you start your journey.
Otherwise, you'll be on the never-ending kind of path that will never realize the value or never realize the result. and it's the path that will never end.
Now the challenge is, you have to remember intelligent automation, as one of my colleagues point earlier, right? It's a, it's not a, it's not a tactical event. It's a journey.
It should never end, because innovations are going to continue.
Client expectations are going to change, Market, forces are going to change, your business is going to evolve.
And so, when you think about it, a series of processes are exactly what a what, if, what a business is built upon.
And what's more critical is the what you're trying to solve, because the what will inform the how, the how are software solutions, point solutions, capabilities, et cetera, the what is the impact to the stakeholder, the customer, or the employee, right?
Those are going to be the things to look at, So when you're making decisions, understand what the impact or outcome is going to be.
And, as we've seen the journey, right, it started with IT.
Then it started to focus on heavy transactional environments, like Finance and Accounting, APA, our, you know, payroll, recruitment, sourcing, right, in terms of customer operations, client, contact centers, collection centers, et cetera, claims adjudication. Right?
Then, we started to get a little bit more intelligent about, well, what are the core kind of business operations that we want to focus in on? It's now about campaign and customer management. It's about sales, engagement, it's about customer retention, Right.
And we're evolving to now focusing on mitigating high risk issues and driving impact and outcome.
And that's the journey that organizations aren't now for our clients, right?
This is a continuum.
We've seen clients that are at the front end dipping their toe into automation and say, Look, we gotta start with this one little area, no problem.
We've seen other organizations that are halfway up, this, this kind of the trajectory and saying, Look, we're kind of second generation automation. We started to understand some of the failures. And now, we've put some of those radiations in place, and we think we're on the right track. Fantastic.
There's others that are leading.
And they're the ones that are starting to look at impact outcome and results.
And starting to deploy that continuous improvement model.
If I look across our clients, I would say that, you know, that that far tip of that, you know, end is probably less than three to 4% of our clients overall. And that might be a little high.
We're probably 30 to 40% of our clients that are somewhere mid-stream in terms of where we are, but the bulk, probably 60 to 65% of our clients are still in the first third, first third of this journey, right?
And so the journey is a long term opportunity.
How you execute it, how you think about it, is going to determine, not only your level of success, But the level of continued buy in that your organization is going to have, and the level of executive support that you're going to garner, in terms of additional budgets, additional costs, et cetera.
So let's take a take a look and say, how has coven changed? You know, in this pandemic world, where we're in, How has that changed? The environment in which we're currently operating it, right?
There's been a material impact, right?
Now, the trends that we're seeing in the marketplace, right, clearly, you know, the bulk of our clients this time last year coming into 2020, the bulk of our clients were focused on market expansion, global growth, M&A activity, right? Synergy realization for ... just completed the first you know, 6 to 18 months prior, right?
That all of a sudden the world changed.
We literally shut the world down in 4.5 weeks, right?
Coburn had the impact of shutting the world down faster than World War II.
Think about that when you when when you contemplate, how much of dramatic change and the speed with which everything changed across the globe.
Clients immediately went from growth, to, I need to save money, it's cost reduction. And I need to preserve cash.
Because initially, it was thought, well, coping is going to be a couple of weeks, Maybe a month. we'll kinda navigate, it will get through it, and then we'll get back to normal.
Well, then, the stark reality, right?
Pipelines were were Deferred.
A lot of the RFP efforts that we were leading completely differ because organizations and leaders started to realize, Oh, this isn't a couple of weeks anymore.
It's a couple of months or more.
In fact, a year later, we're still in the same problem. Right. The challenge still exists.
Now we're seeing renewal rates, for a lot of RFPs were actually taking up last year because organizations decided, why can't re up? I can't go for a full-blown RFP because I can't do site visits, I can't deploy, and I can't afford a large implementation when we're reducing costs and everybody's virtual remote.
So let's re up. Let's do another year, let's kind of auto renew for another year or two years and I'll just get over that hump and get me to 20 22. So in our portfolio, we saw clients that were renewing with incumbents at a higher level than we had seen in prior 2018, 2019.
What we saw was a drop off of brand new client acquisitions, a little bit relative to the energy that we had seen coming into the year.
Next? We saw this material shift to virtual interaction, right?
And, you know, I've coach many sales organizations that, Some of the largest organizations in the Fortune 2000, and it's, it's, it's, it's a stark change from where they were operating before before I could show up. But, my client site, you know? I kind of, in my own teams, that you would edit Xerox, we used to call it that your on-site teams had Velcro suits.
They'd walk down the hall and revenue would stick to them, Right? Because they were there, they could see, they were called on right proximity, drove opportunity.
Well, now that proximity is virtual, it doesn't exist, and for many clients who are still trying to figure out, do they come back to a full, on-site model? Which many of our clients are not. It's going to be some kind of a hybrid.
It means your ability to engage is now different.
It's almost like we're back to the nineties, where I gotta get you with voicemail and e-mail.
So there's a way to do that more effectively, and we're helping our clients do that.
But the challenge is, you're the CSOs who are your targets, aren't just the CIO, one of the important things to remember here, and this is for a lot of the coaching that we've given to the provider side of this, this segment.
You're not just selling to the CIO, you're not just selling to the CTO, You're selling to the head of marketing, the head of sales, the head of operations, the head of HR, the head of finance, that had a supply chain, the head of risk.
And when you're talking to those CSOs, you're not talking the technology language, because they don't care and they don't understand.
What you're talking about.
is impact an outcome. How are you going to make their lives better? How are you going to make their lives less risky? How are you going to drive better impact to their customers and stakeholders?
And so when you think about that, you've got to also take a step back and say, what are the other external factors that are impacting my client organizations today?
Is it global, trade wars, is it global supply chain issues that have happened, right? Is it taxes and terrorist? Is it global commodity pricing? What's happening in terms of recessions across the globe? What's happening in terms of the availability of computer chips? Right? We have a lot of clients in the automotive sector who are now ramping down production. Why? Because you just can't find computer chips.
Right, So there's a lot of external factors that if you're on the sales side and selling into clients, you have to understand you're not selling product and price anymore.
You're selling impact, risk mitigation and outcomes, and that's extremely critical.
And if you're on the buy side, you're not just buying product features because a lot of, quite honestly, a lot of the capabilities are somewhat common. Some are a little better, some are a little worse.
But generally speaking, for the bulk of the marketplace, that's still in early stages of what they need, I don't need a Ferrari as it relates to RPA. I need a solid Chevy. Give me a solid volkswagon, right? And it'll do a lot of what I needed to do to get me started.
That's not about feature functionality. It's about fit. It's about impact.
It's about outcomes, and that's critical.
So next, what is CSOs? And I'm not talking the technology by your hair.
I'm talking about the real business owner, The real person who owns the budget.
Remember, 99 times out of 100, IT doesn't build the budget from scratch.
The CIO, at the end of the end of the year, when they're doing budgeting, he says, Great.
Tell me what you guys need. The Head of Marketing, Head of Sales, Head of Ops, head of HR, head of Finance, They're the ones that build the budget, and then a portion of that budget is promulgated to the CIO.
That's the way in most organizations around the world, it works.
So the reality is you have to understand the constituency, which is a technology buyer.
They're a heavy influencer and can derail the process but you have to be able to get into the head and the heart and the minds of the real business buyer.
What are they thinking about?
They're thinking about, well, what am I clients and, and, and how do I approach sales differently.
If I'm selling product and features and price, I'm gonna sound like everybody else. I'm gonna look like everybody else.
And effectively, it's a beauty contest that I may or may not win.
And I may or may not win, depending, if I was the incumbent, and I help construct the RFP, or the RFI, in which case, my, my opportunity is much higher.
But if I wasn't, the incumbent, my opportunity to win is somewhere between, you know, very small and nil, right? Because the reality is, whoever was there, whoever built the expectation may have precluded my capability, or stream toward their capability. So it's not about just kind of the product and price capability or feature capability.
It's about uncovering an approach that allows you to tweak the curiosity of your target buyer.
You've got to understand that if you push product, you're doomed to be relegated to the stockpile of providers who are differentiated.
You're a tactical vendor.
You're solving a tactical problem.
And your chances of winning are are pretty small.
What you've got to focus on is not looking at the transactional needs.
But you've gotta look at outcomes, right? For the longest time. We've, you've heard it all, right. Whether you're on the buy side, or the sell side, you've got to sell value.
Well, it's a lot easier said than done. And in the world of RPA, there's a pathway to understand what that value is. Its risk mitigation, its growth, its impact, its engagement, its revenue, its retention rate.
But you have to be specific.
And that's where the use cases that you have as a provider or as a client, depending on your lens, is going to be really critical. I want to partner with organizations that have done it before. But the done it isn't just they deployed RPA.
I could care less about that. I want organizations that have not only deployed RPA, which is the mechanical stuff that everybody can do.
In some degree, I want people who've generated roi.
That's aligned to what I need, cost reduction, cost optimization, business intelligence, right? Client retention, revenue, growth.
Those are that the I want specificity. I want alignment, I want reference ability. That's what I'm looking for.
Right? So if you're on the sales or account management side of this equation, you got to understand to do a lot more research than you've probably done before.
That's looking at annual reports. That's looking at earnings call transcripts. That's looking at presentation material that's looking at Gardner Reports, or IDC reports or ors reports. It's looking at what's happening in the ecosystem. Then it's looking at your client. Look in their top 2 or 3 competitors. What are they doing?
How are they evolving, right, to sit across from a CFO, at a Fortune 50 company, and say, Look, you know, mister CFO or mister CFO, I'm working with your top three competitors, and here's what we're generating for them. Now, I'm not disclosing things that are proprietary or covered under NDA, but I'm demonstrating I've actually executed the exact same problems you need to be thinking about. And oh, by the way, maybe you are not thinking about those, but you should. Because this is what your competitors are doing.
That's how you have to come in and engage with them. Not, Hey, look at my products, Look at my features! Aren't they great?
Because a CFO is not going to care.
They're going to zone out in the first NaN if you start talking technology.
How do you articulate risk and business impact?
That's that's the holy grail, because if you catch me in an elevator and I'm the CXO, and you start talking technology, I'll look at my cell phone. I'll press the button. I can't get out of that elevator fast enough.
But on the other hand, if you say, Hey, mister Kahn, you know, I looked at your, I read your annual report and you said something really interesting. It was all about customer retention. I know you guys are talking about data strategies.
We've done this for three other consumer organizations where we've helped build buyer sentiment models.
I'd love to talk to you for 20 minutes and talk to you about what we think we can do for you and how automation can help drive that.
Now, what you've done is you've tweaked my curiosity. You've made it relevant to me.
You've made it easy to understand and engage.
Now, ask me a couple of questions. That's the final piece. And then asked me to connect, asked me for a follow-up.
That's the best use of NaN in an elevator, or in a lunch line, or on a Zoom call.
Because you've got me to engage and lean in to what the opportunity could actually be.
So when you think about it, there's there's a pathway and a framework that we've developed, as well. That's critical, whether you're on the buy side, or whether you're on the sell side, and it all starts with the same thing.
Understand the environment that is reshaping your client.
Or if you're the client, understand the environment that is reshaping how you're going to be measured as a CXO. What does that mean?
That means, what's happening, What are the external factors that are beyond your control, but yet, you're subject to some or all of those impacts, right?
There's very few organizations around the world that were impacted in terms of their supply chain, just due to covert alone.
And they thought they were, they had all of the protections in place and then realized, Oh my God, we're not ready at all.
Business resumption plans, where everybody thought, oh, they're tornado hits my data center, I'm out for for four days. I'll be fine.
All of a sudden realized, I need 100% remote virtual environments. Oh my God! Oh, I wasn't ready for that.
Those are the challenges you as a buyer or a seller need to understand, because this frames the opportunity set to start.
Once you've done that, now look at what are the internal initiatives that are critical. What were my priorities, right?
Those priorities cost management, M&A Synergy realization, digital transformation, right, and others that I've listed here.
The problem, though, was those initiatives, and we saw this this time last year.
No, I don't think any of our clients had coven, or Pandemic Response, 100% Virtual interaction and an employee.
You know, positioning as their top two priorities, They probably weren't even the top hundred.
So the reality is, once you've understood the priorities and how they're being reshaped, you now have the ability to understand what's your strategy?
What's the goal that you laid out? What's your 2 to 3 to 4 year plan or five year plan? If it's a little longer?
Understand that vision and strategy. And if you're the buyer or the seller, you need to be aware of that, right?
I want to be the market share leader. I want to drive cash flow. I want to extend and expand to 20 different different countries. I want to drive customer sat from 80% to industry, leading 95%, right?
Whatever that looks like, that these three components are critical, because they form the buying vision or the celling vision, right?
This is what's so critical.
Once you've done that, you understand, how does this solution start to get traction, right?
Is it about impact?
Is it about risk mitigation?
Is it about an outcome set of results, right?
And once you've kind of framed this storyline, and it's really a story, you're leading your client to a solution. Or if you're the client, you're outlining the framework of what you think the solution needs to encompass.
And then the last piece is around, give me the use cases.
Tell me where you've done it before, or if I'm a provider, let me demonstrate to you weird how I've done it before, right?
And this becomes absolutely critical because this is the anchor. This is the way to prove that I'm not making it up, that I've got best practices that I've got a playbook.
That helps me understand how I can execute with you and how I can demonstrate that when you tie your wagon to me, if I'm a supplier or provider, that you're going to be successful.
And so, bringing it all together, what's changed over the last 2 to 3 years?
Pre covert, post Covert and ultimately, when we get to whatever, that new sense of normal is going to be, like, there's a lot of things that are converging data, data science, RPA, machine learning, you know, speed, right. Business enablement, right. It's all of these things coming together. Well, what were, what were the ways we engage before? It was about complexity, it was about feature functionality, right? It was about, Well, I got a little bit of usability here. But, you know, let me just get the solution in place, and people will navigate and figure it out. Right. It's reactive in nature.
Well, we've shifted pretty dramatically. Right?
Now, it's not about reaction, it's about proactive intervention, right. It's not about call disposition in a call center, anymore. It's about, eliminate the need for the call, altogether, right?
Give me intelligence, that drives that, right? It's business impact Through engagement.
Right? Time, right, person, right?
Event, right, experience, right, Right. Another way to say that as anytime, anywhere, any device, any transaction, right? I, as the stakeholder, consumer, or client customer. It's my decision to engage how and when I choose to.
and on what set of transactions or platforms, you as a provider, have to make all of those together available, right? And that's the focus of, now this whole focus of omnichannel integration that we're starting to see, right?
Contextual, contextualization makes a difference, right? Don't just give me 900 choices, make it intelligent, specific, and relevant to me.
And so with that, let me kind of bring, bring Brian back on and see if there's any questions. A lot of information that we, we covered here today, but happy to answer any questions that that we may have.
What a fantastic.
Bringing everything together presentation. Really cool, touched on all the points that were covered during the day, and provided context in where we were, what the journey of 19 has forced, in terms of evolution and adaption, and we were unlikely to go.
So, couldn't ask as a collector of events, content, putting all that together, for a better rounding up session. So thank you very much for that. So folks, if you have any questions, which you want to add in during the next two minutes or so, let me know, now's the time to get them in.
So, if I may, just sort of, I'm sort of building up from where we started.
one of the things, the, we've, we've sort of looked at, and you mentioned, touched on briefly during your presentation.
What are some of the sort of major kind of areas of the, or indeed pitfalls, cause clients to stumble when they're trying to kind of two point RPA solutions? Can we tease that out a little bit more police? Now, that's a great question. And, in fact, some of my colleagues earlier today kind of highlighted a couple of those. In particular, right, that, you know, I would say there's probably four pitfalls that we see predominantly. And there's, there's probably more than that, but these four are ones that we see consistently across A lot of the, what I call a failed experiment assessments that we look at when clients call us.
And I'd say, first and foremost, it's, it's being very eager to secure an RPA software solution without really understanding what you're actually driving, trying to even solve for, right. I think back to a client of mine where they said, look, we got a client coming in. They said, We need to spend this eight point two million on this software. Another provider came in and said it was six point two million on this software. What's your, what do you think we need to do?
I said, well, before I tell you software and costs, do you even know what you're solving for?
And as we started to kind of peel that onion, the CFO realized she goes, well, why didn't other people ask these kinds of questions? I said, well, you're gonna have to ask them, because the reality is, you even think, do you even know for sure you need full-blown automation? Yet? You're not even ready to do that, right. That was clear.
Right. So, that's, that's, first and foremost, It's not a shoot, ready, aim kind of, environment that, that's a recipe for failure almost, 100% of the time, unless you're really lucky, Right? And, it's better to be smart that lucky.
Number two is not grounding their efforts on any kind of mature process base lining or even understanding. Right?
Again, you can't solve what you don't understand, and you can't deliver what you don't measure. Right?
Those are, those are truisms that go back, 30 plus years. Right?
And, again, if I'm going to apply automation, I need to be sure that the areas that I'm going to impact, in fact, aren't redundant are, you know, extraneous to the actual process value, that it, that, that's involved, right?
That's number two. Number three.
Looking to apply automation without contemplating their customer's perspective. Whether that's an internal customer or an external customer. A great example of that, You know, I met with a, one of the largest regional banks in the US. And they had applied automation about 3.5 years ago. And we were called in to do the assessment.
And they said, you know, the CEO said, you know, this thing just isn't working, I said, well, tell me about what you guys did. Well, you know, we applied automation to mortgage loan payoffs.
And so, again, having run the Internal Service company, Bank of America, I'm very familiar with that environment and that ecosystem. When I was really intrigued, I said, well, why do you get? Why did you guys pick mortgage loan payoffs?
I said, Because if it were me, I would never automate an event where my customer had a financial windfall. And they don't talk to anybody.
In fact, I want them to talk to 20 people because I'd want to redeploy the financial windfall They just had from paying off their mortgage.
And the COO kinda leaned back in his chair and he said, Oh my God, right. I said, Well, who picked that process? He goes, Well, our internal team said, Well, no kidding.
Because for this regional bank, that's a combination of about 14 acquisitions, trying to do a mortgage loan pay off across their backend kind of technical systems that are really ugly and don't communicate is a pain in the backside.
So their employees made it easier for themselves.
But didn't think at all about the client or the P&L.
So you got to understand that part of it, at the end of the day, the value of RPA is driving business outcomes and impact through the lens of the customer and potentially the P&L of the organization.
Not just about making my life as a loan payoff specialist easier in that example, right?
And then lastly, I'd say, the fourth one we're seeing is, clients don't understand the RPA is, it's really part of an ecosystem, right.
You can't just have software.
It's a piece of the puzzle.
And in fact, the smallest piece of the puzzle process, it's like. it's like trying to build a railroad across the country and thinking you've got a railcar and you're ready to go.
You need the tracks. You need the path, you need the directions in terms of managing the rail car traffic, right? Then you need a ton of railroad cars and engines.
It's a complex ecosystem. And a single railcar isn't enough to make you ready to take that on.
So those are probably the top four.
Fantastic Graham Hill on, that dovetails nicely into a question that has, by the way, she said Excellent presentation, which I concur entirely.
Um, Which area of the business? Do you normally see most resistors to technology?
Especially when it kind of puts those shoes. I have an opinion on this. And normally it's wherever individuals' see the technology potentially impacting on the job, so that that's resistant ones. But is there, is there a rule of thumb where RPA is concerned that we should be looking for?
Well, it's interesting, I love that question by Anna, right? The reality is, I talk about this in terms of who you're actually selling to. Who's the real buyer. A lot of providers.
And, a lot of clients think it's their IT team, and I will tell you that it's not right? And that, to your containers, question is really one of the biggest roadblock groups that we see, because what's happening, right? As the CIO or CTO, I spent 10, 15, 20 years building my organization, right, and now I know deference to any of the CIOs or CTOs that may be on the session. But the reality is, most of them are protecting their infrastructure, their budgets, their people, their organizations. Right? Automation creates churn. It simplifies it. And one level allows the business to not have to engage as deeply with IT.
Or maybe even at all, with the technology teams. Right?
And now, there's always a role for IT. Don't get me wrong. Right, And I'm a, I'm a technologist from 25 years ago, as well.
So, the reality is, they have to be involved, But, the opportunity is one where they cannot be afraid of what's happening and that's why understanding systems, understanding process, understanding measurements, become so critical. Because a lot of that knowledge is going to be facilitated or housed in the IT, as well as the business functions collaborating together.
So, when you're either selling to organizations, yeah, That's the reason. you have to have both.
The real business owner who owns a budget and the enabler, which is always IT. They have to be sitting at the table with you, because it could potentially be a confrontational kind of situation. And in most times, and unfortunately, I've seen this. having served a big chunk of the Fortune 2000, I'm usually the one that has a decoder ring that's that's connecting both parts of the internal organization because they don't talk and communicate well, right? And it's my teams in my organization that's playing kind of the UN, in terms of facilitating those conversations, right. So, there's a method, and A for a framework helps. Because if you can talk framework, and impact, and outcome, you eliminate a lot of the biases. Because it's not about them, specifically, or their job or their people. It's about the value you can generate.
And if you play that properly, then they can help understand what that change is going to entail for the organization as a whole.
Great insight there. Right now, Based on your experience, I would say that a tool, I think, to, from speaking globally, we find a lot of similar responses.
one, if I was, we're almost out of time, but Joseph's got a very pertinent one which I think will bring us to a nice, kind of de new mode for the day.
And you may not want to give all the answers, but just one around this.
And the reality is that a lot of companies are resistant to looking at certain parts of their businesses, especially when it comes to the customers. For whatever reason, we want, our customers are the lifeblood of every business, but some companies take longer to realize that, all, it takes, I'm going to jump in. But how do you persuade companies to review their RPA processes that are, that might be neglecting the customer requirements, and creating the sweat satisfaction, without necessarily poking the horn?
Is this in a way that creates a negative response?
Yeah, so that's, that's, that's a great question. But it's also a, it's a kind of a delicate balancing act, right? You know. When, when, when we're called in.
Whether it's a failed set of experiments.
Or the first opportunity to really engage from an RPA perspective, the best way that we've always engaged, and it's really around the process that we've defined, in terms of our RPA framework.
You have to look at the customer's stakeholder lens into the organization. It's not about the provider. It's not even about the client.
It's about who they serve in terms of their B2C or B2B environment, right, or, and so there's really three ways to think about that, kind of focus. There's the external stakeholder or customer, right, and that could include regulators compliance, and paying customers and the, like.
It's the internal organizational employees, right. That's the second lens.
And then, ultimately, it's the results.
You have to deliver it to the marketplace, right, in that sequence, because if you do the first thing right and focus on customers and drive that focus, you'll drive better opportunities for your employees and better results organizationally, Right? That will play through.
But if you put yourself first and make your own kind of navel gazing the priority, you lose sight of what you're doing and who you're doing it for both your internal employees and the customers and stakeholders. So, we've always engaged with the clients to say, look, let's talk about how we can engage differently.
And let's talk about the customer or stakeholder lens back into you as an organization that forces them to think differently about how they want to contemplate their opportunities going forward.
And which priorities are these are key to target.
Fantastic. Well, thank you so much. I really enjoyed this whole process. Look forward to continuing the discussion on social media and catching up into course. Please enjoy the rest of your day, and please keep safe and well.
Thanks, Brian. Thanks, everyone, Love to connect, and all the best stay safe, say well.
Thank you, Ladies and gentlemen, that brings, to an end, the opening day at RPA and AI live, I hope that you have enjoyed it as much as I have. And that, I've been able to gain some valuable insights as to what you should be doing, looking at some of the pitfalls, the journey that RPA has undertaken during, what has been a very challenging period for everyone. Tomorrow, we kick off at 9 0 PM, sorry, nine AM Eastern Time again.
We start with a really insightful session being delivered by Matthew Dodgson from Blueprint looking at RPI how to unlock it, how to migrate bots from one opioid, quiet room to another to drive increased business value, which, if you have a legacy issue, or just, I mean, I, or others around that issue, might be very pertinent to that. We then kick in at 10 o'clock with Huawei giving appreciation, bozos gig to doing a presentation around managing the process. Which is, based on what we've heard discussed today. A very appropriate around putting humans back in the loop.
We then go on to don't Cook, fantastic leader and legend in this space looking at rapidly transforming your enterprise through RPA and intelligent automation for virtual post CV economy. And then finally, we finish with automation of Bosch scaling to a practitioner's view from Patrick ..., who's the global operations co-ordinator for quality and business solutions. So, a fantastic day ahead of us, Thank you so much for all your input, and for staying with us today. Very much appreciated. Please catch up on social media. Continue to discussions. Look forward to seeing you all tomorrow, Take care, keepsake be well.
Mr. Khan is a seasoned senior executive with over 23 years of C-Level experience across multi-sector Fortune 2000 and start-up companies. His industry expertise lies within Healthcare Administration, Financial Services, and BPO Services where his areas of expertise include strategy, operations & administration, RPA/automation, business transformation, technology innovation, process-led reengineering, product development and building global organizations at scale. He has consistently exceeded results throughout his executive career and has established new service delivery models that remain in operation 15+ years later.
Mr. Khan is currently President of IRPA’s Digital Solutions Exchange guiding IRPA’s 100,000+ global members establish strategy, drive business transformation through process-led automation and digital business transformation. He is a Board Advisor to i-Tuple, a firm engaged by Private Equity, Hedge Funds and Family Offices to assess target companies across people, process and technology and validate their investment thesis. He also sits on the Board of Payssurance, a healthcare start-up. Prior to that, he was Founder and CEO of Skills International - a not-for-profit firm focused on global talent migration and immigration to Canada. Mr. Khan was a member of Immigration Round Table co-sponsored by the Conference Board of Canada and the Federal Government of Canada. He has been instrumental in helping public companies in Canada to address critical skill gaps.
Prior to this role, he was Group President, of Xerox’s $1.7B Healthcare Administration and Human Capital Management Solutions. He managed 1300+ healthcare BPO contracts with Fortune 2000 and SMB clients including delivery, automation and service delivery to their employees. He managed a global organization of Sales, Strategy, IT Services, Delivery Operations, Product Management and Customer Service of 11,300+ professionals across 23 countries. He was at the forefront of defining health wellness solutions for customers.
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