Ankur Kothari, Co-founder and Chief Revenue officer, Automation Anywhere, in an interview with Techseen, discusses how a digital workforce and human–robot partnerships that can help businesses scale efficiently and create a culture of automation.
Techseen: When it comes to automation, which are the key areas in enterprises that need urgent attention in terms of automation?
Kothari: With the advent of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), anything that can be automated will be automated. Rules-based, repetitive tasks that are generally part of a defined business process, and which don’t require human decision making, are the most commonly automated or can be performed best with the help of automation.
Techseen: According to a Forrester report, 10 million jobs will be lost as a direct result of the robotic revolution by 2027. Is the rise of robots a direct threat to the future job scenario globally?
Kothari: The real promise of automation can only be realized when bots and humans work side-by-side. Bots do the repetitive, mundane, task-based work liberating human workers to do what they do best – using their intellect, creativity and talent.
In a January 2017 report by management consultant McKinsey, they found that less than 5% of jobs can be completely replaced by technology. There has never been a time when technology has entirely eliminated jobs. New technologies have created a need for different work skills required for new kinds of jobs. We have witnessed this in the past and this dynamic of innovation will continue in the future. Our customers tell us that new roles for human workers are indeed being created and filled by existing workers who are trained for these new roles.
Techseen: According to you, which business verticals are seeing more traction on automation?
Kothari: We have customers across many sectors, with financial services, manufacturing and healthcare ramping their deployments the fastest.
Techseen: IoT is the next big thing, and almost every organization is thinking or doing something around it. How do you see this trend?
Kothari: Device-to-device connection will necessitate even more business processes, which will need to be automated. The number of business processes will increase exponentially.
Techseen: Last month, Automation Anywhere announced a partnership with KPMG UK to expand service delivery to European-based enterprises. Why did you choose KPMG UK over other players (like Deloitte) in the region? How has the progress been so far?
Kothari: Based on success working with KMPG in other regions, it made sense to expand our relationship to Europe. We are in the process of finalizing agreements with the other large advisories in Europe as well.
Automation Anywhere and KPMG already have two large customers in the UK—one in retail and the other in healthcare—and we’re pleased with the pipeline of deals.
Techseen: China is embracing robotics with the same full-on intensity that’s made it a force in high-speed rail and renewable energy. Do you think it is the most efficient region in SEA suitable for digital expansion? Why?
Kothari: While it’s true that China is experiencing fast growth in robotics, we see similar growth in India and other outsourcing hubs in Asia. The robotics trend is worldwide, not led by one region over the other.
Techseen: Can you comment on your engagement with start-ups, SMBs and non-traditional innovators in the space?
Kothari: The compelling ROI of automation makes sense for all size companies.
Techseen: Can you suggest 5 things that young startups getting into your field should do or not do?
Kothari: The demand is growing quickly for people who can help companies in their automation journey. The key is to pick your role in the ecosystem and then go deep. Will you help create bots? Define processes? Provide training? Offer programs to upskill and re-skill workers. Remember that we are evolving to a world where humans and bots will work together. Therefore, new product offerings need to be designed for environments built for human workers and bots working together.