Having worked on innovative digital products over the past two decades, I have a deep understanding of how harnessing new technologies can drive growth within organizations. Today, I believe we’re at an inflection point with automation and artificial intelligence (AI). Organizations are still finding efficiencies by automating routine tasks, but increasingly, they’re looking towards ways to marry automation and AI, to go beyond cost savings and help them drive growth and delight customers.
As the Chief Product Officer at UiPath, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing the incredible transformations that automation can bring to organizations. Recently, I had the opportunity to participate on a panel focused on the future of automation moderated by Jens Boegh-Nielsen, EMEIA Alliances Leader at EY, along with Stephen Siciliano, VP, Power Automate at Microsoft, and Peter van der Putten, Director of AI Labs at Pega. Our conversation spanned a range of topics, including the role of automation in transforming organizations, the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, and the power of automation to change how we do business.
With so many opportunities for driving digital transformation today, it's hard to focus on just one. We've barely scratched the surface of what's possible with automation. Many organizations start with automating back-office operations in human resources (HR) or finance, but eventually, they spread from department to department. Scaling this out can be challenging, but companies that take a top-down, transformative approach can evolve from focusing on the repetitive and routine, to the new and the novel.
Our long-standing customers, who have been with us for three to five years, have begun to explore the potential of automation beyond the areas they've already optimized. They're now looking for whitespace—areas where they can apply automation to not only increase efficiency, but also enhance the customer experience. With cutting-edge automation technologies, companies can now predict and optimize the entire customer journey, which gives them a competitive advantage and drives customer loyalty and satisfaction.
These benefits aren’t just limited to customers—they apply to employees as well. Holding on to their most valuable employees is top of mind for most organizations, and in order to do so, they need to demonstrate that they’re forward looking. The best employees don’t want to work for a company that lacks innovation—they want to work somewhere that prioritizes trying new techniques to make the organization stronger, enhance both the employee and customer experience, and drive growth.
One of the biggest challenges I see are governance issues that arise when using advanced technologies. In the context of customer service, for example, many organizations are automating tasks such as answering customer questions or taking orders. However, they could also be leveraging document understanding and predictive analytics to anticipate the root causes of issues and proactively address them.
Our acquisition of Re:infer, a company that specializes in deep email understanding, exemplifies how we're helping organizations extract important information from communications. These valuable insights arm customer service representatives with the knowledge they need to be more proactive, driving customer retention and delight.
I don’t have a crystal ball for predicting the future, but I do have a pretty good idea of how broad trends are likely to shape the future of automation. I believe we’re in the early stages of AI and automation, with organizations across a number of industries exploring their possibilities. A universal theme among our customers is the pursuit of scale, transforming automation from a single-use case solution into a strategic investment.
As organizations consider the broader effects of automation, it's essential to address employees’ potential fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Stakeholders across the business need to be engaged in embracing new technologies, and a strong citizen developer program can help bring everyone along for the ride.
One key aspect of scaling up automation is prioritizing tasks and understanding where employees are spending their time. UiPath Task Mining and Process Mining can help organizations answer these questions and optimize their automation efforts accordingly. Additionally, as automation becomes a strategic priority, governance and management of API and UI changes become crucial.
An organization like EY, which has a staggering 150,000 robots running throughout the company, had plenty of scaling challenges to deal with before reaching that level. Making sure enterprises are able to work with automations and understanding what to do when things break are key considerations when expanding automation. However, based on my experience with customers, growing from automation as a solution to specific problems to a strategic priority for the broader organization tends to be well worth the effort.
Reflecting on the past 12 months, I'm particularly impressed by the transformation of Generali, a large European insurer and one of our customers. They’ve shifted from focusing automation on routine and repetitive tasks to exploring new and novel use cases, driving customer growth and better outcomes. Greater efficiency and operational excellence continue to help them reduce costs, but now they’re expanding their scope beyond the back office to see how automation can help them generate new growth.
Generali’s journey demonstrates the potential of automation to not only drive the cost curve down, but also fuel growth through new markets, greater customer loyalty, and cross-selling opportunities. Their success is emblematic of the broader trend I've observed among our customers, who are pushing the boundaries of what's possible with automation. The focus is shifting from cost reduction to exploring novel use cases that can transform businesses and create lasting value.
As we continue to push the envelope of what automation can achieve, we stand on the precipice of something truly exciting. The role of automation in transforming organizations is growing exponentially, and as we continue to refine and expand its applications, I’m confident that we’ll witness even more incredible transformations in the coming years.
UiPath is committed to helping organizations harness the power of automation to drive innovation, efficiency, and growth. By understanding and addressing the challenges that come with scaling up automation efforts, we can empower businesses to thrive in the face of change and capitalize on the opportunities that lie ahead.
If you missed UiPath Live 2023.4 release show on May 10, 2023, you can watch the recap to hear the insights and other big innovations on the product roadmap horizon I shared during the show.
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