16 Key Insights from Adrian Jones
A conversation with Automation Anywhere’s APJ EVP
We sat down with Adrian Jones, Executive Vice President, Asia Pacific & Japan, to find out what's happening in the region from his perspective. He provided 16 key insights:
On APAC opportunity
1. The opportunity is massive here as we see many countries and cities that are very focused on innovation. We've been working in Japan and South Korea, and we're starting up in China, including Hong Kong, and Taiwan right now. We also have established our APJ headquarters in Singapore. So, we've been going country by country for the past 12 months.
On the scale of the region
2. A differentiator for us, I think, is that sometimes we see larger opportunities here simply because of the size that some of the companies have in Asia. We see opportunities at an even bigger scale and potential than some of the other regions.
On a trillion processes
3. There currently are 127 million people living in Japan, but 1.1 trillion processes that happen every single day. If we only automate ten percent of what happens in Japan, it's a considerable number and would be a remarkable achievement.
On legacy transformation
4. It's not about how much IT spend is happening in each country - that's sort of irrelevant to some degree. It's really about a lot of these legacy companies knowing that they have to automate. They have to improve cost measurement, speed, productivity, and go to market strategies - while freeing employees from mundane, repetitive tasks. It's all about combining the best of human creativity and the power of digital technology.
On non-traditional cycles
5. We're not following any traditional IT enterprise cycle as far as how long it takes to get up and running with bots and how long it takes to get automation integrated into your business.
On skillset inhibitors
6. The biggest inhibitor currently is the required set of skills– finding enough people, whether partners or customers who can train their people. We're deploying as many of our teams as possible to help. However, the critical point is actually how they get it done and scale-up fast with the education curve that they have to get their people through.
7. We try to train even people like me in an hour how to build a bot. So I don't think the deployment of bots is what's difficult. Solution architecting, as far as mapping out processes, become more complicated.
On training (again)
8. We do many training sessions, real hands-on training with the customer. We do that through partners as well. We are educating more and more partners daily so that they have the skills to train their teams.
9. We've teamed up with local colleges and universities, along with the government in Singapore for example. We've worked to build in RPA-type technology into the curriculum of some of the schools here so that when students graduate, they have the skills required to build and deploy bots. We're also taking an educational approach towards governments in the region, to get them to introduce this skillset into the colleges and the school programs.
10. For the first six to twelve months, we usually deploy our people or provide expertise through one of our partners. By year two really, they should be self-sufficient to drive all of that on their own.
11. We always estimate at least fifty percent realization of ROI back in year one. So the key in year two is to try and educate customers on how to get 100 percent back so that they accelerate their ROI.
On timelines & ROI
12. We do train and advise most companies that they can get bots deployed within an 18-week timeframe from when we start the discussion to when we end it. Because if we can do that, then we can recognize ROI quicker for them, and we can get the speed, accuracy, and productivity they're looking for from deploying bots.
On getting cognitive
13. RPA is just one piece of the puzzle. With IQ Bot, we've got our own cognitive AI technology that reads and processes data like humans.
On customer experience
14. Something we are continuously emphasizing is that attended automation will help companies achieve improved customer experience by providing simple front-end controls and the easy setup up of tasks to speed up often lengthy processes, like signing up for a new mobile phone contract.
15. Over the past twelve months, I've met with many CFOs that are skeptical at best when we start talking about automation, how we can deploy it, and how much savings they can get. However, once we start implementing, we’re opening up a whole new world through our technology and change the minds of these CFOs very quickly.
On opportunity (again)
16. The opportunity here in Asia is tremendous. There are so many different types of clients, from airlines to retail to banks to – you name it – across Asia Pacific. There are so many kinds of customers, in all walks of life, that are keen to automate and future-ready their businesses. What's still surprising for me is how many different ones we see every week.