Rushabh is currently Co-Founder & Executive Vice President, Customer Success & Operations at Automation Anywhere. At Automation Anywhere, these people perform repetitive manual tasks by making end to end business processes more efficient and productive. They have built the worlds most advanced digital workforce platform, which combines robotic process automation, which will go into great detail today, artificial intelligence and machine learning and analytics. With over 2000 partners, including Microsoft, Google, and Amazon Web Services, and Salesforce, automation anywhere has operations in almost every country in the world.
Rushabh’s 19 years of experience includes:
He began his career as a Software Engineer in Siebel Systems. Right after his first job, Rushabh started this organization Automation Anywhere with other 3 of the founders. It’s been 16-17 years to Automation Anywhere is growing successfully.
At Automation Anywhere, they believe that people who have time to create, think, and discover build great companies. That's why they have dedicated the last decade to driving the adoption of robotic process automation technology in leading Financial Services, BPO, Healthcare, Technology, and Insurance companies—to name a few—across more than 90 countries. Their intelligent process robots transform the way businesses operate, delivering complex business and IT work across a range of processes including procure-to-pay, quote-to-cash, HR administration, claims processing, and thousands of other front and back office processes.
Transcripts: Part 1 - Interview of Rushabh Parmani, Co-Founder & Executive Vice President Automation Anywhere
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This is Silicon Valley Tech behind the scenes, a podcast hosted by Shawn Flynn and Sunil S. Ranka. Here's where we talk to the real heroes to find out how decisions are made, and how they're executed to create the thriving businesses of tomorrow.
Shawn Flynn 0:19
So first and foremost, being a CXO in an organization and thinking automation. That's the first big step that we encourage people to take. Because often automation comes with a lot of roadblocks mainly in terms of people because it requires chain automation is a synonym to change and all of us don't like take for the fact that you are thinking automation. That is a very big step because coming top down will definitely help.
And that was Rushabh Parmani, who's the Co-founder and Executive Vice President, Customer Success and Operations at Automation Anywhere. At Automation anywhere, these people perform repetitive manual tasks by making end to end business processes more efficient and productive. They have built the worlds most advanced digital workforce platform, which combines robotic process automation, which will go into great detail today, artificial intelligence and machine learning and analytics. With over 2000 partners, including Microsoft, Google, and Amazon Web Services, and Salesforce, automation anywhere has operations in almost every country in the world. Today's show we talk about rush jobs journey, helping to found the company why the company waited so long to take outside funding and how they even grew to the size it was, without taking any capital. What was his decision to finally take capital? What does the future of customer service look like? How to have a more efficient workforce? All this and more today's episode of Silicon Valley Tech. Now let' go right into the interview.
Rushabh, thank you for taking the time today. Silicon Valley Tech, your career is absolutely amazing. But before even starting your career, let's go back. Was there any part of your childhood that shaped who you are today any story or event that particularly stands out in your mind that you share with us?
Rushabh Parmani 2:15
I think from childhood obviously first half of my life I lived in Mumbai in India, and what I can tell you from what I'm doing today. A lot of my interest in early days of my life in the technology, doing something new, I was always interested in looking at, you know, shows that come on TV, show some creative technologist innovative and that has always strived and that thought have led us to do something different. 15-17 years ago, I tried to start Automation Anywhere. We wanted to break that barrier to automation, where people
were feeling you know, tired of doing the same thing again and again and people have tried to solve that problem, many different ways, and we decided to take this up. Fortunately, that worked out. So the patch for new type of technologies and believing in something that people haven't done before that part of my nature, I suppose, helped me be here today. I'm grateful to that.
Shawn Flynn 3:15
Now, can you tell us about your career and actually gives a little bit of background on Automation Anywhere? What you founded that the last 16 years.
Rushabh Pamani 3:26
Sure, from my career point of view, my first job was with a company called Siebel System, which was acquired by Oracle in the CRM. And after that, right after financial crisis, somewhere in the early 2004, four of us founders about a weekend where we used to live at Bay Area back then, and I used to meet often and we decided, we were thinking that what can we do to in this time to obviously help the organization realize better benefit quickly greater than norm that people are generally hung up on and talk to from a progress
point of view what can we do from a technology standpoint then both thought eventually came together in the form of the RPA technology as we know it today which allows you know anybody and everybody to ---automate processes, you know do things which are otherwise that manually, mundane, a repetitive manner and most importantly you know from an organization standpoint realize the benefits much faster.
Right after my first job you know, we started this organization and Automation Anywhere four of us founded this company. And obviously it has taken many, many different turns along the way we taught to financial crisis and every time it came automation anywhere came out stronger and we are in one of the biggest one so far. We are fighting our way to that as well and hoping to get even stronger after this.
Sunil Ranka 4:54
So Rushabh, you said Siebel System, four of you getting together in Bay Area trying to do something different in this last 16 years, what was that aha moment, which made you believe that what you are on a journey which is going to be a significant milestone in the history of Silicon Valley?
Rushabh Parmani 5:12
I think there were many, many aha moments. It was all relative the way I said, basically, the first aha moment was when we started the company, we put up our product on the website and launched it. And obviously before of us felt extremely good. That product is launched, made it to the website with pricing, eCommerce all said, and our CEO said that I want to be the first one to buy it off the product from using my credit card from the website. So we said okay, fine. Let's go and have a lunch. Let's celebrate it and we'll come at you go ahead and do the first inaugural purchase for automation anywhere and what do we see
after coming back from the lunch which was right across the street from our garage where we used to work is some gentleman and organization in Australia, a downloaded the product, tried it in a minute less than an hour, and they bought it. So obviously our CEO was number two, he never could be number one, unfortunately, and that can never change. And that obviously gave us that first boost of confidence that this thing works. Because you can do all the efforts, everything can build the product, you can have the belief that this is going to work, but unless you have a customer validation, nothing matters, right. And in less than an hour of uploading a product, if somebody buys which is thousands and thousands of miles away, that gives you a tremendous set of confidence. So that was the first aha moment in a very small environment, small company that we will back then.
Sunil Ranka 6:41
So you talk about all positive energy, any dull moment in this journey.
Rushabh Parmani 6:46
Many have been far more than positive, to be perfectly honest with you because there were days you know, when you're in early days when you wanted to release the product soon and because you're so focused on quality and if it doesn't live up to our expectations. Then we'll say, okay, fine, we'll take the head. But we'll release the right product. Those are tough moments, right? When you're sitting on it for a month or two customers are waiting, those things that are more mentioned, you're working hard and hard, harder, where you want to close that bigger deal, but obviously customer a certain expectation. And obviously, sometimes in early days, as a small company, you don't have all the answers. So those are quite challenging, tough time to crack that first big deal and get into that next sort of stratosphere as a company.
Shawn Flynn 7:31
Going back to the challenges your company whether its first 10 years self-sustaining, whereas here in the Valley, the first thing most people look for is outside funding. Was there any kind of conversations going on in those early years guys, we should go out and raise capital venture fund and let's get out there or what were the decisions behind being self-sustaining for that long of time.
Rushabh Parmani 7:55
Honestly speaking, we realized that what we have done it quite unique when we actually were in the process of raising the first funding, and everybody came and said that how did you even survive for 15 years and managed to grow the business and stay profitable until then we were just head down thinking that this is how it should be. This is how it is done. And obviously a lot of the credit goes to Mihir which is our CEO who's been in the industry far longer and it’s been part of many other growth stories, but he's always been watchful, very prudent, very smart about the investment and the returns that we get from it. And obviously, all of our share, the same mindset. And we were just, you know, our focus was always on making sure that we put on the growth for the next year and the year after that on our own. And if we have a business model to do that, then only in certain, you know, unforeseen circumstances we will be forced to go to, you know, external funding, and fortunately, that didn't happen for quite many years. So it's all worked out.
Sunil Ranka 8:58
Automation Anywhere has broken all the norms, profitable sustainable for 10 years. And then you took a funding at the later stage of the company. How does it feel? Is it really a dream or reality?
Rushabh Parmani 9:10
When you are in it, it never feels like a dream because you are always working, struggling or trying to do more irrationally over time, we will realize that whether they agree or not, every now and then and I would say that now and then come probably once in six months when we all get together and look back and see where we are. And that honestly rarely comes because of the very tight schedule. But when you look back and sometimes the memories of pain, I can't even remember what actually happened last year things are moving so fast.
Sunil Ranka 9:41
Automation Anywhere has more than 1300 global partners has operation in 90+ countries with working with so many different people and culture literally from entire world. How does one or should one look at the customers or customer services.
Rushabh Parmani 9:56
I come from an engineering background, I was a computer science engineer my degree. And that' how I started my career in Automation Anywhere. But over time, I realized if I don't have the mindset to think like a customer and what they need, how they need thing, then most things don't really matter as much that mindset we have shared in the founding team and the early employees that we have hired or time, always the customer mindset. And that if you think from their life and their viewpoint, most of the things that you do internal processes, how you hired, how you spend, how you build all those things fall in place, and that what we have learned over time. So whether you have five customer, 50 customers, five countries, 50
countries, 90 countries, that mindset at the core of the organization, is whatever that is, and when we build this organization from day one, we had one of the four core values with our customers first, we have a across all the offices and most of the wall, we need to make sure that every new employee that we hire understands that core value customer first. And more importantly, our customer should know that this is one of our core values, our partner should know this is one of our core values. And when they see it that these guys talk one thing, and they actually act on the same thing, that is what inspires the most confident them as a customer and investing in Automation Anywhere. So fortunately for us, from four employees to 2000+ employees, we've always ensured that DNA of customer first mentality always exists no matter how big you grow, no matter how many products you have, and I think that
has paid dividends for a long time. And that helps us obviously define our customer service processes, customer success processes. It just comes naturally. You don't have to fight for that it just happen.
Shawn Flynn 11:58
Rushabh, over the year’s customer relationships had to change. Can you give us a little background on your experience of how those relationships have changed and more importantly, I'm really curious about your thoughts of post COVID-19 and what we should expect or see or how businesses should look at customer relationships moving forward in the coming years.
Rushabh Parmani 12:19
Obviously, from the early days when you start a company, the relationships depending on the investments from customers do take a natural Porter which takes a natural code from you know, being tactical to being strategic in recent years. Even in our relationship, a lot of this large organization be a banked and be a lot of Pharma Company manufacturing company, the level of investment that they have in Automation Anywhere and especially the Michigan mission critical processes that they run. It is part of it is a core part of the plan
the strategy around the automation and obviously Automation Anywhere plays a big part in it. Naturally the level of engagement that we have with them is far more strategic, there are a lot of decisions that we take jointly in terms of what we are going to do together over the next, you know, two to three years. And obviously COVID-19 situation has brought us even together because even they are looking for advice, guidance recommendation on what is rest of the world doing in automation. And I think, you know, seeking that sort of guidance from us as well. So this is a very good opportunity for us to learn how different industries and different verticals are responding to this pandemic, adopting their automation strategies and allows us to you know, take the best of the breed and share with the rest of the customer so everybody benefit and I see you know, customer relations growing even stronger, and it more from a customer vendor relationship, it will become more and more of partner in the journey type of relation because we are all in this together and if we can help The organization to create get even more benefits and more return obviously the nature of religion will definitely change. And these days obviously an every, you know, yet those top of the mind on how to do how to implement an automation strategy and RPA obviously always in the forefront.
Sunil Ranka 14:21
So automation and AI is key for workforce of the future. Can you share how Automation Anywhere technologies adapting to be more relevant for the readiness for workforce of the future?
Rushabh Parmani 14:31
At the way we have approached our technology stack, essentially, the whole value proposition of Automation Anywhere is that you can create a digital workforce for future because the answer to every problem cannot be people doing it because there is only so much time you have to process certain amount of information and no matter outbox we do a people cannot do in that amount of time plus there are always possibilities of errors and you know, compliance and all sorts of things. So, heavy reliance on people has gone away. So, people are thinking, you know, how to get more and more digital. And obviously, this
current situation that we all are in has even made it more inevitable right that unless you are digital, the companies can get wiped out and we are seeing it in front of our own eyes. So what we did several years ago, almost 6-7 years ago is we looked at the entire RPL. And we thought how, how to best fit a digital workforce sort of mindset category from an organization point of view, and we shape and mapped our technology stack to that, if you look at any shared service operation, right, you have majority of the people who are doing things who are processing data, you know, I would say let’s take 70 to 75% of the people are doing things then there are 15 20% of the people who are applying Intelligent judgement, you know, tribal knowledge and making 10 out of the processing that 75% of the people. So there's a lot of, you know, intelligence that goes in a lot of judgment call that goes in a lot of knowledge that they have gathered over the years. And then there is a bunch of people who are running all sorts of analytics and insight, and help businesses take decisions based on all the processing that happens in the shared service. This is my large, the profile of an operation center. So what we thought is if you can map your technology to these three
sets of people, then that your digital workforce which is a human workforce, if you have a corresponding digital counterpart to these guys, then together the human workforce and the digital workforce will have a far better throughput.
So that 75% of the people are technology RPA which does exactly what you tell it to do in a much very, very robust way. Error-free nonstop 365 days a day, a year, no question about No breaks nothing. The other 20% is your IQ board, which is a AI piece which sits on top of the RPA, which does not have, you know, constructor data, lots of intelligence built in a lot of learning built in from different customers and your other data that you have thrown at the end it takes, so you don't have to rely on people's judgment call. And then the third piece where it all comes together, which is about insight platform, which is our analytics platform, looking at all the bots in your organization, how its working, what kind of application we're doing, what kind of returns are happening, operational level business levels, and that's a core part of our portfolio. And obviously, if you mind that, this is an old back office operator and then if you combine that with the front office solution, which is your attended solution, when you are interacting human in the loop, sort of approach, human bot collaboration, it completes the entire portfolio right from the front office, to the back office, the people that connect up the front office and the back office. And that's how we look at this space evolving many years ago. And that's how we started taping technology. And all our investment in those technologies are now paying off. Because the challenge with technologies you have to invest ahead of time, and sometimes you can be right and you can be wrong. And many times people get it wrong. But there's always that fear. And fortunately, the way we thought it would evolve, for most part, it evolved that way. And the concept of digital workforce, people appreciated it very easy to adopt that, that that portfolio that we have, and people organization can plan based on that. And now in fact the discussions are keeping that way that Okay, I'm going to I'm going to my increase in workload next year by about 30%. How many digital workers will I need and how many human workers do I need to add? And that's where we want the world to go, because you can't just have all the discussions about adding people because it just inherently slows down the overall operation. So there has to be a digital side to it and the digital workforce solution that we have, which provides all the elements, it basically brings it all together.
Shawn Flynn 19:07
Wow! Now there's just too much information to have this all in one episode. So stay tuned for next week, where we're going to continue with this conversation we're going to talk about automation and AI is the key for workforce in the future. When there's major outside events. What is the best way for a company to adapt itself to survive and to put itself in a position to thrive and post COVID automation? How is it going to help companies get to the next level? They're gonna be talking about so much next week. So stay tuned from more of Silicon Valley Tech.
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To be continued...