Dataquest | There will be more convergence between RPA and AI: Infogain

This an interview with Radhakrishnan R (RK), AVP Solutions, Head Automation Practice (RPA), by DataQuest published on 12th February'20, to view the original article, follow this link

Forrester predicts spending on RPA tools will reach $1.5B globally this year. And according to the recent Kenneth market research, the RPA market in India will grow at a CAGR of above 20% during the forecast period 2019-2025.

Infogain India Pvt Ltd is a Silicon Valley-headquartered company with software platform engineering and deep domain expertise in travel, retail, insurance and high technology. They accelerate the delivery of digital customer engagement systems using digital technologies such as cloud, microservices, robotic process automation(RPA) and artificial intelligence(AI) to our clients.

Here, Radhakrishnan R (RK), AVP Solutions, Head Automation Practice (RPA), Infogain, tells us more. Excerpts:

DQ: What are the key factors to successful deployment of RPA at the organizational level?

Radhakrishnan R: Automation is the need of the hour, and businesses are at a precipice where integrating with such technologies is imperative for survival and to sustenance in the coming years. However, the decision to implement RPA should be made after careful mapping of the business needs. It is important to acknowledge that ‘the quick don’t always win the race; therefore, the RPA implementation must be paced.

Implementing RPA in real-world enterprises takes a lot more finesse and preparation. Some key factors to keep in mind to ensure success:

Strategy first: Before starting an automation program, it is important to have the right strategy that aligns with the organization’s goal and objectives.
Alignment of business and IT
* Setting up and operationalizing a Center of Enablement (CoE)
* Institutionalizing an effective change management process.

DQ: How do you see the adoption of RPA technology in the Indian market? Which vertical industries are the early adopters?

Radhakrishnan R: Forrester predicts spending on RPA tools will reach $1.5B globally this year. And according to the recent Kenneth market research, the RPA market in India will grow at a CAGR of above 20% during the forecast period 2019-2025.

As per the general outlook, RPA as a technology is in its early stages in the country, and that is one of the reasons why India presents a lot of potential for an impending boom in its adoption. With multiple service providers delivering customized RPA solutions to companies in local markets across the country, RPA will make its presence felt in India in a big way. With the evolution and deeper application of RPA, we will see it’s a market expansion in the country as SMEs and large enterprises enter the RPA market.

Companies vying for success in a technology-driven ‘tomorrow’ will need RPA to reap benefits like cost-effectiveness, convenience, speed-to-market, increased productivity,etc. which will drive the large-scale adoption of RPA. While the BSFI sector is currently the front-runner in the implementation of RPA, there is immense potential in sectors like insurance, telecom, travel and hospitality, BPO, and manufacturing.

DQ: Highlight some of the use cases/sectors where you have already deployed RPA solutions?

Radhakrishnan R: We have deployed solutions for many of our clients across domains that include – retail, insurance, hi-tech, travel and hospitality.

Across these sectors, some of the processes that we have automated for our clients include:

Claims processing
New account creation
Policy Administration

Travel and Hospitality:
Competitor pricing analysis
Guest data processing
Payment processing
Property Onboarding

Banking and Finance:
New business quotes
Application processing
Closing policies
New account verification
Data validation
Customer account management
Financial claims processing
Report creation
Form filling
Change of address
Loan application processing
Order to Cash
Procure to Pay

Employee Onboarding and Offboarding
Travel Expense Management
Employee Credential Management and System Access

Inventory Control
Compliance and Audit
Loyalty and Rewards Programs

DQ: What are the challenges that occur during the deployment of RPA solutions at the customer end?

Radhakrishnan R: Implementing new technology poses its own set of challenges, some generic and some unique that may arise due to the specific client, tool, task, expected results, etc. At Infogain, some of the most common set of issues we have seen over the years are:

* Resistance to new technology
* Lack of local support and resources for implementation
* Infrastructure and platform-related issues
* Ownership and decision making
* Unrealistic client expectations
* Identifying misfit processes for automation
* Realizing the benefits as anticipated.

DQ: What kind of handholding is required in terms of training and enablement for the deployment of the solutions?

Radhakrishnan R: When deploying RPA, it is advisable to partner with experts who can help integrate and implement RPA in a structured manner, with minimal intrusions to a workflow. After the deployment, it is advisable to periodically review processes to maximize RPA benefits and set realistic RoI objectives for the business.

An expert can help, create a detailed roadmap, and help define roles, responsibilities, plausible risks, and mitigation techniques and can provide training and support. Post an implementation, technologies like RPA need on-going management to ensure success. An expert partner can help monitors the bots regularly while helping with the seamless onboarding and continuous training of the personnel.

DQ: How have you geared yourself to address the growing market opportunities?

Radhakrishnan R: We are excited about the growing demand for automation solutions, particularly in artificial intelligence and machine learning to scale cognitive automation. Our robust hiring and training programs, coupled with our lean and agile model, help us meet customer requirements. In the past, we have transformed clients’ businesses by implementing innovative and integrated automation solutions ranging from RPA programs to enterprise-wide cognitive transformations on leading industry platforms.

We already offer a full spectrum of automation services with enterprise integrations to help our clients achieve operational success and improved productivity. Our automation practice consists of highly trained and certified developers, including analysts, subject matter experts, modelers, architects, developers, and data analysts.

We will continue to build the capacity as well as capability to meet our customer demands even at short notices. We are also working with leading vendors such as Automation Anywhere, UiPath and BluePrism to offer the best possible solutions to our clients for any automation requirement.

DQ: Going forward, how are you looking to capitalize on the growth that you are witnessing in this domain?

Radhakrishnan R: RPA is just the beginning of the automation journey. So, we are continuously focusing our efforts on building a robust offering for helping clients achieve their automation goals and strategies while enabling them to address their specific business needs.

We are gearing up for the second wave of automation, which will look at embedding more cognitive elements and the onboarding of smart automation techniques to extend the basic functional automation. We intend to make investments in this area and get to the market early.

DQ: Since this is a niche segment and requires specialized skill sets, how much of your focus is on up-skilling and re-skilling in this technology?

Radhakrishnan R: Infogain’s Automation Practice is growing. We earned Automation Anywhere’s Gold Partnership in October of 2019. Along with the Gold partnership, Infogain is Automation Anywhere’s designated Centre of Excellence. With such growth, our focus on training has become more focused too.

At Infogain, employees are encouraged to be a part of the training sessions conducted with the support of partner network and RPA vendors. My team offers training & certification for freshers as well as experienced employees. Our training module for freshers covers RPA Fundamentals, Product Specific training, and Product Specific Certification.

The training team’s sessions include SQL, Testing and XML, .Net (C#, Asp.Net, Ado.Net, MVC), or Java stack. Our training module for experienced employees covers Advanced and Master Certification for AA (Automation Anywhere), UI Path Certification & Training, Blue Prism.

Our training programs ensure that the automation engineers are technologic agnostic, which gives us the edge to be agile and competitive. Our engineers are trained just not in RPA but all complementing technologies that are needed to provide a holistic automation solution to our clients.

DQ: What are the key trends in RPA that will be seen in the coming year?

Radhakrishnan R: As the surge in new-age technologies continues, RPA will have a strong impact on India and the fourth industrial revolution. Companies will soon look to harness RPA to build capabilities that will help them offer better experience and value to their customers.

As we have already established that while RPA as a technology is still very green in India, its market is set exponential growth in the next decade. As we progress, we will notice a few key things happen:

Radhakrishnan R, AVP Solutions, Head Automation Practice (RPA), Infogain

* Companies will start looking beyond RPA and focus on automation as a whole
* There will be more convergence between RPA and AI
* The model of operations with service providers will change. There will be more demand for outcome-based engagements
* Till now companies have experimented without a strong guarantee on investment, but in the next phase of adoption it will turn into an investment driving RoI for the companies.