The perception of cloud technology is rapidly evolving from being a cost-effective solution to modern business challenges to an integral, defining characteristic of the technology stack in any forward-thinking organization.
That makes Automation Anywhere‘s cloud-first approach to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) not just innovative, but necessary to align with customer expectations. Early in its development, the company recognized the looming ubiquity of the cloud as well as the many thousands of companies that would need cloud technology to make their businesses run efficiently.
Who Is Automation Anywhere?
Automation Anywhere today is a leader in the field of RPA, providing a suite of tools that enable companies to automate and analyze essential business processes, then incorporate RPA software robots, or bots, to make those processes run better. The company focuses on simplifying RPA to enable broader, quicker adoption through its cloud-native architecture.
Automation Anywhere was founded in 2003 in San Jose, Calif. To date, the company has raised $1 billion over nine funding rounds. Recent financial backers include Hercules Capital and SVB Capital.
Automation Anywhere’s leadership team includes:
- CEO and Co-Founder Mihir Shukla, a celebrated software engineer and former director of engineering at E2Open.
- CFO James Budge, who held the same position in six other companies before joining the Automation Anywhere team.
- CTO Prince Kohli, the former SVP and Head of the Cloud and IT Development Unit at Ericsson
In a previous interview with Acceleration Economy, Kohli explained how his first initiative, when joining the company in 2018, was to launch a cloud-centric strategy that included alliances with leaders in the field including Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and IBM Cloud.
Kohli describes Automation Anywhere’s strategy in terms of impacting processes and people, with a particular focus on the types of tasks that are repetitive and add limited value in terms of human intelligence.
“We feel it is a requirement for ours and the upcoming generations to free people up from the monotony of repetitive tasks, error-prone tasks, and tasks that aren’t human-friendly,” Kohli said in a discussion with me this week. “People, especially those born in the post-smartphone era, are rebelling against these tasks.”
He continued, “For us, it’s about releasing human potential and reaching the next level in productivity and efficiency. We are very focused on design and ease of use, and in that context, the ability of anyone in a company to access our tools.” This drives the company’s cloud-native approach, allowing customers to scale quickly because there’s no installation involved, he added.
In recognition of its strength and innovation in the RPA field, Automation Anywhere was named a Leader in Everest Group’s RPA Products PEAK Matrix Assessment for the sixth consecutive year in 2022.
What Does Automation Anywhere Do?
Automation Anywhere’s RPA tools are anchored in its Automation 360 platform, which enables organizations to adopt user-friendly automation strategies quickly and automate tasks for greater productivity.
The platform conducts automated process discovery that companies can use to discover and monitor business processes without impacting existing workflows. The technology identifies inefficiencies and builds a comprehensive, enterprise-wide process map. Once discovered, business processes are automated through Automation Anywhere’s RPA Workspace using bots.
“We feel it is a requirement for ours and the upcoming generations to free people up from the monotony of repetitive tasks, error-prone tasks, and tasks that aren’t human-friendly. People, especially those born in the post-smartphone era, are rebelling against these tasks.”
- Automation Anywhere CTO Prince Kohli
This fully-web-based tool includes flexible deployment with options for no-code, low-code, and bespoke code automation. Using Automation Anywhere’s codeless interface, users without technical knowledge can design and launch bots. The tool can be deployed quickly thanks to the addition of a pre-built command library.
Bots are widely used for common, often repetitive tasks including invoice processing, answering routine customer service queries, and tracking inventory. Automation Anywhere users can access the company’s comprehensive Bot Store to access pre-built, customizable bots for a wide range of tasks. It’s also possible to create and upload bots to the store for others to utilize.
At the same time, built-in governance and security features reduce workload and monitoring requirements.
In a bid to democratize the technology, Automation Anywhere’s Robotic Interface (AARI) feature, which the company describes as an automation “co-pilot,” lets customers embed automation through digital assistants into applications, which regular business users can consult on demand.
AARI helps anyone, not just tech experts, automate processes, says Kenny Mullican, CIO of Paragon Films and Acceleration Economy analyst, and that’s an important differentiator for a company that doesn’t have a very large IT staff.
“I operate with a very lean staff, which can make it challenging to implement new technologies when those products require extensive training and experience. Products like Automation Anywhere allow small teams like mine to focus on enabling business users to get involved in automating the processes that make the biggest impact on operational efficiency.”Kenny Mullican, CIO
Automation 360 also includes a variety of analytics tools. Bots are continually assessed for performance, and these insights can be used to develop a deep understanding of business impact, and where it can be improved.
One of the key differentiators with the Automation Anywhere approach is its use of AI and ML technologies. It uses a feature called IQ Bot to process data, a key consideration in light of the company’s estimate that 80% of enterprise data is unstructured. The system includes a series of pre-trained use cases that companies can choose from to immediately begin processing documents. However, ML facilities and modifiable AI workflows enable data teams to focus on specific assets when required.
Customers Automation Anywhere Has Dazzled
Automation Anywhere has an impressive roster of global corporations and governmental organizations using its technology: It has deployed more than 2.8 million bots, works alongside 2,100 business partners, and services 3,200-plus customers worldwide.
One particularly significant user is the National Health Service (NHS), the UK’s largest public health provider. One of the largest NHS Trusts is Newcastle Hospitals, with more than 1.5 million patient interactions annually.
Recognizing the burnout caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Trust was committed to reducing the time its staff spent on repetitive tasks.
The Trust deployed Automation Anywhere’s Automation 360 platform to support various areas in the organization, including Human Resources, Occupational Health, its Cancer Information Center, and Appointment Booking Centre.
Key outcomes of the Trust’s work with Automation Anywhere:
- 7,000 hours saved annually by implementing automated bots
- 4,000 hours saved annually by Automation Anywhere’s bot for staff appraisals
- 780 hours saved annually with the healthcare-specific PP0028 Cancer Referral Bot
- 700 hours saved in two months with Automation Anywhere’s National Immunization and Vaccination System bot
When we spoke this week, Kohli positioned automation as a key factor in enterprise tech architecture, and in business strategy. “There isn’t a single silver bullet on the road to digitization , but automation is now recognized as a key factor in getting there,” he says.
In light of this, Automation Anywhere is continuing to work on ways to make it easier for customers to deploy automation. Currently, while control remains in the cloud, automations are often deployed on-prem, meaning customers have to find a device and use a device that’s on-prem to manage them. The company is currently working on moving this process to the cloud, Kohli said.
Another area of focus is end-to-end, fully automated automation. The company aims to automatically identify the highest value process from various processes undertaken by a cohort of users in an organization, and translate that to a platform that automatically matches it with the correct automation option.
Why Automation Anywhere Is a Top 10 Hyperautomation Enabler
Automation Anywhere is one of the most consequential companies operating in the hyperautomation space. The company belongs on any hyperautomation shortlist because it:
- Recognizes shift from on-prem to cloud as the preferred IT architecture through end-to-end cloud-native RPA platform
- Extends RPA benefits to everybody in an organization through optional low-code/no-code deployments and digital assistant technology.
- Provides process intelligence that enables companies to develop tangible RPA strategies based on daily statistics and continuous updates, all while monitoring ROI
- Delivers measurable customer wins and secures those accounts as champions of the company’s technology and architecture.
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