Even before Covid-19 started driving unprecedented, accelerated change, global organisations were already struggling to acquire and retain the best human talent skilled in implementing intelligent automation (IA). The good news is that businesses have this fantastic, in-demand, transformative, technology that even in a lockdown environment, can still be applied by remote workforces to deliver much more, much faster for less. The challenge for organisations is they still need enough people properly trained with the knowledge and skills to apply IA successfully at scale – so it really starts transforming business operations faster.
Over 4 years ago, we anticipated this talent supply and skills problem and addressed it with our unique ScaleSafe™ accelerated resource programme. This provides structured education with dedicated onsite mentoring and ongoing support into rapidly expanding Blue Prism and UiPath IA technology implementations. This involves sourcing, training and mentoring a fully accredited IA team of people within 12 weeks – that are committed on-site with a customer for 2 years and are then fully equipped to maintain a dynamic, sustainable centre of intelligent automation excellence.
This resource programme produces in 12 weeks what typically takes most organisations between 6-12 months to achieve under ‘normal’ project pressures. Crucially, as this model commits a pre-built team for 2 years, it ensures ongoing operational continuity, removes any risks associated with attracting and retaining the right talent and protects against a fierce poaching market – which is a key factor in why some IA programmes stall or can even fail.
In this article, we’re highlighting 3 high calibre graduates; Simon Bandha, Samuel Bean and Jack Lovett, who’ve progressed through our programme. They’ve already helped several blue-chip brands successfully deliver IA across their business operations - with one quickly becoming a flagship Blue Prism client site.
Using Blue Prism IA technology, Simon has become an experienced automation consultant, Samuel is a developer and Jack works as a process analyst. IA developers are responsible for developing, testing and delivering automated processes using defined design principles and following the appropriate standards – while ensuring they’re aligned to current policies and practices. A process analyst clearly captures the detailed requirements for each process automation - ensuring re-usability, resilience and scalability— and that delivery costs and time frames are reduced too.
Q&A - learning and working with IA
- What prompted you to join the IA industry?
Simon was attracted to the growing market and great future potential of a sustainable technology and wanted to be part of a dynamic company that provides industry-leading training. While also valuing these qualities, Samuel saw both the technology and working for us as the best way to use his interpersonal skills to improve business operations. Jack also relished the opportunity of developing multiple skills as a developer and business analyst in a rapidly growing industry.
- What was the most important thing that you learnt during this programme?
For Simon, it’s given him a range of broad-based IA skills, coupled with a wider knowledge of IT infrastructure and business – and he believes that he’d never have gained this anywhere else - within this short period. Samuel has learnt how to best employ the collaborative power of teamwork and that as a developer he now fully understands all facets of running an IA programme.
Jack adds that no previous experience in software coding or development was required and the training and mentor guidance helped him interact with customers in a more holistic business-centric way than any ‘traditional’ IT development role. All agreed that they’ve gained the confidence to successfully operate in dynamic challenging business environments.
- Name an accomplishment that you’re most proud of delivering
For Simon, it was creating a complex ‘customer statement’ process automation for a leading automotive manufacturer that significantly reduced issues that were impacting the business. Samuel worked on an ‘assets capitalisation’ process automation that cleared a backlog of 2 million assets. Jack’s most notable achievement so far is delivering a total benefit of £1.3 million for a ‘floor stock management’ automation project.
In fact, our team contributed significantly to the early success of IA within the manufacturer’s business within its centre of excellence. In their first full year of delivering Blue Prism, the team returned £3 million in benefits back to the business.
- What skills do new entrants require to achieve success in this sector?
Simon believes that to be successful, those that possess logical minds can learn to operate within IA development or business analyst fields and become competent in 6 months. Samuel adds that while problem solving is important, empathy is also a desirable skill, as is the ability to communicate well with both IT and business teams.
Jack believes that being personable when working with IA is key too – you employ a much more customer focused approach than the standard cliché of a developer in a dark room. He adds that these qualities are especially needed when extracting information from people who quite often don't want to give it to you – who may wrongly fear that automation is replacing their jobs.
- What key market changes have you seen since Covid-19?
Simon believes that those organisations that already have IA technology in place are well placed to maintain business continuity, as they can swiftly create new process automations in just days. Samuel adds that even in this lockdown period, with staff working remotely using IA, organisations can still complete new tactical activities. Going forward, there will be some sectors such as retail and finance that will scale up IA programmes with greater vigour than others operating in more negatively impacted sectors.
Jack believes that business will re-think how their key operations are run without staff and prepare for future events like this. He adds that IA is perfect for this, as a small controlling team can perform the equivalent work of thousands of human staff – and faster – without errors.
With any organisation embarking on an IA programme, building a sustainable career training and up-skilling plan is a critical success factor that also ensures longer-term scalability. In fact, the people, talent and structure behind IA are as important as the technology itself. Get this mix right and IA will provide the platform to explore and create more intelligent automation offerings - using AI and other new, exciting technologies – to maintain innovation and sustainable success in our brave new world.
Tom Gardener, co-founder and director, Robiquity