One of the leading RPA evangelist Automation Anywhere is looking to further increase the contribution made by its indirect channel from the present 50 per cent to 70 per cent by the next financial year. As the company is gaining strong headway in all sectors including BFSI, manufacturing and healthcare segments for its RPA and digital workforce solution. It intends to pass on the lucrative professional services and solution architecture opportunities to its partners. In the last three years, Automation Anywhere has not only formed its strong channel base covering ‘Sell to and Sell through’ partners, but also firmed up its channel enablement programs.
Speaking exclusively to CRN India, Ganesh Thyagarajan, VP – Partner Enablement, Automation Anywhere, informs that professional service capabilities for building bots is an area where partners can make 10x revenue over product selling. For Automation Anywhere, the biggest market currently is the US; whereas, India stands at the second spot globally. Overall, it has 3,000 customers, of which, 850+ are in India.
The channel ecosystem
Automation Anywhere has divided its channel landscape into several large buckets of partners. The company first initiated its channel business in India with ‘Sell To’ partners – those who buy large amount of licenses and deploy it for their customers in the back office such as Infosys, Genpact and many more. The second bucket is alliances and advisories such as the PWC, KPMG, EY and Deloitte and their fortune 100-500 customers.
The third bucket is comprised of ‘Sell Through’ partners or resellers for the volume business, followed by value-added distributors (VADs) such as Techdata and Ingram Micro. Another segment of the channel is technology alliances, wherein the company integrates its solutions with third-party vendors like IBM, Microsoft & AWS for their cloud capabilities. The last bucket includes training partners. In this ecosystem, globally, the company has around 840 partners today and it has set a great ambition to sign around 1500 to 2000 partners by the end of this year.
For Automation Anywhere, the top 26 bunch of Service provider/BPO partners are its biggest revenue generators as they buy licenses worth millions of dollars.
“With the existing 2,000+ direct workforce, we can only hit new markets, regions, and segments, globally through our channels. We are a customer-first company, but yet we are partner preferred, we want our channels to drive more revenues for us. Being a Customer First and selling direct, we changed our approach and started stressing more on our channel business in 2016. Today, combining our direct sales and indirect business, these large buckets contribute to about 50 per cent of the company’s revenue. But we are aiming to scale it up to 70-30 in favour of the channels, because that is how we will scale as a company,” he says.
Today, the company has a successful channel program – Automation Anywhere Advantage. Based on the channel revenue commitment, it allows the channels to decide which role they want to play on the ladder. On the customer front, in the BFSI space, 70 per cent of the top 200 are its customers and more than 10 per cent are doing PoC. Currently, 22+ of the top 50 named account are its customers.
When asked where the mid segment of channel fits in, Thyagarajan explains, “We are barely scratching the mid segment or the SMB space. A lot of enterprises are now jumping into the RPA bandwagon. Not confined to RPA, some are looking beyond RPA for Analytics and Cognitive solutions given that processing semi structured and unstructured data poses a significant challenge. There are hundreds of companies where operations and their process are yet to become digital. We work with them as part of our transformation and consulting approach. We start with RPA alone and make sure we scale within six months to one year. The journey is not very easy. It’s all about converting operations into a digital mindset and implementing our digital workforce. Our focus is heavy on the Indian market, be it PSUs, corporates, public sector, and state governments.”
Services promise big buck for channels
Since the sales cycle and PoC takes 30-60 days of a waiting period for the partners when they pitch RPA solutions to mid-segment customers. It is logical for partners to invest in the services business. “We don’t have off-the-shelf products. Hence, you need professional services developers and process architects to write a bot. Today, in terms of the market size of services, India alone will contribute about billion dollars in professionals services revenue. For partners, the licenses to services ratio is around 1:5. Every dollar worth of license that a partner sells can translate into 5-10x of the services revenue. The name of the game for partners is on professional services. We encourage our partners to have a small implementation army and do the deployment. Partners make more money than license margins,” he states.
Training and certification is another big area the company wants its partners to focus on. It provides 360 enablement programs and 80 per cent of the training is around building robust bots. It enables partners to set up Center’s of Excellence(CoE) for better customer services. It has around 120 CoEs in India alone.