Vuram empowers enterprises to seamlessly enable digital transformation, business predictability and sustainability through its cutting-edge technology suite encompassing Process Mining, Process Re-engineering & Implementation, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Business Intelligence (BI).
In an e-interaction with Gairika Mitra, Venkatesh Ramarathinam, CEO, Vuram, mentions about the current happenings in the IT ecosystem, how are organisations coping up with it, and also is Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and automation playing a key role here?
What are the major effects of Covid-19 with regard to the Robotic Process Automation market?
The current global pandemic has certainly accelerated the importance of companies to have nimble processes and effective technology systems to carry out their business. Our work habits are certainly changing and it is imperative for companies to take advantage of the new ways of working. We have all realised that enterprise business can continue with people not seeing each other for days and even months together. A common challenge faced by organisations is quick access to their information which generally is stored across multitude of systems and in some cases as papers on people’s desks. Organisations are now spending more time in meetings to get updates and make decisions. People have become busier than before. We may not be doing “more” work, but we are certainly taking more time to do the same work. This is where a technology like Robotic Process Automation comes into play. RPA tools can immensely help bridge the information gap where data is stored across systems. Or where it takes a person to copy data from a paper to a system, or from one system to another. RPA also comes in handy to automate, many of the repetitive tasks that do not require human intelligence. While RPA alone may not be the solution to help organisations become truly digital, it certainly is an important component of the solution stack.
What are the immediate challenges to the IT Industry from the COVID-19 fallout and how can we deal with it?
The IT sector, especially companies providing implementation and managed services are yet to see the real impact from the COVID situation. Some companies in the automation/digital transformation space might also see an acceleration in their growth. But in general, there is a feeling that the real impact will be seen towards the later part of the year. As of July 2020, we are about 4 full months into the COVID situation. Some countries have started opening up. Governments of few countries have rallied behind their industries to keep the economy ticking. What we may be missing is the subtle change in people’s behaviour. These subtle changes would take time before they cause higher reverberations that start impacting the wider economy. At this stage, organisations are either on a holding pattern on their technology spend (and other capital expenses), or are continuing with the key lights on. Some are looking at newer initiatives to adapt to the new ways of work, or are launching new products to gain market share. But there is certainly uncertainty which will slow down the tech spend by a good majority of the companies. The repercussions of this uncertainty will take time before it hits the IT industry.
IT companies can stay afloat, or even race ahead if they strategize well and adapt to the current situation. While cloud has been quite pervasive and most companies have their systems running on the cloud, the applications themselves were built assuming people being in close proximity or a human contact – be it a person walking into a bank, or an insurance adjuster physically evaluating a home, or a surveyor reviewing a piece of land in person. All these applications can now be redesigned assuming zero human contact – omnichannel interaction, chatbots, AI, drones, IoT, Augmented Reality – the potential is huge. We are looking at immense opportunities for major disruption in the enterprise tech segment.
What are the different technology trends that will drive the IT industry?
The current COVID situation has prompted many organisations to deconstruct and reconstruct their businesses. Organisations across sectors will now come up with new strategies and ideas to stay relevant, to cater to the newer areas of demand. A few industries that will undergo major changes include Education, Entertainment, Government, Healthcare (public, private and individual) and Distributed work collaboration (which applies to all sectors). Process discovery and mining, interactive AI drive customer service, straight-through processing driven by intelligent voice, character, image recognition, intelligence drive decision making, and data security tools and application would all witness innovation as product companies start developing solutions for very specific use cases across various sectors.
Governments across the globe will look for better solutions and ideas to facilitate better public health. Developing countries would be faster to adopt new technology and with the new systems these countries will provide faster turnaround times, improved efficiency and transparency in the process. This is one sector primed for innovation, especially in the developing economies.
Service organisations will look to innovate and come up with newer delivery models and service offerings such as quick time to market delivery and assurance programs.
What do you think would be the likely impact on the IT industry and their employees after the suspension of visas by Trump?
The IT industry has always found ways to innovate, to stay relevant, and adapt at a fast pace. For a few years now, the major companies have adopted a policy to recruit local talent from the countries they operate. With COVID-19 also teaching us that we all don’t have to be in the office every day, and whether we are a few blocks apart or miles away in different countries, as long as we get on to a web conference call and have our videos on, business continues as usual. With remote work now being a norm, we are bound to see an increase in outsourcing. Organisations that mandated that people be inside the office premises, will become more flexible to operate under broader security guidelines that encompass remote work.
What would be the likely impact on productivity in IT industries when half of the employees are working from home?
From a workforce perspective, people are happy to be back home. Good food, home conditions, good habits, better cost of living, zero commutes, lesser exposure to pollution – a lot of factors are in favor of people preferring to work from home. People would still prefer to be in the office, feed into the social cravings of humans every so often. But we may never see the entire company working from office again, especially in the IT sector. Gone are the days where multiple levels of approval were needed for people to work from home. We may see a situation where people would need the approval to work from the office.
As work from home becomes the new normal, companies that have strict monitoring and controls in place would need to adapt to less stringent tracking measures. While working from home, people would need the flexibility to manage their work per their timelines. Clocking in and out, deducting pay for lesser hours in the cubicle and such need to be relaxed. We may see good talent migrate towards more people-friendly companies. Companies with trust-based culture will see their people being more productive. A lot will depend on the company leadership at all levels to elevate the team morale, keep the team motivated and focused at all times. Companies might start investing more in home office setup for their people.