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HRx Radio – Executive Conversations: On Friday mornings, John Sumser interviews key executives from around the industry. The conversation covers what makes the executive tick and what makes their company great.

HRx Radio – Executive Conversations

Guest: Richard Milam, EnableSoft
Episode: 315
Air Date: February 22, 2019




Important: Our transcripts at HRExaminer are AI-powered (and quite accurate) but there are still instances where the robots get confused and make errors. Please expect some inaccuracies as you read through the text of this conversation. Thank you for your understanding.

File Length: 00:20:08


John Sumser, HRExaminer
Richard Milam, founder and CEO of EnableSoft, an RPA company


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FULL TRANSCRIPT (with timecode)

00:00:28:21 – 00:00:41:10
Good morning and welcome to HRExaminer’s Executive Conversations, I’m your host John Sumser and today we’re going to be talking with Richard Milam from Enablesoft. EnableSoft is a company that delivers robotic process automation, and today we’re going to learn about what RPA is and what you can do to get some. Good morning Richard, how are you? Good morning John. Good to be with you again. So, why don’t you take a moment and introduce yourself and tell us how you got here.

00:00:43:01 – 00:02:56:01
Richard Mylan founder and CEO of the EnableSoft one of the companies that has robotic process automation in the market creating business outcomes. We were created the company twenty five years ago to build technology to help financial institutions solutions migrate data that was having to be input manually and this grew into what you know in the last five years has become the robotic process automation or software robot software that operates other software like a human does revolution RPA has got its kind of boost. Five years ago because of the outsourcing companies that were outsourcing jobs overseas that were manual data processes experienced very a rise in wages overseas expenses got high there the data security issues became amplified because of data breaches and so the idea of having robots in your business do the work instead of shipping it overseas became very very cool thing. John and it’s it’s you know it’s growing to be a five billion dollar industry the next few years. And so software robots are all over the place robotic process automation is used by certainly all the Fortune 500 businesses and now into the middle market as well. And we have customers in 15 different industries although most of our customers are in financial institutions or health care institutions. And so this technology enables businesses to automate processes in the hand where the humans had to do a lot of stuff that was involved structured data and business rules and fingers on a keyboard. So those three things are in place you can usually use a robotic process automation technology to automate those processes help create a digital enterprise which is required to engage in the out of hand tell Artificial Intelligence Industrial Revolution that’s about ten years on the horizon are unique.

00:02:56:01 – 00:02:59:27
Go ahead I interrupted, I apologize.

00:02:59:28 – 00:03:34:03
I was just going to say we’re where we’re different here’s our technology versus being built for I.T. to deploy in mass is built for the subject matter expert or citizen developer if you will to create these automation themselves keeping the human close in the loop which is now five years into this RPA movement is makes us look like a visionary because it’s becoming clear that the humans need to be very closely involved with the robots to expand their use deploy them and keep them controlled.

00:03:35:04 – 00:03:47:22
So let’s dig a little deeper into what RPA is exactly how do I know when it’s possible to install the automated process. Sure.

00:03:47:22 – 00:04:58:02
So three things I mentioned earlier. If there is there’s the process involves as a human being and a keyboard using structured data that means that data that’s not a free form like an email or a document a free form document but structured data where there’s a name column and an address column the account number column and an account column. So fingers on a keyboard structure data and the third thing is where the business rules to do that process to input that data to make decisions to look a certain table data that can be put into the robot to say if it’s Florida it’s this code if it’s California it’s this code so structure data fingers on a keyboard and business rules that can be captured in the robot. So if those three things exist in the process it’s very likely that you can take a technology like ours called Foxtrot RPA and automate it safely unaccountably release the human being from the road brute force manual processes put them in charge as thinkers and automakers and help the business grow. Got it.

00:04:58:04 – 00:05:12:15
So you need to have I don’t understand the pricing and sort of return on investment, so do you need to have a number of processes in your organization to start working with RPA or could you do it with just a single process.

00:05:12:27 – 00:06:28:26
Yet we’ve seen many many times where a single process justifies the cost for the first year. Most businesses are like us say licenses software as a service so this annual fee every year. But the pricing is widely varied based on how the robots are deployed and created and that sort of stuff. So I won’t get into that. But yes the short answer is we see many many instances where the first proof of concept of the first use case justifies the least of financial expense. You know there’s always other intangibles when you implement new technology and a learning curve you got to have the people available to deploy it or pay for the services to do that. So if you can if you can put numbers on those and calculate narrowly for example health care companies Steward Health Care very large health care firm and have Phoenix’s the CEO there and Troy Smith is on record as saying that he’s been at it about three years with our technology getting sometimes 60 to 1 return on investment depending on the application and he’s measured that very carefully. But saving millions of dollars every year with probably about 50 robots software.

00:06:29:14 – 00:06:54:20
So can you help me expand through the sizes and complexity of a project that takes two to have a mix so so is tens of thousands of transactions a year or 20 steps in complexity. I understand if I’m a good candidate for RPA? Right, good question.

00:06:54:20 – 00:10:09:09
So it depends on the process right and what the limitations on the time frame to do the process are. So there is a nonprofit in Georgia that had a requirement to campaign or all their donor information in the 24 hour period. That is the first day of the year. And so they had to hire 30 to 40 people to come in and see that information that day they were able to automate that with a rope with with Foxtrot RPA and eliminate the need for all those temps being hired. So that that redeemed almost 5 percent of their total revenue which is what a nonprofit usually has to operate on in free data for other operations. So doesn’t need to be tens of thousands it could be hundreds. It depends on the case how long it takes what the time window to do things are what it’s costing you as an organization when the when the the inaccuracy occur that are caused by human interactions because humans get bored and have short attention spans specially in these days. So when you have a machine doing it at least it’s going to do it the same way every time you told it. And oftentimes those mistakes aren’t found into you impact a stakeholder and it affects your business. So that’s really hard to measure but it’s very costly. So those are things need to be taken into account as well as with basic numbers. But our our best estimate is that by the time you take a hefty full time equivalent and you train them equip them with technology and provide them and office space it’s costing you about fifty five thousand dollars a year. So if that mine and you can free up that person to do other higher level tasks and and create more automation as a understand and learn and the math is very quick to reassure that you don’t need to have a lot of huge transaction flows to justify this. So should I be afraid of RPA is going to come and destroy jobs? Yeah, NO more afraid than automobiles we’re going to destroy jobs and eliminate the people that ran horse stables. It just changes the first three industrial revolutions had this kind of effect and this is the robots are the are the forerunners of the Fourth Industrial Revolution which is artificial intelligence. So yeah the workplace is changing and people have to move with it. If you if people’s so capabilities is is looking to data on spreadsheets and keying in a computer yes they are. Their jobs are going to be changed. But I would tell you in twenty-five years of doing this I’ve never seen an institution or in our company massive layoff massive people because they’re automating things as they they may. Attrition them over time. But you know it is not an on off switch it’s a process and a culture change in the organization so no you don’t need to be afraid. In our prior conversations you have made the case that what really happens here is you need the human machine partnership.

00:10:09:24 – 00:13:03:18
How does that work. What is it. Yes. So machines are very powerful but they’re they’re not smart people if people tell you that they’re selling you a smart machine today. Be very wary of that and I’m the only real artificial intelligence that’s ready for prime time as is today his voice recognition and facial recognition is coming along behind that the rest of it being still being developed. And so if you’re dealing with a robot that is a software robot I’m talking about of course the human needs to keep the keep it in the line keep on doing the job and need to do what even if finds mistakes or things things that it was told to do that it can’t do because there is an exception a human being able to readjust the robot and keep the process going is a good thing because it keeps keeps you moving at the speed of business. And the more you have the people closest to the work working with the robot to create those processes maybe with the assistance of I.T. or a Center of Excellence for robotic process automation the faster these automation are going to go because what the industry is finding out five years into this is that scheme is the scalability where the business. Every business has thousands of robots is not com because I.T. are basically the back office not not the subject matter experts who are deploying the robots and they’re not close to the problems and it’s hard to mass steel robots if you don’t understand the problems and what to do about them and how to change the process and how to reprogram the robot when the process is different than you expect. So Gardner and many other research firms are about the role of the citizen developer in automation which is person close to the problem. In other words a an operations person that that is trained on the technology and able to deploy solutions themselves maybe it’s managed by a center of excellence involving I.T. and the corporate data governance people but it’s still the citizen developer and then the lines of businesses are actually spending about 40 percent of the I.T. budget. And so I’d say so that’s because the lines of business have to move at the speed of business and they can wait for I.T. to develop solutions when they already have an 18 month backlog. So those are the big trends that are affecting how the robots and the humans need to work together robots and technology to help the business. And those trends are evidence that when you put technology in the hand you partner technology with the human citizen developers subject matter expert knowledge worker whatever you want to call them things just work out better faster that’s interesting.

00:13:03:18 – 00:13:36:14
So. So now I have a worker and I’ve got amongst my employees a robot. The robot does exactly what I tell it to do and it won’t stop until I tell it to stop. Which is kind of the worst imaginable type of employee you could have because things change. And so as the robot Bosch would do interviews to tell it to change and how do I know that please.

00:13:37:03 – 00:14:29:18
Well as you can expect it’s not as simple as it is as it looks like there. The robots can actually be told to look for certain situations or certain items on a screen if you will when it presses the anarchy day and put some data or and if it’s not there it says I just I didn’t get the result I was looking for. I don’t know what to do you can tell a robot to do a number of things you can have it stop and say say a word to you say the computer say a word to you. You can have it send an email a text slack or you can have it log it and go past that record and keep on working and then the human can look at the exception logs in those records and figure out what happened and take care of it manually or re readjusted the robot process does that make sense.

00:14:29:18 – 00:14:31:27
Sure. Well I have sort of a starting point.

00:14:32:04 – 00:15:24:21
Yeah but the kinds of processes that you’re talking about how sort of routine variations imposed by regulatory agencies or changes in the way the business sees itself or bright new ideas about how to onboard people. So so the question is more like how to get your arms around what it takes to do the adjustment that’s necessary to keep the robotic process relevant and on track over time. Right. So the first one those exceptions and that’s great. But there’s the other thing which is understanding what drove those well enough to understand how to improve it when circumstances require improvement. Yes. So how do you do that.

00:15:25:18 – 00:16:22:06
Well you first you have to recognize when you when you automate anything with a robot you’re creating a certain amount of what we call technical debt cry because things might change. The systems they operate with might change. There might be new regulatory requirements as you change so you kind of. That’s where the human are in the center of excellence comes into know the process you’re automating how they process the workflows being documented so that when when there’s a an impact that either from externally because systems change or from the government because regulatory requirements change that that you go reengineer the process or alter the process or replace the process that you’ve automated with the robot. And so the faster you can do that I just want to know how do you can react and the technology lets you react the more nimble you can be.

00:16:22:14 – 00:16:34:21
So what does it take to get it started. I want to install a smart company. What do I need to know to get there. How do I do that.

00:16:35:15 – 00:17:45:06
Well I would suggest it first you have a conversation with your stakeholders and get them on board was doing OK. Give them some education and when RPA is and what it can do come up with some what I call low hanging fruit or sweet spots for automation. Then find the technology that is geared towards the citizen developers like ours and get together with a company like ours and take those those use cases that you’re looking at automating him kind of do a proof of concept. And I’m talking I’m not talking about three months I’m talking about in our case a few hours where we can destroy the technology in your environment through a web meeting course sign whatever indication things need to be done and show you how it works. Teach you how to how you would automate something prove that it will work in your environment and then start to acquire the technology if appropriate and then start automating and start educating your team and start plotting how how you’re going to progressed to becoming a digital enterprise services space.

00:17:45:06 – 00:17:55:26
This sounds like a good entry point where you’re going to be more sophisticated intelligence tools that are right on the horizon. I know your customers do this.

00:17:56:25 – 00:18:46:23
Yes. Yes. You know and we don’t have any customers using much of a I today we have some customers that are doing some well it’s called natural language processing or they’re pulling structured data out of unstructured data. So but that’s common. These two these technologies are going to be developing fast and become commercially available so now that you’ve got a digital enterprise and then you can take advantage of artificial intelligence to improve the customer experience because there’s really no reason to use artificial intelligence. And then then now you’ve got kind of a machine you’ve even got a foundation to figure out how you deploy this new game changing technology that’s going to be going to be coming down the pike within the next 10 years.

00:18:46:23 – 00:19:03:15
That’s amazing so. So if I want to get in touch with you and get started talking about doing this inside of our systems how do I do that to really get over go to our Web site enable soft dot com.

00:19:03:15 – 00:19:15:12
That’s e-n-a-b-l-e-s-o-f-t dot com and that’s a contact us in one of our customer success people being touched to discuss how what the next steps are for you.

00:19:15:25 – 00:19:24:27
So it’s great talking with you Richard. Thanks for doing this. Would you take a moment to reintroduce yourself. We’ll give people coming your way.

00:19:24:27 – 00:19:36:06
Great. Richard Milam founder and CEO of EnableSoft, developers and employers and makers of Foxtrot robotic process automation. You can reach us it enables soft dot com.

00:19:36:06 – 00:19:54:01
Thanks John. Thanks very much. It’s been great talking with you. You’ve been listening to HRExaminer’s Executive Conversations and we’ve been talking with Richard Milam of EnableSoft an RPA company. Thanks for tuning in and we will see you here next week same time


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