Uday Sanghani: RPA Legend on Automation Capital of Future and 4 Elements of Success

Uday Sanghani: RPA Legend on Automation Capital of Future and 4 Elements of Success

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We are keeping on sharing the industry insights from Uday Sanghani, Global Digital Leader, Intelligent Automation & Emerging Technologies, Industry Influencer, and NASSCOM Council Committee Member. 

Uday Sanghani has led global portfolios at KPMG, EY, Accenture, and DELL, and it is only a small portion of his industry achievements. 

Previously, we have published the first part of the interview with Uday Sanghani, where he has shared his thoughts on blind spots in implementing automation in a company and the bots that are expected to become the new types of workers in the ever-changing technology world.

The second part is devoted to the regional differences of spreading emerging technologies across the world and our guest’s personal approach to constant professional growth.

RPA and ML have proven to be extremely beneficial for various businesses. But what are the possible threats and risks while implementing these technologies?

I would divide my response into 2 sections: 

The 1st section refers to RPA, ML models, chatbots or conversational intelligence, and analytics with certain AI elements. 

And the 2nd is everything related to advanced AI intelligence, which potentially can replace humans.

So the 1st section is happening now. Everybody is ready to embrace it, whether it is VR, AR, Internet of things, AI in a format of ML, conversational intelligence, chatbots, OCR, scanners, they are all in work. It is a part of our business operations. It is vital to incorporate it for the business, people, for the advancement of our organizations, it’s an integral part of our business. The challenge is the time to train, to test the model, and successfully implement it. You need to give enough time and attention to this technology to deliver to your requirements. If you can govern it, give it enough time to undergo training and testing, and change your people’s perspective, then the challenges are only momentarily.

Now let’s talk about advanced artificial intelligence, which always implies huge investments and spending millions of dollars. That models are going to create higher significance, higher value based on massive amounts of data. But they are also going to take a lot of time before they are stabilized in a corporation. It has been widely used in pharmaceuticals, hospitals, mortgage companies, banks. So there is a considerable amount of investments in it and a massive strategy of future benefits. But it yet has not entirely replaced the human factor. So I would say that the main challenges are related to the enormous investments in it and the fact that the ROI, acceptability, and benefits will come over a while. It is something that only huge companies and conglomerates may afford.

”creating a CoE especially when it comes to large and medium-sized companies when you have reached a particular skill and increased on the velocity of creation of your assets, becomes very important”.

One of your specialties is setting up Automation Centres of Excellence. In your opinion, what is the most crucial thing in creating Centres of Excellence? Can RPA or AI systems be implemented in large companies without creating CoEs, and what are the threats of ignoring CoEs?

I have built world-class CoEs within my earlier company. We were managing a large number of bots and assets across the globe from the CoE. We also moved some assets to the cloud over time and started managing them while on the cloud. So I could say that creating a CoE especially when it comes to large and medium-sized companies when you have reached a particular skill and increased on the velocity of creation of your assets, becomes very important and has a lot of benefits:

First of all, it would bring a certain amount of standardization and become a controller to ensure that the bots went through sanity check and quality control before going to production.

Secondly, it would ensure the perfect knowledge transfer from a developer to people who will support and maintain the bots. That is the most crucial and critical period. As if the knowledge transfer has not been done in a very structured way, then there is a possibility of leakage of information or knowledge. And therefore, it is essential to hand over the bot to someone very good at managing the bot as a supportive or maintenance executive in your command center.

CoE takes care of all aspects of automation: licenses and optimization, bot optimizations, VMs, databases, and cloud management. 

Managing, supporting, measuring, and sustaining the bots’ sound performance is of critical importance for CoE. In case of failures, CoE is a kind of guarantee for a business that there is always a system that monitors the bots in production and takes care of the process instantly when something goes wrong. 

You have contributed and keep contributing a lot to India’s fast-paced development as one of the most prominent players in the innovations market. Could you tell us more about what exactly is happening in the AI and Robotics space in India? What kind of recent developments can be of the most interest for the people outside India?

In India, there is no single boardroom discussion that happens without discussing automation. There are five sectors that we see are widely accepting automation: banking, financial services, and insurance is the first sector. The second would be retail, entertainment, and the telecommunications industry, especially when it comes to large call centers. They all use conversational intelligence or chatbots to engage with a customer. There is also an Industrial and Automotive industry with a lot of manufacturing units that are proliferating in terms of automation. And pharmaceuticals, utility, and energy companies. 

Cutting across industries automation has also impacted enabling services, such as HR services in cross organizations and sectors, financial and accounting services, and procurement. These enabling services are getting automated. India is accepting lots of these technologies. Not just India, but Singapore, some areas of Middle Asia. But I could say that India takes the lead in the field of automation.

Comparing 2 technological powers, what are the key differences between Indian and the US market of Robotics, AI, and ML?

The Americas are much ahead of the industry, as they are looking at more cognitive solutions, machine learning. Companies implement more analytics around bots, supporting the CEOs in making better decisions. Australia and the Americas are far ahead. They are looking for truly more advanced solutions. And they have use cases which are crucial in this industry. They are also ready to invest. 

Still, on the subject of geographical dimension of RPA and AI development, what regions, in your opinion, are going to show the most significant growth? 

I certainly look at India as an automation capital of the world. I can see it happening today. So I believe that India will be the one. 

“according to estimates released by NASSCOM, AI could contribute $957 billion to India’s economy by 2035, with agriculture, education, healthcare, and infrastructure as the primary sectors benefiting from it. … According to predictions from Microsoft India, this number is expected to shoot up to 60% by 2021”.

During one of the expert talks in August 2019 on Artificial intelligence in Government & Public Services, you said that AI might play a significant role in disaster management and crisis. Now we are in 2020, and a massive crisis is associated with COVID-19 in many countries. What could you say about the role of AI and automation in this specific case?

According to estimates released by NASSCOM, AI could contribute $957 billion to India’s economy by 2035, with agriculture, education, healthcare, and infrastructure as the primary sectors benefiting from it. … According to predictions from Microsoft India, this number is expected to shoot up to 60% by 2021.

Public administration has adopted information and communication technology to construct new intelligent systems and design new risk prevention strategies. 

The potential for increased productivity and work, as well as a blended workforce, can provoke excitement and anxiety. For many, considering the benefits of productivity and improved quality, the choice to automate seems obvious. However, to others, the introduction of AI often brings trepidation and resistance, primarily around the loss of a job or a significant change in work. Leaders and managers may not know how to begin to implement AI as there are no readily discernable toolkits that provide a blueprint for successful implementation and adoption. These factors can impede and potentially stall the adoption of AI. 

The adoption of AI in various business sectors is rapidly emerging but is still in its early stages in government and not-for-profits. However, these sectors are not immune to the change and disruption being driven through AI. For example, the non-profit industry may be pressured to use AI by funders, where they expect philanthropic dollars to be used wisely. The current trends usually focus on the outcomes of programs for clients, but in the future, there may be systems to automate how the work is done. 

Partnering across non-profit organizations, to track data for individuals who use services from multiple providers, is becoming a leading practice in many areas of the public sector. This collaborative approach and AI will likely converge in the future and lead to new service delivery models. The optimism to use AI is balanced by the need to continue to have a compassionate provision of service both to those in need and to the workers displaced by the introduction of new approaches to delivering services.

Everybody’s moving in the direction of digitization, digital transformation in this post COVID period. In India, we call it Aatmanibhar, which means be self-reliant. People in India embrace automation; we see a tremendous interest so that organizations could be less dependent on the human workforce.

And artificial intelligence is beginning to be usefully deployed, and almost all industries took that research. The thing that makes me sad is that there is a kind of relentless hype around AI, and because of the hype and jargon people use, it becomes difficult for customers to relate to this technology. However, COVID made people realize what benefits the technology can bring and that it is not just some kind of magic, but it really helps focus on the problem and its impact side.

Also, it should be mentioned that in India, there are a number of self-started tech startups. Many kids on the block try to bring augmented reality, which helps humans do the jobs better by not replacing them. A bright side of COVID, if we can say so, is that it accelerated processes, and what we thought would have happened in the next 2-3 years is happening now in the last 3 months. 

”as a competent Business Operator, you always need to be attentive about your business performance. If you don’t monitor numbers, your metrics, one can’t manage one’s business and grow it. Numbers speak volumes and help you redefine your strategies to go to the market”.

Here in Electroneek we always adhere to the concept that the human genius drives any automatic processes. Having almost 30 years of experience in constant business process improvement, could you share several tips on how to succeed in such an ever-changing industry? 

My mantra has been: 

Firstly, I always understand the purpose, the objective. I start by deep diving into understanding the product I am building or advocating or implementing, especially its value proposition and the overall benefits it brings to my clients, next – the technology behind it. One needs to understand the product inside out, outside in.

To succeed, you need to make every effort to understand the customers’ problems and their pain points. Only post doing so can you provide the right solution, integrate the right pieces, the different technologies. Solutions are carved out to solve problems.

Secondly, as a competent Business Operator, you always need to be attentive about your business performance. If you don’t monitor numbers, your metrics, one can’t manage one’s business and grow it. Numbers speak volumes and help you redefine your strategies to go to the market. Performance pattern weaves a story. Be agile to course correct. Keep a continuous track of your performance numbers, assess failures, and spend time to kill the shortcomings at the grass-root level. You need to be proactive and ensure to engage every affordable channel to generate excitement for your product for your solution.

Thirdly. I believe that People’s development is crucial. One needs to coach them, guide them, and challenging them to get better at what they are doing. Everybody has good and bad days, but the intent at work is always good. As a leader, you need to ignite the passion and sense of belonging in your Team. Keep the ‘killer instinct’ alive! Every pitch should be about the Big Hairy Audacious Goal set for the Team. The Team needs to believe in your Goal.

Lastly, Value creation is most essential, in terms of continuously improving everything you do. Bringing in excellence into every action. Thinking beyond the box and being more futuristic.

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