Today’s Thought Leadership Blog Series guest is Wilton Rogers III, an RPA Influencer, Automation Business Analyst, Founder of Scale Through Automation, and trusted ElectroNeek partner who has helped many businesses to find their way to improving their organizations through automation.
Wilton has been a professional entrepreneur for over 25 years. Decades of trial and error have allowed him to gain a deeper understanding of the best business practices and technologies. Now Wilton is one of the leaders in the emerging RPA and global digital transformation movement.
We have had an exceptional opportunity to learn more about Wilton’s road to success, discussed the best tactics of facing challenges while adopting automation in an organization, and revealed the potential of RPA that makes it so lucrative to Managed Service Providers.
Could you tell us more about your career path? What has brought you to RPA?
I have been a business owner for over 25 years, owned and operated six different businesses in five different industries. My hobby was working for a business, then opening mine in the same industry, and then selling it. After a couple of times of doing this, and a couple of failed ventures, I got bored and thought that I would do something that helps businesses to grow and give me reason to keep doing it. I wanted something I would be passionate about.
That’s when I got introduced to RPA.
I started working for a Houston-based company as a VP of sales and marketing . When I started working for them, I realized that I was working in the enterprise world. I was talking to a bunch of corporate offices, enterprise companies that thought they knew everything and wanted to be on their way.
“I talked to different vendors on how I can cater to the SMB market. A lot of them shrugged me off, obviously, because the price range was just too high. And then one of my employees told me to look into ElectroNeek. We saw the ElectroNeek team in action: they literally were finding a solution to any of our questions in 24 to 48 hours. At that moment I thought, “OK, these guys are really doing something that has never been done before.”
But what I wanted was to make a real impact on small- and medium-sized businesses.
Actually, I was told over and over that RPA is not going to work in small- or medium-sized businesses as they do not have the finances that enterprise companies do. By that time, I had already decided to figure it all out by myself.
So I quit that job, moved with my family from Houston back to New Mexico, and started over in 2019.
The first thing I did was talk to different vendors on how I can cater to the SMB market. A lot of them shrugged me off, obviously, because the price range was just too high. And then one of my employees told me to look into ElectroNeek.
We tested the solution for a couple of months, we saw the ElectroNeek team in action: they literally were finding a solution to any of our questions in 24 to 48 hours. At that moment I thought, “OK, these guys are really doing something that has never been done before.”
So I reached out to the founders and said, “I want to know more about you guys and your vision, to see what you could do on the software end.”
After having the conversation with ElectroNeek’s founders, I realized they were going to help us impact the market that we were focusing on. This was a match made in heaven.
Now, with ElectroNeek, we generate more business than we’ve ever had. But apart from that, we’ve also got a market that we’ve never been in. Now we are one hundred percent in. And I personally got involved because I really saw how RPA can help small- and medium-sized businesses overnight.
Your career path proves the fact that you like challenging the status quo. Could you give us some examples of doing that for the clients in the RPA business?
We were working on one such case a couple of months ago. There was a gentleman who had a business for like twenty years and he was running it a certain way. And when I was talking to him, I tried to deliver a message to him that in order for you to grow, you need to change the way your system is because it’s your spending.
I told him, “OK, you can automate all those areas, and if your employees who you’ve had for ten, fifteen years start sharing the experiences with their customers, with your clients, with the world, don’t you think your return is going to be a lot bigger? Because now you have people that are a part of your family. For the last ten, fifteen years, they’ve been sharing your story all over the world because you have history here, and the history is not going to be told if your employees have their heads down. Let us take care of that so they can pick their head up and start talking about who you are. They will be more engaged, and can actually impact your business in a much bigger way that they do now.”
And it was at that point that he was all in, and since that conversation, we have built and deployed four processes and are working on the fifth.
Many top managers face reluctance from the team members when it comes to innovation changes. What tactics could you advise top managers and CEOs to employ when addressing those concerns?
One of the questions that always comes up is whether employees are going to lose their jobs.
And what I always say to this is that automation has actually been here for hundreds of years. I give an example of Henry Ford and one of the stories of the times when they were building a couple of cars a week because they were building them piece by piece.
But once they built that moving assembly line, they started building and selling a lot more cars, getting a lot more business, and got a lot more employees. Employers got paid more because they were working in a specific area.
That’s exactly how RPA works. Once you understand what you can automate, you’re going to be able to have your employees be more creative and innovative. So, they will be able to have more weight internally.
We have skills, but because we’re hiding behind desks and doing random, repetitive processes, those skills are silent. Once you open your employees up and give them the voice to be able to speak their minds, you’ll be amazed at what they can do.
Second, when we start working with a prospect, we show them something very simple. We say, “Let’s work on low-hanging fruit, something that’s not going to be very impactful at all. It might take just a few hours a week away (maybe an hour a day away) from somebody. Let’s work on that because two things are going to happen: you’re going to see the benefits of value out of it right away (and that’s the main thing) and you’re also going to be educated on exactly what RPA can do. And then you start identifying the areas, the business. And when you’re educated on that, you already have ideas of what kind of person they are, how that staff member or employee can be used in other areas of the business. And, more than likely, they’re going to be thanking you for taking that stress of having to do these repetitive tasks away from them.”
“The main thing that RPA brings is that it allows you to work on the front end of the business, the creativity of your business, the vision of your business. It allows you to free up that time that you were spending on it – physically and mentally.”
So those are some of the tactics that we’ve used just to make sure that when we’re talking to the person in charge of the decision making, they have a clear understanding that RPA is not here to replace anyone. That’s not the point. The point is to show exactly how this can make the company grow by allowing employees to be more impactful. That’s why, at first, we show the low-hanging fruit so the clients can actually start seeing that.
Apart from that, they’ll see the trust that they can have in us and how we develop it in the timeframe that we can do it in.
How do you usually explain the benefits of automating the process to business owners? What doubts and concerns do you face most often?
I think the main thing that RPA brings is that it allows you to work on the front end of the business, the creativity of your business, the vision of your business. It allows you to free up that time that you were spending on it – physically and mentally. And when you can mentally take your mind away from these processes, it allows you to focus one hundred percent on something completely different because this is no longer a problem for you. That mental impact that it has is huge, and people really don’t understand how big that is. You don’t have to walk into work and think, “OK, I’ve got to do this again.” All that mentally takes you away from your total vision, a total impact that you’re going to have on the company because you’re locked in on what you have to do. And when you can take that away and get that out of employees’ minds completely, that takes the creativity to a whole different level.
They get fresh air and they can do something brand new and more creative. It just makes a huge difference.
People always talk about RPA, but they don’t talk about what it does for people mentally. It literally frees up one hundred percent of that time that they were doing that. And whether that is one hour a week or one hour a day, five hours a day, it doesn’t matter – they can use that time for something totally different.
Some people even quit their job because of such repetitive tasks they do all the time…
Yeah. And when you take those tasks away and value them differently, they feel important. They feel like what they’re doing is making a difference to their company.
What would you recommend to people considering automation to do first?
Basically, depending on what industry a client is in, we actually just give them some information that will relate to them, not just something general.
“A lot of consulting firms, and individuals already understand business processes their clients are having issues with. When these individuals can really understand what RPA is, every time they have a conversation with their clients, they will be ready to bring up a solution to them.”
We send them use cases or articles that make a little bit of difference just so they can get the lightbulbs over their heads and think of the processes they can try implementing. And once they get a better understanding, we send them a questionnaire where we ask them to tell us more about the process they think can be automated. To put it succinctly, first we consult, we educate, because we want them to have a clear understanding of what it is, as once they do they will get a clear understanding that it’s to their benefit.
So my recommendation would be: before starting automation, do your research and find somebody who knows the industry because being able to find someone that can guide you the right way and give you the information that you need will get you there faster.
Why do you think RPA has so much potential for technology consultants or MSPs to pay attention to it?
Well, first of all, I think it’s important because a lot of leaders, a lot of consulting firms, and individuals already understand business processes a lot of their clients are having issues with, or they’re having internal problems with. When these individuals can really understand what RPA is, every time they have a conversation with their clients, they will be ready to bring up a solution to them.
“Reaching out to consultants has been our number one priority. For them, RPA is new software. When you educate them about it, they understand it and they want to be one hundred percent in because the impact of RPA on the businesses they already work with is simply huge. “
What we’re doing is reaching out to individuals that have been business consultants for years and educating them because they’re the ones who have already built that trust in that working relationship with those businesses.
And when they can educate them on something like this, they’re going to be able to identify issues a lot faster because, from their past conversations, they could probably identify other areas like, “Oh, by the way, this company can use that because they had issues doing such and such.” They already know them like family.
For us, reaching out to consultants has been our number one priority. For them, RPA is new software. But when you really educate them about it, they understand it and they want to be one hundred percent in because the impact of RPA on the businesses they already work with is simply huge.
We launched this Thought Leaders blog series as we at Electroneek strongly believe that any automations are driven by human genius. Having such extensive experience in the field of constant business processes improvement, could you share some tips on how to succeed in such a constantly changing industry?
“I challenge the status quo because I don’t believe that you have to reengineer everything in order for something to start working better. I believe that if it’s not broken, don’t fix it – just automate it. And after it’s automated, then you fix it. This approach allowed us to get to small and medium-sized businesses a lot faster because they don’t have time to change things. But once we automate something and they see the power of RPA, they start saying, “OK, how can you make it more productive?”
I will go back to one of the previous questions and say that I challenge the status quo because I don’t believe that you have to reengineer everything in order for something to start working better. I believe that if it’s not broken, don’t fix it – just automate it. And after it’s automated, then you fix it.
So what I mean by that is whatever the process a business is doing, we just take what they’ve already been doing and we find the areas that we can automate. We don’t change anything.
And that will get them deployed right away because they already have a system in place. We don’t want to change that. But once it’s built, and once it’s deployed and already active, then we start identifying areas that we can improve so that we can make it a lot more beneficial and productive.
And what we found out by doing this is that it’s allowed us to really get to the small- and medium-sized businesses a lot faster because they don’t like change. They’ve already been doing it for a while. They wear many hats. They don’t have time to really change things. They don’t want those things to be automated.
But once we automate something and they see the power of RPA, at that point, that’s when they start saying, “OK, now how can you make it better? How can you make it more productive?” And that’s when we get to work. That’s how we’ve seen our company, our businesses grow, and get more involved. RPA makes that more of a priority, because anything that you do traditionally can be automated and you don’t have to change anything. But when you do automate it, figure out how to make it better.
So that’s been our approach and it’s been successful.