We were thrilled to attend the UiPath Foward IV conference in Las Vegas last week, where we joined more than 2,000 attendees for an inspiring and educational dive into the future of automation.
Burgeoning Growth in the Global RPA Community
The first UiPath Forward conference, in 2017, included more than 600 attendees and presented 12 customer and partner success stories. Two years later, the event attracted more than 3,000 attendees, who participated in more than 30 sessions.
The event has again grown considerably. This year, the conference brought together automation experts from around the world, including hundreds of UiPath partners. Attendees got to participate in 12 sessions that explored the transformative power of automation for a variety of processes, organizations, and industries, from non-profits to multinational corporations.
The opportunity to connect with so many RPA professionals was just one of the many reasons that we were enthusiastic about attending UiPath Forward IV this year. Here’s a look back at some of the news and insights from the conference.
When the World Doesn’t Work, Change the World
The conference kicked off with a dramatic opening keynote address from Diego Lomanto, Vice President of Product Marketing for UiPath, and Mary Tetlow, Chief Brand Officer of UiPath. They emphasized the message that when the world falls apart, we’re called to change the world.
Automation is one (perhaps unexpected) path to changing the world. As we find ways to integrate automation into evolving work practices, we have a tangible impact on the environment, along with other less tangible impacts.
They noted that digital transformation is really taking off, and enterprise automation is a key ingredient in making that happen; Gartner has identified RPA as the fastest growing enterprise sector. The market is expected to continue growing at double-digit rates for the next several years.
Given that promising forecast, one might expect the UiPath team to rest on its laurels as Romania’s RPA unicorn. But Lomanto and Tetlow invited the audience to “take the gloves off” and share what they really think of UiPath’s platform. They noted that together, we can all realize our automation opportunities together.
Pushing Forward to the Fully Automated Enterprise
Param Kahlon, Chief Product Officer of UiPath and Ted Kummert, UiPath EVP of Products & Engineering, shared details about the next phase of UiPath. Kahlon explored the four key themes of successful innovation:
- A focus on creating enterprise-grade products with a mission-critical mindset
- Consistent platform expansion, through the addition of new features and capabilities
- Continuous discovery, which helps you find more opportunities for automation
- Semantic automation, or bridging the gap between technology and humans
Kahlon noted that UiPath emerged at the dawn of the automation era, so success required them to reimagine processes in a very different way. They recognized that achieving their goals meant achieving a fully automated enterprise. Kummert outlined the four aspects of a fully automated enterprise:
- Work that can be automated is assigned to robots.
- The organization embraces the concept of a robot for every person.
- The organization democratizes development, empowering citizen developers.
- The company incorporates AI across every aspect of work.
Kummert noted that UiPath’s next release will support and encourage the fully automated enterprise. He unveiled new features that are designed to foster the adoption of artificial intelligence throughout the business organization:
- Integration Service: Launching on October 25, Integration Service is designed to tackle the challenges associated with application sprawl. According to a recent survey, most departments use 40-60 applications, and the average company uses more than 200 apps. That fragmentation contributes to reduced productivity as users switch among different tools. UiPath’s Integration Service will help companies optimize their existing applications by automating their programming interfaces. By the end of the year, it will also include more than 70 pre-built connectors that can be used out-of-the-box.
- Built-in Endpoint Protection: UiPath also announced an exciting partnership with CrowdStrike, whose Falcon platform is designed to prevent and respond to malware and other cybersecurity attacks. It analyzes machine-generated data from all over the organization to detect potential threats. The collaboration between UiPath and CrowdStrike makes UiPath the first RPA platform to include built-in endpoint security, and it represents a novel approach to including RPA as part of an organization’s security framework.
- Cloud-based containerization: Containerization has long been popular for functions like engineering simulations, which consume and generate massive amounts of data. The new UiPath Automation Suite brings that same versatility to RPA with a cloud-native deployment option. Users can deploy UiPath servers in software containers, which can run on any type of computing platform.
Additional new features include major enhancements to process mining capabilities; semantic automation for Forms AI; and robot auto-healing.
Case Studies in RPA Success
Accenture Unleashes the Extraordinary
“They see trees all day long. It’s our job to see the forest.” Adam Burden, Chief Software Architect for Accenture explained that he loved coming up with solutions and technology to solve problems for his clients–sometimes problems they don’t even know they have. He partnered with UiPath to automate the KYC process for a regional bank–a process that’s notoriously cumbersome for both employees and customers. The result? Burden and his team learned that you can “automate the ordinary and unleash the extraordinary.”
Amazon Achieves Hypergrowth with Citizen Development
Few companies have faced the same kind of hypergrowth that Amazon has. To overcome these challenges, Amazon partnered with UiPath to automate processes across their organization, from Human Resources to Treasury. Citizen Development played a critical role in their successful automation journey, which now includes 60 processes and has saved the company nearly $3.5 million.
We started our #automation journey with @UiPath a year and a half ago and since then we’ve saved more than 300,000 hours. And it’s really just scratching the surface. @Amazon shares their success story live at #UiPathForward IV. https://t.co/wO1MdDSP8V pic.twitter.com/RfJRQ2risd
— James Droskoski (@JamesDroskoski) October 12, 2021
Coca-Cola Seeks a Seismic Change
Coca-Cola was among the first UiPath customers to embrace the Fully Automated Enterprise. Leyla Delic, Chief Information & Digital Officer for Coca-Cola Icecek, shared how her organization had to make a “seismic change” because internal inefficiencies were standing in the way of improving the customer experience. Partnering with UiPath gave her the opportunity for some quick wins to showcase how the organization could move forward. Delic noted that the organization learned that building internal IP was the only way to go far and continue to advance.
JP Morgan Digitizes Banking
In 2018, Huw Richards had a reputation as an old-school banker, but he’d already had plenty of experience with digital transformation. When he was named Global Head of Digital Investment for JP Morgan that year, his first move was to create a digital dealmaking team. It didn’t take him long to explore the possibilities of RPA. Now, his team gets trained not only as citizen developers for UiPath, but also in Python, data analytics, and relevant soft skills. By the time his employees start winning with UiPath, they’re already poised to be RPA champions.
You don’t just want to pick an #automation that’s going to be used once. You want to spread that value across the entire org. Chad Aronson at @Uber talking about how the company saved $10M at #UiPathForward IV. https://t.co/prxUj6WSGm pic.twitter.com/RsBRZUznn9
— Enrique Díaz (@EnriqueDaz4) October 13, 2021
Uber’s Automation Stands up to the Court
Uber embraced automation early as a key component of the company’s global approach to business enablement. Thanks to more than 100 automations, Uber has now saved over $10 million. One automation for rider safety was even used as evidence in court to help Uber renew their license to operate in London.
UKG’s Communication Drives a Home Run
UKG got a very quick start with UiPath, implementing their automation in less than a year. The company has already saved more than 100,000 hours and $1 million. To ensure a successful implementation, the UKG team went back to basics. They focused on clear communication across the organization, with a strong emphasis on the goals for the automation initiative. This translated into a quick win with unattended RPA, which aptly illustrated the benefits of automation.
A Glance Backward and a Renewed Vision for the Future
UiPath CEO Daniel Dines used the occasion of Forward IV to look back at what the company has already accomplished. He noted that UiPath has achieved the vision laid out two years ago, to address all types of personas and build software so that all users could benefit from automation.
Now that UiPath has met that goal, Dines laid out the company’s vision for the future:
- Reduce friction of usage: Tools should be as simple to use as possible, and UiPath aims to run all manual workflows. This is why UiPath has been a cloud-first company from the very beginning.
- Expand the use cases for automation: This goal is what drives UiPath’s commitment to and investment in product discovery.
- Narrow the gap between humans and robots: The next evolution in our conception of RPA moves beyond a simple platform and solves the challenge of making technology more human. Our robots see, think, and do–now it’s time for them to understand.
To that end, UiPath is focused on achieving semantic automation, that is, teaching robots to understand abstract concepts that humans use and the relationships between them. Semantic automation is what will ultimately allow robots to assimilate and analyze relevant information from across your organization, no matter how that information is siloed.
Dines noted that companies build data, taxonomies, and structures that robots don’t currently comprehend. But the moment robots understand the connection between data and documents, for example, they’ll be able to understand the underlying processes. This new generation of RPA will undoubtedly be even more dynamic, robust, and flexible than ever before, yielding multiple significant benefits:
- More complete, reliable analytics
- Faster development, translating into improved ROI and Time to Value
- More adaptable automation, since robots will be able to understand and respond to changes
Ultimately these features will help Dines and UiPath achieve their goal of democratizing automation; the simpler that automation tools are to use, the more people will be able to access and implement them. UiPath is about both the product and the RPA ecosystem, and their open platform means they have
Finding Purpose in Accelerating Human Achievement
Dines closed the conference by speaking to what he sees as the greater purpose of UiPath: accelerating human achievement. Dines firmly believes that automation technology can be leveraged for good.
We are so proud to be surrounded by such an amazing crowd that constantly feeds our energy to innovate & shape the future with #automation. Thank you all for two inspiring days at #UiPathForward IV.https://t.co/LpTWt4hsGa
— UiPath (@UiPath) October 8, 2021
As a public company, UiPath is now drafting its agenda regarding the environment, social justice, and other critical issues. That starts with fostering good governance, along with a commitment to empowering people and communities. UiPath Foundation provides education for children whose families can’t afford tuition. Currently the foundation works in Romania and India, with plans to expand in the near future.
Dines also charged Forward IV attendees to contribute to this mission of accelerating human achievement by focusing on upskilling and reskilling the workforce. He believes that UiPath partners can play an important role in this initiative.