Interview with Dmitry Karpov Co-Founder & CIO at Electroneek

We speak with Dmitry Karpov the Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Electroneek. Dmitry has a rich background in automation and entrepreneurship. Dmitry walks us through his experiences and how Electroneek is different than the competitors in the space. We discuss what ingredients are needed for RPA to flourish in an organization.

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Interview with Dmitry Karpov Co-Founder & CIO at Electroneek


Mark Percival, Brent Sanders, Dmitry Karpov

Mark Percival  00:02

On this episode of the podcast Brent and I speak with Dmitry Karpov, co founder and chief innovation officer at Electroneek a YZ path, an RPA startup. Dmitry started off pursuing a career in physics but wound up leaning Harrison Young's global innovation team before jumping into the world of Process automation. Dmitry talks about citizen Automator. and building a simple and elegant RPA product. Thanks for tuning in.

Brent Sanders  00:24

So, Dmitry, let's dive in. Why don't we get started? You could tell us a little bit about your background, how did you get into the space?

Dmitry Karpov  00:31

Sure. I'm a former physicist. I came to the states 11 years ago to do my PhD in physics and quantum electronics. But that happened at the time of grad school, I started my first company with a few friends from Russia. And we built the first social media and digital advertisement agency in Eastern Europe that's been quite successful, got acquired by a subsidiary of Omnicom group. And I decided to quit scientific career, no matter what to do. And I became very interested in area of corporate innovation and entrepreneurship. And I joined UI or send young in their New York office, first to work in American innovation. And then to join global innovation team where I build corporate accelerator and Global Innovation Challenge for the whole company called you by momentum. a big part of what innovation means for big for UI and others is automation. And it could be as rule based as RPA. And, as AI based has no document intelligence. So we got a lot of exposure to how big companies use automation to increase productivity. I was super impressed by the like one of the first use cases, big use cases of RPA in banking, and Goldman, where IPO was pretty much shortened cycle of our IPO was shortened by I think around 50%. And you think about something like his IPO is very, it's definitely intellectually dense process, a lot of professionals involved. But they still have so much routine to automate that if you do that, you can increase their efficiency by 50% or so. So I became big life fall in love on this technology. And by the time the vendors that now dominate, the market was just rising. We were partners with them, introduce them to many clients. And I started to do angel investments in RPA. Companies over time, trying to find something new in the market. And that's how I met my current co-founders of electronic robotics, Sergei and Mike, who pretty much was doing, we're doing something similar in Eastern Europe, consulting large national resource companies, large national banks, on robotics, nh Rp. And by that moment, they were turning their consulting practice into being a vendor, idea to become vendor came from the pipeline. So when you actively sell as a consultant, you will have inbound requests from companies of all sizes, doesn't matter who your target client, you will see different companies knocking on your door asking about RPA evolution opportunities for them. So they've noticed that a lot of small companies like small compared to, let's say, largest companies in the region, but still bigger organizations with regard to hundreds of employees are coming to them. They had business cases for RPA. But once they've learned that technology is complex, and they need to hire people, that these people are pretty costly in the market, that there is a whole profession called RPA developer, they kind of walked away from existing solutions, because they consider them either too complex or very costly to implement. So the guys by the palm and decided that are going to build new vendor to work with me the market and even smaller companies. They moved to the states started to sell there, and I was the first investor in the company and got a lot of momentum. It got recognized by due to by kaptara. Not only by small companies, but sometimes New York banks and so on, it became clear that there is still a lot of space in the market is growing. And pretty much big vendors don't care that much about smaller companies. So I decided to give it a try. I quit my job with UI joined the team. We went to Y Combinator together. And now I'm in charge for marketing. And my title is Chief Innovation Officer. That's pretty much it's about marketing, PR external relationships, partnerships we build quite successfully with Microsoft, sage, and Vidya. And that's it. We're building vendor that is focused on the needs of companies that are overlooked by other vendors. And that goes by successful so far.

Brent Sanders  04:52

Yeah, it's really, really interesting story. So, you know, I think we covered Electroneek in a prior podcast. Just in talking about the news on your last fundraiser. So if I'm not mistaken, I believe you guys raised about two and a half million, is that correct? And around March?

Dmitry Karpov  05:10

Yes, that's correct. Be able to had more than million before that. And that was pretty much the moment we hit 1 million in revenue. We just, we were graduating from Y Combinator, we are honestly on set for live demo day on the stage and plan to raise after that. But that's early March, that's when things started to fall apart. Right. And we changed our strategy and did very quick race, just before the commission down. Like we, I think we signed our lead investor, on Friday or Thursday. And on Monday, the market got to indicate that on days where market was going up, we had more handshake deals than on days where market was going down. So from my experience, I can say that business and traction, the team are very important. But your environment affects the thinking of investors. So we're very happy that we found investors that were like thinking very strategic, even in this uncertain time.

Brent Sanders  06:11

Sure, sure. And so when we discuss the business back in March, you know, when this news came out, you know, I don't think we had a really strong idea of what the offering is, in comparison to what's in the field has, has it changed in the sense that you guys are going after more of this small to mid market? segment of the business? And also I was, you know, the I'm looking at my notes from our prior investigation, it seemed like the approach that electronic was taking was have unlimited free licenses in a built in orchestrator, right, those two things were interesting in the sense that you weren't really going after signing up as many licenses up front. So it seemed like you guys have a different model, when it comes to, you know, how you charge for your services, is that still a differentiator.

Dmitry Karpov  07:04

It is still one of the differentiators. So honestly, it's needed by large companies, by enterprises, so for them is to offer that. But at the same time, if you are, you know, a CPA firm with hundred employees, you likely don't need unlimited bots. Right? That's something we already know, we see that as a great way for companies to scale. And just taking one step back, we spent more than five years like all founders of the company spend more than five years in the space. So we know the pain points. And we know that pain points could be very different. I'm going to talk about a bit more about the pain point of starting an RPA journey. But a pain point of scaling RP is a lot about license utilization. And I think that any vendors who dominate the market may not a strategic mistake, but they were driven by a desire to pump up the revenue as quick as possible. completely understood, great, great motivator. But the sometimes sold up front hundreds of licenses, saying to clients that you know, you will find you will find something for them you already Debussy, you have 10 robots running, now it's time to buy 200 licenses, and no doubt you will, you will be able to deploy them. And then in the end, it's time to renew the contract. And we see that 150 licenses are still on utilized. Because pretty much the b2c was done on 10 simple processes, others are more complex, they take more time to develop, the capacity of development team is limited. And as a result, you have churn and you have unutilized licenses. So for that, we decided that for these type of clients, we need to make it really simple. And what is the bottleneck if you're a large enterprise that's number of developers who have working on your bots. And that's a real bottleneck, you can do anything about that I'm going to do much about it was technology, but you can make the life of IT. Professionals simpler. And you know what IT professionals hate a lot about RP, a hate to build the business case for every license. Because licenses are costly. In most cases. When someone comes to you with automation request, if you're let's say Center of Excellence or just an IT team internally, and you don't have any licenses left, you need to ask whoever comes about their pay rate. And then they don't want to do because they don't need to do it anywhere else. For IT professionals. It's very organic, to have a tool to create programs or workflows or whatever it is some kind of intellectual property. And then to deploy it without thinking. like paying for the intellectual property twice the only paid for the tool to build something right for that specific segment of enterprises that struggle to scale. We have this offering and that kind of helped us to get the first really big clients So we work with Electrolux. Now with epiroc, these are a global 2000 companies, we have pretty strong fortune 500 pipeline. Of course, deals are pretty slow there. But we still, we see that overall enterprise IT budgets are more free. Now, as they were in like two months back three months back now, the lock is open. So good time for all kinds of IT vendors, and enterprise space. But that's one part of the story. We overall, whenever we make a decision regarding the product roadmap, we think, like, what does it make simpler for clients, we got the recognition as the easiest to use RPA tool. It's our rating on capterra. That's our highest high score in this category among all RPA vendors on G2. What can we do? What else can we do to make the life easier for everyone for the business for developers? And over the last four months, we specifically invested in making the life easier for business, because we realized that number of people who understand RPA, like number of people among corporate decision makers, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, IT leaders, it's not that hard to explain what RPA does for them, or Intelligent Automation or AI automation, what does it do for them, but it's hard to convince them that they are real money on the table. Because once you start explaining details about how RP works and implementation journey it's on, there's just head of your potential customers is blowing. So the first thing we did, we built activity mining, it's different from versus mining, and can explain why maybe different from how other vendors do that. We decided that instead of focusing on creating automated workflows, from activity mining, we will be focusing on understanding the economic impact of potential automation. And that first of all comes to the problem of measuring what is automatable in your work in a user work when we monitor what they do on the computer, and how much time could be freed up? If we automate. So we developed a solution called people dashboard plus the discovery bots. It allows users to invite, it allows customers to invite as many users from their organization as they want into this activity, mind and exercise. All data is centralized on the level of one dashboard, where they can see by employee by business software, where is the highest share of repetitive processes that couldn't be automated, and how much time could be freed up. So if you know the rate of people behind the screens, in front of the screens, then we can understand the economics of potential benefits in a very simple terms. And we realized here in our business, that simplicity is king, we developed an analytical solution activity mining solution that doesn't require any consultant or skilled professional to interpret results, you pretty much do the scan, and you see prioritized processes for you to tackle. Yes, sometimes that could be a bit more complex process that we can detect. But we can kind of guarantee we will show you the money in the first two weeks. And it's very appealing for companies that understand that in their industry. There is something big going on. Let's talk about accountants, for example, or lawyers. And it's about automation. But they just want to be on this wave. They want to make sure they get the same benefits as the industry is getting around without thinking too much without becoming an expert in whatever kind of automation center effect is not the story for company with 500 lawyers.

Brent Sanders  14:02

Yeah. One thing I'm really interested in hearing about is, you know, how do you go about, you know, so it's activity mining? How do you go about gathering information to feed into this dashboard? Is it through installing an application on writing those machines? I mean, how do you feed the dashboard with information? What's the starting point?

Dmitry Karpov  14:24

Yep, so enlightened users download the Electroneek robot, which has a few modes to operate, like attended, bought and attended, bought, or discovery bought. So discovery bot is the one that we need to collect the data on what's automatable. It's very different from how, if you known solutions in the market that approach it, they tried to use machine vision to pretty much record the process. So in the end of his discovery, you have a workflow. The problem is quite expensive, and typically slows down and you also need GPU power to effectively work with machines. is not a super big problem from technological perspective, but it makes it costly. And it makes it less accessible for companies that are now not in not in the top list in the economy. So our technology doesn't use, like, doesn't scrape your screen. But instead, we'll look through the interface because the same robot that automates it can do pretty amazing things, understanding what are you doing on the computer. So for example, if you have two windows open, and you switch between them pretty frequently two different apps, and use Ctrl C, Ctrl V, our data model, we recognize that it's pretty automatable activity. And because we know the systems that we can, we can tell pretty much what you're doing. Are you collecting pricing data from different websites into Excel file? Or are you moving data from Excel to Salesforce, we are able to spot these things, kind of measure what could be potential automatic automation impact, and prioritize these opportunities for clients without any action from their side except of downloading and learn running the bots. 

Mark Percival  16:09

Sorry, sorry, who actually ends up running this is typically something I think it's the who actually initiates this, this is typically somebody at the highest level, the C suite, or is this somebody in the middle who says, I want to jump on board the RPA bandwagon here for like my law firm, for example, I'm gonna run this myself and start to see what I can automate. 

Dmitry Karpov  16:27

Surprisingly, we have old old tricks here. So we kind of categorize customers in three dimensional model, large companies, like let's say, more than 500 employees, less than 500. Do they know what RPA is or not? And who is the leader business or IT? because we kept combinations of all of that. And it's pretty interesting. And I think honestly, the best category to work with are the people who hear about RPA from you. I mean, the third, something about RPA, we typically survey all potential customers in the beginning of interaction with us where they are in RPA journey, usually, they would say, I'm aware of this technology, I've never seen it in action, the pretty much the demo we do for customers is the first time they see a bot bot running something on the computer. So that's the best category. And we found that if, if we engage with IT, we still need to engage with business. So for us, ideally, we would like to start with business, we have many CEOs completing our kind of contact forms, these are the best people to work with, because they hold the budgets and so on. And they see the big picture of, you know, now I can charge let's say, again, back to accounting, there's a big problem in any kind of accounting software, when you migrate to that, you need to bring in your chart of accounts, your ledger, to there without taking this data from whenever it will, from whenever you currently keep it. And bringing that to cloud accounting software, you can do much. So CPAs now charge their clients for manually copy pasting data from their banking forms, or from Excel files into software like Sage or Intuit or something like that. Now, they can make money on that. But it's very clear for CEOs of these companies, that that would not be the deal three years from now, that if they want to provide the best client service, and have the clients are working with them, they need to automate what should be automated. I've seen that before in older business, where projects are bigger savings, potentially millions of dollars, but there's a standard business model. So even if IT professionals who come up with this idea, we can make this process much more efficient. They still need to have a big business buying, because that will be at their fundamental impact on time and materials business model, and so on and so on.

Mark Percival  18:56

Yeah, I guess, you know, one thing, if you look at, you guys are pitching strongly on the citizen automation idea. Yeah, it'd be interesting to kind of get your take on that. And because obviously, after the implementation ransomware, after somebody gets this idea what they can automate, there is the actual task of automating and you kind of brought up this earlier, of not having to bring in outside consultants to do the automation. Can you talk a little bit more about what makes that possible with electronic versus other platforms?

Dmitry Karpov  19:22

Sure, so I will be talking about the cases we have in this area, because for us, they are kind of, it's not the vision we have, it's more what we are able to prove that that works. And we are working on scaling that. So citizen automation is great concept. And no code, low code is a great concepts. But when the rubber hits the road, things become much more challenging. Otherwise, we all will be automating. I like to compare RP often to excel macro, as a kind of macro on steroids. So if you look at any accounting department in any company, we have users, they use macros, how many of them actually record them, if you how many of them can use VBA, to build to build a macro, if you but these people who build them have so much impact on the organization, because they, what they do is reused by others who have no idea how to record the macro, but who understand well, that you can press a button here, release your hands from keyboard, and the work will be done much faster than you will do that manually. So we think about growing up citizen automators in this company in the same way as you would do. If I will be working at Microsoft and trying to push more people to record macros, it's a very different marketing language, they don't care about fundamental impact to the business, they care about their ability to deliver faster to deliver without mistakes. And they want to be recognized typically in their companies for impact like that. So how we approach it from product perspective. First of all, we realize that these people don't belong to IT, they don't belong to business as well, they kind of in between, we need to acknowledge that and we need to create a very specific learning track for these people. Second one, we identified what are the most challenging concepts of programming that if kind of done right will make any kind of visual programming more appealing to non professional, non IT professionals. And that's about working with cycles and variables. So for now, we're focusing on variables. And I would say that, if you want to build a workflow that solves your own business problem, not your enterprise problems, but your own efficiency, you need to have different set of tools that other vendors offer. Because you don't need to think about what's the variable type? Is this string? Is it a number? Is it a global? Or is it a local variable? What container does it sit in? Is it assigned to an object or not, you really need to use only like, ideally, and that's our product, parodic mouse only. If you can build a workflow using only mouse, then we can teach that to citizen automators is a great tool. So we made working with variables and cycles, and overall cases of desktop automation, Excel automation, browser automation, and OCR automation. Mouse only doable, which means that you can build a lot of stuff there, maybe 80% of full product functionality using only mouse. And that's very pure does it another citizen automators. Know that some other vendors tried to create, essentially, spin off products, like different versions of studios to be more appealing to citizen automators and business users. We think that should be one tool, because ideally we want to grow our beginners isn't Automator into professional Automator, because they will be the super evangelists in the company. But going back to the original question, that's about simplicity of building basic stuff using mouse and a knowledge and and these people deserve very different track for learning curve. And the third one, that's our something big scale. And right now, we decided to put a chatbot inside the product, make it very intelligent with regard to giving tips and suggestions based on what you do. But also there are real people behind this chatbot. So you can get the best if you're a client, let's say it's not a trial or community version, then you can get in product support with regard to build in bots, so our support service is not about something doesn't work in the product, or I don't know how to set up this property. And in this blog, that's pretty much I think any vendor can provide. And pretty much it's not a differentiator. In our case, you can reach out to care team or chat or email or phone call. And say I want to build a workflow that takes data from this website into Excel file. Tell me about the best way to do that. And we will help you to connect the dots together. That's something that is not a metric value a lot because the major fear is that they convince their boss to invest in big expensive tool, and then they struggle to meet on task. So for us is someone who wants to be the easiest to use. It's not only about technology, that's overall the solution, how it looks like from software perspective, from customer service perspective, from learning perspective.

Brent Sanders  24:50

Interesting, I'm curious to know what you know, in your experience, I usually ask everybody this question, but you know, in your experience where have you seen What types of environments? Do you see these citizen developer programs work? And what types of environments are more challenging, so to speak? So any ingredients that you would recommend or anybody who's thinking about engaging, you know, their general workforce to say, hey, let's work together to build bots, key ingredients for when it works key ingredients for when it doesn't?

Dmitry Karpov  25:28

That's a great question. I think there are many, many lenses to that, let's think about the cultural lens first. I've seen that in big corporations. Actually, that's pretty much the way you create an effective RP program, he tried to push people to share their successes or ideas about successes. So for example, you know, accounting firm, herbig, big accounting firm, that was senior consultant. So it's pretty entry position, who was able to build a simple ml solution to classify transactions based on objects or cabinets, that something that for tax purposes a lot of accountants do, if you build a very simple Python tool that was able to do it quicker and better than than a real person will do. And he had two options, just to sit and relax, or to stand up and tell everyone Hey, found much better way to do that. Let's try to, you know, push it to the level where it could be commercially used, that's great new product on that, and so on. And if the person wouldn't raise their hand, he would never hear about their successes. And I bet that in many, many companies, globally, small and big, there are many people who hold the automated a lot of stuff they do, but just the data don't tell.

Brent Sanders  26:54

That's such a true point. I mean, I've heard this from everybody and I've got a follow up question for later. But, I mean, the challenge that comes up immediately, it's like, how do I tell IT that I'm running code? And it's, you know, it's touching the books? And how do you know, how do you the challenges in a lot of organizations that I hear about from on, you know, there's, let's say split all the organizations into one that do RPA really well, and two that are challenging? Or having challenges with RPA tends to be sort of this? How do we get the finance and accounting firms to play nice with IT? And that will be the first barrier that I would see come up for, for this example, use case, it's like, I've written some code, you know, how do we scale it, I got to get into a meeting to explain myself and make make this script eventually someone else's problem to maintain, right is that that seems to be the first barrier that would come up to me.

Dmitry Karpov  27:51

Right? So it's all about the culture. And it's about I think, commitment from the executive level to back up any initiatives that that people will report, we are in a mode now where many clients pretty much went through successful pvcs, or real big commercial implementations, and they haven't run out of processes, but they wonder how to drive more of their employees submitting cases for automation. And typically, I advise them on first you need to have a case that works and you can demonstrate it in your IT environment. So it's not a story from presentation, that's a video recording of someone's actually automating their work in their company, then they need to socialize it among managers. So they understand it really, really well. And then they need to make a communication, company wide communication saying, hey, this works, this big, complex technology, but we promise you, we'll get it. Take a look at this use case, if you have something similar. Go to your managers. They know what kind of animal they will be dealing with. They committed to provide you full support. If you're successful in doing automation of your own work, and it's scalable across your team and department does definitely track for promotion. We want to grow this kind of class of citizen automators in our company that works, but it's not something that could happen in one day. But it's about cultural lens. Some companies they have by, like let's say some industries, they organically have this culture. And what comes to my mind after looking at pipeline over last three months is ecommerce. e commerce does it really well, so they can afford spending money on tools. And at the same time, they're relatively young companies. They're many young people working there, and they work a lot with data. So there is a demand from managers to be more data informed more to make more data driven decisions. They hire more and more analysts. And these analysts need to collect data from somewhere they do Manually they build manual IT integrations, they work with SQL a lot. But there is a better way to do it. RP is much more flexible. So we have, like the quickest deal, we close Greek deals, because now would be commerce deals. Because people come they say we already did the trial, or we download the community version works. Where to send the money. That's pretty much the best customers with citizen Automator. It's kind of mindset we have. Some industries organically are kind of behind a bit. There's typically banks in banking. And I think even executives in banking realize that a lot of their employees. They are very comfortable doing the same exact process again, and again. Because they realize that a lot of that could be automated, if it could be automated, what are they going to do? Specifically, when we talk about loan origination, there's really not so much judgment involved in taking customer data, putting it into system, getting responses from different systems, putting the data together, making a decision, on whether to originate a loan or not, is just a lot of manual data processing, including paperwork. For example, when you go to bank, on to real branch, now, it doesn't happen too often. But in the past, let's recall the experience. You want to apply for any kind of loan, auto loan, mortgage, whatever, you typically sit in front of a manager, they do something on the keyboard, like click play, don't waiting five seconds again, and again. They don't talk to you at this moment. So what do you think are they doing? They pretty much going through very script process of taking your data into different systems, finding something, making some mostly automated decision and move forward in this type of environment is really hard to convince people in the field that they all need to be automated. So specifically to banks, I think it's very important to be able to see, to promote positive examples to demonstrate how someone got more, they got more free time. So more analytical work, let's say if you were a clerk in the bank, you got to three hours back of your time, you can now think about how you're going to grow your customer base locally, how are you going to compete for mortgage clients against your local competitor, and so on? Just those managers couldn't get it, they will be behind. 

Brent Sanders  32:27

And when you see, you know, freeing up this time, and that that's kind of the constant drumbeat that we're hearing. It's like what could you know what, what's a better use of a person's time? In this case? And loan origination is arrearage is an interesting space that because it is largely quantitative, right, you're taking a credit score, you're taking, you know, a couple years tax records, which are structured data, if you think about it, right. And I'm on that same note, I'm wondering, does Electroneek Do you guys see yourselves playing in sort of the we're actually even back up a second. I mean, how do you look at purpose built RPA? Or automation built for specific channels or segments of a given market? I mean, do you have solutions and the place in place that address in a specific industries? Or how do you see that approach to building a software company for specific industries?

Dmitry Karpov  33:32

So when you specialize in the industry, typically specialization comes on use cases related to specific IT products. So it's very important to realize, okay, what if you want to be in an industry and build a product for that what kind of IT tools people use there, you need to build integrations to that. So we don't market data as a kind of RPA for banking. But from that perspective, we have a lot for banks to offer with regard to native integrations. When it comes to now for me, personally, big topic is accounting. That's why we partnered with Sage because they have great ecosystem of products that is still disconnected from data that needs to be uploaded there in order to use their products. So Sage named as preferred vendor for their clients or be vendor, we started to look at various specific use cases in their cloud products in their on prem products, finding gaps where we can pretty much make their customer journey much smoother and much more efficient with RP. And that's, again, takes a lot of my mind right now, with regard to other industries. Again, it comes to the share of specialized software. So when we talking about e-commerce, it's not about Shopify automation, that's about automating collecting your competitors’ data. So it's browser automation. So going back to question, I think that we would see specialized RPA or automation, delta automation vendors for different kinds of industries, we already see some of them. But for now, the class of problems that is universal between industries is much more lucrative for most players. So I think we are not reinventing the wheel, the wheel here by focusing on impactful integrations, where the industry needs that, but at the same time putting in greater focus on more universal fundamental questions like web scraping, for example.

Brent Sanders  35:37

Sure. Yeah, that's interesting to hear. Going back to we were talking about the culture lens, and I think your statements around what a successful culture looks like. And I think it was super insightful. I'm curious if you have any. It sounds like the general perspective is like you need to have. And we've heard this from a couple other people, I think we've spoke to Tom Taulli, as well. And he kind of said, companies that do great things do RPA just as well, right. And so if you have a culture issues that sometimes reflects in your attempt to automate, right, and so if you have a culture that isn't, as you just described it, it can be a challenge. I, you know, on the end of that, sometimes there are separations and cultures in organizations. And I'm curious, if you have any tips for, you know, anybody out there that's in a finance department that maybe they do have a culture that fits this, that they're working against an IT department that maybe is afraid of RPA or afraid of automation, or, you know, maybe not well staffed well suited to it, any tips for pushing through that gap? And, you know, presenting RPA is an asset, not a liability?

Dmitry Karpov  36:58

That's a great question. Honestly, it's much easier to address in World of Sales Automation, where you pretty much don't need IT, unless you need help to set up Zopier or something like that. They can support challenging when we talk about desktop. So here, between a couple of options, first of all, like how we see that we see the IT role here as pretty much enabler and support rather than a decision maker on what should be automated or not. That's and that's why we're kind of focusing technologically on being able to build a business case for business. Sorry for todology without involving it in for consultants. But you still, you either have some knowledge of, or confidence in that you can build it yourself, or you still need to have IT support. And I think it's even maybe less cultural, but it's more like, from management perspective, can your boss make it do something for you, if they cannot, can the boss of your boss making it do something for you. And if he or she cannot, it's more for me about the organizational management approach rather than about culture, the culture would be kind of secondary problem to that. I seen in my overall enterprise career, many cases spin IT not because they were like fighting for power, or have that idea that they want to dominate what's going on. But they weren't given too much decision making with regard to how business should be ran. And RPA is not about like only saving time, right? It's about sometimes often about serving customers better. Because if you can board a contract or a client or employee quicker with RPA than you would do otherwise, you will do more business. And it will be very substantial impact on your top line or bottom line, which has nothing to do with IT. So IT shouldn't be able to support that positive impact. And of course, to your question, there could be challenges not related to willingness of IT to do that but on objective reality. They don't have skilled people they don't have budget they are already have automation roadmap for the next two years and they feel understaffed to deliver there. Of course, any new request there would be looked at very seriously and probably rejected. That's where vendors can compete for making it easier for IT. That's where like turning originally started, actually externally originally started. As a JavaScript tool with visual programming on steroids, why JavaScript because in any IT organization in any company, the likelihood of having at least one skilled JavaScript programmer is pretty high is the most common language in kind of IT infrastructure support, much more common than, let's say, Python, or C sharp, there is still very common languages, but they're common among developers, not the kind of people who work in IT teams in community banks, in many cases, actually will be no IT team and community bank leads to work with some trusted contractor. So we need here to convince the business that they will be successful in driving the business results in need to convince IT that they will be successful in supporting the business in their journey, which means they would have they wouldn't have they wouldn't struggle with the tool somewhere. So we got some industry awards recently is my easiest admin easy set up, that all comes from our region to like, we need to convince IT pretty quickly that that's something they can master. If we wouldn't, they will kill our project. As again, nothing against it teams. 

Brent Sanders  41:13

Of course, I think that's a really elegant way of putting it into elegant solutions. Like, I mean, all of the points you raised are incredibly valuable. And I think our listeners are looking for these types of insights. However, I think you you hit the nail on the head is if we just make it easy, then the problems melt away a bit, right, as if we, if this is less of a risk, and it's proven, and, you know, obviously getting awards in this is some social proof or, or validation in the in that so it's that's a good answer. It's like if if you can just make the tool easier and less risky, you don't even have to go down the path of resourcing and a lot of the other kind of heavier duty points and more systemic points, right, that are, you know, and they're less about software, they're just more about culture, and how people do business with one another, regardless of RPA, or automation.

Dmitry Karpov  42:06

I think it's important like for me, it's important to deconstruct the way of thinking that our competitors had in the past. And I think a lot of RPA tools decided not to pursue drag and drop. Because they realize that let's make it just look very similar to coding. So it people when we see that they will immediately realize what's about and feel comfortable. But at the same time, they didn't do that great job, because as of like two years ago, the number of RPA projects in GitHub or get lab so small, because pretty much the code like it didn't bother, like didn't by the time that much, because otherwise you would see a lot of code share. in open source. I just wanted to add a bit to that. Did IT and business they look very different when they evaluate IT. RPA solutions, even when they just learn about RPA. It's a different set of benefits for them. For example, if you're a manager or executive, you're thinking about time savings, managing employees, happier retention over times, and so on. When you look at the same automation gap, let's say someone menu takes data from Excel to a web form from IT perspective, you honestly don't care about time savings and all other stuff you care about. I have request from business to automate. Do I have time to have people do I have technology to do that. And that's from marketing perspective, very different language, very different sets of pinpoints. And even if you enter the door of company through IT door or business door, at certain moment, you will have to stay callers on the table need to they have different pain points. Your goal is the vendor or the consultant, whoever introduces the company to RPA to align these two together. And this is something that was an art in the past now it becomes much, much more kind of proven process. And yeah, it's again, great input for product from product roadmap, what you can do in the product to bring these people together? No, it's an interesting point about the open source piece, we kind of found the same thing, which was that there's a just isn't a lot of information out there about RPA. Do you think in general, there's just a lack of one thing I've heard from a lot of different people is that there's a lack of RPA developer talent out there outside of like outsource groups. Ultimately, you will need people inside the company to understand this and to implement it. Can you maybe talk a little bit about that and how that changed the way you built this product in terms of kind of the citizen automation. That's interesting feedback. So overall We see the declines in activity, some in communities of largest vendors, and we cannot it makes us happier. But the same time it's sort of thinking about where the industry is going to. First why I think we don't see that much open source and RPA shared code and repositories, is a lot about the code structure. RPA code is like how the industry is developing, typically very hard to reuse and an organized in the right way. That's, again, big technological differentiator between different vendors, and we work in this direction as well. But because your desktop is relatively unique, of course, there could be exact machines in the same company. But unlikely between two companies, you will have the same IT infrastructure and the same process to do even if you like work in similar banks cross the street, you have the same major PRP vendor? Do you have different versions of certain tools to do credit score or something like that? Your process is a bit different. So many, what marketplaces kind of failed because of that, and GitHub is not that popular destination for the same reason. But I think different vendors try to approach it in a different way how to make it better what we do, we try to atomize this bots into very simple reusable components, and integrate the bot marketplace inside the tool. We're going to release it in early August. Let's see how it works. I can talk only about the marketing language. But I said before it was appealing to some real examples. That's We'll see. I honestly think the industry becomes much more globalized, we will see the reverse trend of you know, you as an RPA developer would be you will be the most successful if you can assemble what needs to be assembled quickly from presets or from something that you worked or your colleagues worked in the past or someone else worked in the past, it's ridiculous how much time it takes sometimes to develop a bot right now because people need to reinvent the wheel all the time. And I bet that if you have 1000 step workflow, you should be able to complete to build it from 5 to 10 workflows that already kind of solving parts of the challenge here and there. On the industry overall, I think that remote work gives so much opportunities for RPA to become much more accessible for companies of any size, because now people feel much more comfortable working with India. And then just came to the timezone difference. Now, in the past, you were a viewer thought, Okay, this vendor is local, they can come to my office. I want to work with them. Now it's about price, about quoting price. And we've seen because of that a lot of development work shifts from big companies like before Gemini or Accenture, to smaller outsource powerhouse firms in India. At the same time, local market is indeed in booming there more and more developers, so they become much more global at this moment. So maybe we will see reverse trend of more communities, more conversations, more share of data, and so on. I guess I be I'd love to ask one final question around this would be, you've mentioned this with the fundraise around COVID-19 and in a way that changed the fundraise, but there's been a lot of talk about how COVID-19 is also driving RPA and have you seen that in your positioners? I mean, some of that's obviously marketing from these companies that are selling RPA. But is that something you've seen? Absolutely. That's the trend. It's been contradictive to I think overall market slowdown, I think that large enterprises, they already had RPA plans, so some of them put some of the plans on hold, and that will impact overall revenue on the industry. But at the same time, many small companies who in the past put something on hold because they haven't found it strategic enough now are opening their RPA playbooks again and looking for vendors and consultants because they realize that okay, in the best reconciling invoice, invoices using if you accountants was a way to do that. But now when you cannot guarantee that these two accounts and accountants will be available, maybe they will be sick, maybe they will be not so efficient. Doing it remotely, maybe maybe Citrix would not be the best remote work solution. They think okay, with better ultimate what we can just to make it working when something unexpected happens. And that drives a lot. And we definitely can say that now, the market demand now in July and the end of July is bigger than in early March, there was a big drop in communications like applying existing clients, former clients, potential clients didn't communicate much in end of March and April, because everyone was shocked with what's going on. But starting from there, and now we can see the definitely the trend. The demand for RPA among companies with less than 10,000 people is going significantly up. And COVID here definitely was a big, no, you've seen many jokes on that, who was the major driver for your digital transformation COVID. So, for us, the interesting part is overall impact of COVID on and remote work on productivity. I like this quote that individuals report productivity gains, managers report productivity losses. We see the same on our analytics part because we can see how much time is taken to complete a process that is pretty routine. It takes more time to complete a remote because of IT infrastructure, because people have been different mindset and they work from home. But routine takes more time. We understand the business understands that. So it makes RPA grounds much more planful. 

Brent Sanders  51:39

Great. So interesting. Before we wrap up, Dmitry, is there anything you wanted to, to mention on your behalf before we wrap the podcast up anything that you think we missed or want to add?

Dmitry Karpov  51:54

If someone is listening to this podcast, who is not in RPA space, but is just trying to understand what automation is about and what's there for them, whatever profession you're in, and guarantee that if you learn how to automate your own routine, you will be much more valuable professional in the market years from now. It's like, think about what Microsoft Excel brought to the table in 1990s. And don't ignore RPA. That's pretty much the same.

Brent Sanders  52:25

That's a really good point. Yeah. So Dimitry, thank you so much for joining us. And I think this is one of my favorite sessions. So I really enjoyed it and appreciate you hopping on the podcast. So thanks again.

Dmitry Karpov  52:40

Thank you, Brent, thank you Mark. I truly enjoyed speaking to you. And Enjoy your summer.

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