Interview with Guy Kirkwood - Chief Evangelist at UiPath

In this episode, we have a conversation with Guy Kirkwood, UiPath's Chief Evangelist.  We discuss his story and perspective as hire number 27 back in 2015 to the current state of the company and marketplace.  Guy talks about the reality of implementing RPA and what effect it has on culture or "Mood Music" as he calls it.  

We also dive into what the future holds for the RPA space, some exciting features on the UI Path roadmap, and the real value of human capital.

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Interview with Guy Kirkwood - Chief Evangelist from UiPath


Mark Percival, Brent Sanders, Guy Kirkwood

Brent Sanders  00:02

On this episode of podcast, Mark and I speak with Guy Kirkwood, UiPath's Chief Evangelist, we get into his story, do UIPath origin,and get a sense of the company’s future? Thanks for tuning in.

Mark Percival  00:14

Yeah, great. So Guy, first off, thank you for joining us for this podcast. And I think this is gonna be a really interesting podcast, because obviously, you are all actually maybe I'd be better if I let you give your background, tell our audience a little bit about yourself and how you got to where you are the position you're in now.

Guy Kirkwood  00:30

Okay, all right, we're happy to Thanks a lot. And so my name is Guy, I am the chief evangelist of UiPath. We can talk a bit about UiPath later. But the role of Chief evangelist is the best job and the worst job title in the world. It's the best job because I get to talk to and chat with all of our partners, our customers, the analyst community, with our investors and private equity organizations, and the community, which we're very fortunate to have. But more importantly, I get to listen. So what I do is spend more time listening than I do talking. And, and then I can feed that back into the organization into our product teams into our sales and marketing operations and so on, so that we can stay agile so that we can say, what now is resilient, of course, but so that we can, we can stay ahead of the market. And that's what makes the job so brilliant, cuz I've talked to a lot of different people. What makes the job title, probably the worst job title is that I still get an inordinate number of people on LinkedIn. sending me messages saying that they're delighted that Jesus said to my life, and I have to explain I'm not that fun. Well, I joined UiPath. Very early, actually, I was employee number 27. Back in the end of 2015. And I've written Georgia's Chief Operating Officer COO, until about six months in. I sat down with sushi with precision with Chief exec and co founder, Daniel dinos. And he says not working as a no, no, it's not working. He said, I said, what was it exactly wanted me to do? He said, I wanted you to magically run the business for me. I said, No, that's not me. So then he came up with the idea of a duality advantage, essentially, based on the work that Guy Kawasaki, another guy actually, Guy Kawasaki did apple. So Steve Jobs wanted someone to sell Apple to the world. And, and so Geico has actually said, You know, I can, you know, I can evangelize about Apple products is, Steve Jobs told him to go out and do that for everybody. Ah, hang on, there's a problem. I can't evangelize to DOS and Windows users marks off users, because they're zealots. We can only evangelize to the agnostics. So that's, that's the job. It's much easier in a market that is nascent, as RPA was in 2015 2016, than it is in the sort of the PC, personal computing market. Because essentially, we had to create the category. One of our competitors, blue prism actually created and invented RPA, back in 2002, or really 2006. And, and so we couldn't be here without a huge amount of respect for the team that have built and continue to build their presence. But you know, that the market has developed extraordinarily quickly. And luckily, we met.

Mark Percival  03:54

And so were you were you in are involved in the RPA space before you joined UiPath.

Guy Kirkwood  03:58

No, in fact, I was part of the team that was the first customer of what became UiPath. So what happened was that I spent the last 20 years in outsourcing, and particularly a BPO business versus outsourcing and shared service areas. And we were doing a deal with a tech company and to outsource the offline order processing for that for that tech business. And they had 1000 people doing this. So we thought, okay, we'll do the usual business process outsourcing stuff of you know, taking all these people Lean Six Sigma, bring them to death, process improvement, offshore them to lower best cost locations, and then provide the same service back to the customer at a lower cost for improved circumstances improve service. And the tech company, Tyrone said it will be a great idea. We've already done all of that. So 96% of those thousand people will already invest on their cost locations. So there's really no value that we can add. We can't make any money. Unless you automated So originally, we would see the team would simply prison in the UK, and, and then too much see this this happy band of seven people in an apartment block in Bucharest in Romania. and realized the technology that they had was they could run automate using it. And it's what we now know as RPA. And, and we use that technology and the results were so staggering. I had a read to Damascus moment, I realized that, if you could automate the tasks and you prefer to be moved offshore, then they operate 365 days a year without being sick. And once you train them, they just do it forever. And don't make mistakes, unlike us, lowly humans, and so I started talking about it started writing about it. And that's when I got invited to join UiPath.

Mark Percival  05:56

Yeah, that's amazing. I mean, joining at 27, you must have seen or are still seeing what this looks like as this company grows, because obviously, it's not a 27 person company anymore, is it?

Guy Kirkwood  06:06

No, it's not. And in fact, we're, I mean, give you some metrics, we've grown as well, when I joined, Daniel tells people that when I joined my salary, and a bonus was 20% of the revenues of the business. I wish that was still the case. So, we grew quite slowly start with and then it accelerated very fast. It's interestingly, if you look at Georgia by COVID later, but if you look at the Coronavirus, and those people got knocked down first, there were bankers and tech people, because we understand exponential growth. Now everyone understands exponential growth is that line on the graph. That just is a hockey stick. And it looks to growth, slow to start with a really accelerate, accelerate, accelerates. And that's exactly what we knew was going to happen with the pandemic. Because you can see it happening, there was no reason it wouldn't happen. So with UiPath, the growth of us as an organization and the category RPA has just been staggering. I think we've grown sort of 400 kegger. So compound annual growth rate over the last four years. And in the last two years, we've grown from 100 million revenue to 400 billion revenue, which is just amazing. And at the same time, we've attracted a lot of venture capital, private equity, money into that as well. So we've raised about 1.4 $1.3 billion dollars. And interestingly, I found out yesterday, because I didn't know this, that Daniel has raised 1.3 billion from the cream of the venture capital and private equity, capital markets without using a single PowerPoint slide, I think that deserves a round of applause.

Mark Percival  08:00

Yeah, of course, that is amazing. Obviously, Coronavirus, COVID-19 has, you know, put RPA in the spotlight. But this growth has been happening for a while now. I mean, there's been a trend of RPA. Can you kind of think back to a moment that you've joined and you've come to this from this one company where you had this amazing success in this one and this automation to a 27 person company to growing it. There was some point that you must have seen reset? Oh, it's not just me getting it now. everybody's having to throw it to Damascus moment?

Guy Kirkwood  08:31

Yeah, actually, it's fairly early honestly. And it's based on the relationships that we have built up collectively as a market but me in particular, or, in particular, with the analyst firms. So with the gardeners and the foresters, and the idcs, and the Everest and so on. It's because the endless wars in the light priests were 200 years ago, they know what's happening before it's happened. Because they are, do what I do, which is talking and listening to people all the time. And we, it was then that got excited by this, more excited by this because at the value they see they could see it happening for their customers, so their subscribers. And also the other point is that although we're a tech business, the impact it has on organizations is not a technology impact. It's a person's impact. And of course during times of difficulty and so on, you want to focus on your people. And, and so automation has actually been allowed organizations to to focus more on the people. And the big question is why of course, and it's basically because if you remove the boring, mundane, repetitive, crappy work that people have to do, to do their job and it allows them to do more of what they want to do, then their employee engagement goes up. So the employee experience improves. And so we did a big study with Forrester actually on this, led by a guy called Dave Johnson is a genius. And he has the direct, that he's done some proven some research that says as a direct link between improved employee engagement, and improve customer engagement, customer experience, so there's a link between DX and CX, which sort of makes sense. Because if you've got happy employees, you tend to end up with happier customers, I wanted to prove that there was a link, there was a improvement in employee experience as a result of using automation, because anecdotally, that's what we were seeing, that's what we're hearing. And it's so improved. And if anyone's interested in that report, we can provide it through your guys. So what did that mean? It meant that, and I use a quote of one of the chief executives of, of one of our customers, he said, since this is a big insurance business, he said, since we put in automation, the mood music of our organization has changed. We have happier employees. And we now measure our service in terms of compliments, rather than complaints. That has nothing to do with technology that is all about the way that people interact with people. And that is really one of the one of the key moments I felt when this was really going to take off. Because every business case, up to about two and a half, three years ago, was built upon predicated upon headcount reduction, job cuts cost out. But actually, when you hear things like that, what it proves is that the value of the human capital, the value of the people in organizations is actually much higher than people think they are one's own organization sigma can allow. So you know, one other example is that we do a lot of work with over 70 US federal agencies now, one of those, add 790 people doing a particular process. And so they also said to automate that process, so that they could reduce the headcount by half. They still have seven people, 20 people doing that process, but they're not doing 70% more work, because they're assisted and augmented by the automation rather than replaced.

Mark Percival  12:28

Yeah, I think that's the thing that people well. Obviously, when people talk about RPA, there is this fear of the automation, eliminating jobs. But you kind of hinted out with these case studies that this is really just not the case. I mean, it is such a situation where, when you're when you look at what people are automating, and especially when you know, Brett, and I see what people are automating in the field, it's there's definitely a moment where you're kind of realizing like, this is not, this is not fun work. This is not work that really wants to do anyway.

Guy Kirkwood  12:57

Yeah, that's a great description, not fun work. If you hate automated as another way of describing it.

Mark Percival  13:03

Nice. Yeah. That's it. I mean, I think the next area would be, you know, obviously, the hardest part for a lot of companies is figuring out where to actually step into that automation, and get started on that. Yeah. Is that something that I mean, you know, looking at it from the outside, it's very, it's intimidating. It's an idea of picking a platform and putting all your stuff on this, and then figuring out how to get started on this? How are you kind of seeing that change? Because right now, obviously, large companies have the ability to invest a lot into this space? How are you seeing that changing kind of the medium sized areas where the companies are medium, or timid?

Guy Kirkwood  13:40

Yeah, you're absolutely right. I mean, what we got Everest group, I was firm to to actually create a step by step guide for organizations, you know, on to go from pilot to what they call Pinnacle, where automation is throughout the organization, or companies needed that because they just didn't know where to start. And when they did start, they didn't know where to scale it. So that's that was up until recently. About the middle of last year, we realized that actually, you needed a mechanism or a platform to do that. And that is represented by process mining, or task mining, and tasks on their entity. So if organizations all start with same question, you know, what the hell can I automate? How do I start? Where do I start? And what process do I start with? process mining can really help with that, because it looks at all of the processes that you think might be good candidates. And it looks at there are two parts. So the first is mining looks at the output of the process, a lot of words, what's happening with the systems, what are the system logs telling you that that process is actually produced, but you also need the human input. So That's where task mining or task capture comes from. You need that, because humans cheat. Even people in the same team will do the same process in different ways. They find workarounds, and they never follow instructions. So it's no good relying on the documentation. So you have to actually see what they do. So by combining those, you end up finding out not only what how the process works, but all the variances and the exceptions and all the rest of it. And that's what process money does. And tax money does. The output of that process or that activity is for us now, because we built it in because we require these two companies is what's known as a PDD, oppressive process description document, or zamel script and XML script, because that creates the framework, the superstructure, the scaffolding if you like them for which you build the robot. And it vastly accelerates the speed with which automation can go throughout the organization. So that's the first part of process understanding was called understanding. The second part of process understanding is that processes always change over time. Always, as a friend of my good Ian Barkin, who I work with, he described the way that that process is built up into organizations as being like, like building up a sedimentary rock, you know, as it builds up over millions of years, within organizations, you have the same thing, which is process sediment, it just builds up in organizations, as you've got new systems and new platforms and new technology and new ways of working, it's built up, you have to understand all of that. And as things change all the time, as soon as exception levels go up, and the robot breaks, because it doesn't understand that's a sure sign that something has changed. So the second part of process understanding is that it has to work out what the new circumstances are, and then correct and rebuild itself. So the direction of travel, we're moving in as an organization and as a market, but we're slightly ahead is that we go to the automatic building of the robots, in other words, self building robots. And when things change, they will automatically fix itself. So you have self healing robots, that stage there is no limit to people being able to use automation, because it will just build them build it for themselves. Now, we're not there yet. But that's the direction of travel, which is quite exciting.

Mark Percival  17:34

Yeah, that is exciting. Is that something? I mean? Where would you put that on the and some time timeline of how soon is that gonna hit? Or is that? Like, a year? Three years?

Guy Kirkwood  17:47

Yeah, I think what you need to add to our product, guys, so Param, head of product and Palak, our head of AI. But I would say we'll have a minimum viable products for that sort of activity in the next couple of years.

Mark Percival  18:06

Yeah. That's, I mean, it sounds amazing if you know when that's sort of the definitely the holy grail and RPA. Because it is a lot of these bots are just very brittle. is is you know, just the way they're the way these processes work and the complexity, and as you said, the changes that happen in the org, you wind up with a lot of things, it's just subtle things that break but things that obviously, it would be amazing if the blockages fix itself. Now looking at UiPath Ah, it seems like UiPath is spending a fair amount of time on education. Yeah, and that seems to be a spot. And I think that also ties in with the you know, if you're going to have a bot for every, you know, employee, then education kind of becomes a very significant component of that, because you have to educate those employees how that actually works. Can you talk a little bit about what the strategy is for UiPath around that patients face?

Guy Kirkwood  18:55

Yeah, it's, it's critical. And let's get this one back a bit. When I joined all of the RPI vendors where we're charging for training, basically grew up making a huge amount of money out of it. But I said, No, you've got to give it away for free. So we created UiPath Academy, which launched in May 2016. Now we've had over 750,000 people go through the courses, and we've extended the course. So it's not just that the RPA developers, the people who build the rebels, but also all the business people around it. And then citizen developers. So what that's done is it's you know, people use we're democratize them the whole time. But it's basically spread automation out to the vast numbers of people in organizations because they can train themselves. It's all free. You can train yourself up and set free of charge.

Mark Percival  19:55

I mean, that's critical, right? That the idea that someone who is not going to be developing RPA has an understanding of how it actually works, correct?

Guy Kirkwood  20:02

Yeah. But it's not only that. We also have a guy called Tom Clancy, not that Tom Clancy, Tom Clancy, and we've set up the academic lives. So the academic Alliance works with universities. And we set that up, I think was the middle of last year with a view to inculcating RPA training into university curriculum. And the reason for that is that, to put it bluntly, the young, everyone talks about millennials, but millennials can be 40. But you know, the gen, the gen Zs, and the gen Ys coming into work, and, frankly, won't put up with the shit that we put up with for the last 30 years. They went, because they don't want to be doing it this way, so clunky and doesn't make any sense. So I believe that they're going to force inverted commas, you can see the inverted commas weren't put in the American workforce organizations to think about the relationship between work and employees, as we talked a little bit before, much more carefully. And automation is gonna be a critical part for that. So the academic Alliance, we thought it was gonna be a really slow job to get RPA into university curricula. Because you know, curriculum, curricula don't change very often. And it takes sometimes years to get something new into it. We were absolutely astounded that over 200 universities signed up in the first six months around the world. And some like William and Mary college in the US, for instance, they've given all of their students, the UiPath robot, so they can automate it, so they can automate the bits of their courses, or their day to day living life. Just as part of their part of the solution that the college is providing for their students. Changing education is really, really important. And we also recently did, UiPath, Academy live for children for school children. And that went really well as well. So we've got developers from, from the age of seven, to the late 60s.

Mark Percival  22:26

Yeah, we just had we just saw, in our weekly RP newsletter, we just had a YouTube video of an eight year old, building a YouTube scraping robot. Yeah. What's it in UiPath?

Guy Kirkwood  22:37


Mark Percival  22:38

it does feel like I mean, I think you have the same, you know, going back to, I guess, you know, millennials and Gen X. And there was this, I think every generation has this moment where they enter the workforce, and they bring with them these new sets of skills. I mean, for my generation, it was probably more of the, I can actually write formulas in Excel, and you would kind of watch the previous generation kind of struggle and struggle, and then the new generation would come in and bring these new technologies with them, it's interesting to think that that new technology for the next generation will likely be automation.

Guy Kirkwood  23:06

Well, that raises a really interesting point, because if everyone's gonna have their own mobiles, just the robot will belong to you, or does it belong to the company? So at the moment, it belongs to the company because employees they've been provided the robots. But ultimately, is that going to be true? because surely, if you've got your own robot, you take your robot and it learns your job at the same time as you do you think about how bigger a device has bled into business? I think that the robots, you know, raises ethical issue, just just my robot move with me and learn my job in the same way that I do, or, or is it? Is it the property of the company? And the go start thinking about ...?

Mark Percival  23:51

Yeah, that's an interesting point. I had definitely not thought about the idea. I mean, you're right, you have this issue of intellectual property that you're creating for the company in the form of a robot? And then, yeah, how much are you, how much you liberty to kind of take that with you?

Brent Sanders  24:05

One thing that that you brought up is around, you know, sort of bought ethics or sort of ethics in the space is an interesting subject and something that we've been trying to wrap our heads around. I mean, they're, it's a broad subject, and it's vague, and I don't mean to get in the sort of academic aspect of it. But I was curious, in your experience, and in what you're seeing, like, does ethics come up and in the decisions to automate certain things or, you know, we're where do you see ethics going? In automation right now?

Guy Kirkwood  24:38

Yeah, it's a really good question. We, Milagrosa is one of my colleagues is doing a huge amount of work with organizations like European Commission, the EU and what I can move forward with exactly these type of topics. Because most organizations as a result of COVID have taken their future of work plans and written them up and put them in the bank because they're they're pretty useless because all Based on old, you know, old paradigms, so organizations and governments and to think about this, you know, should we set up a new social contract between an employer and an employer? You know, what's the antidote to the sort of Chinese 996 mentality where you work from 9am to 9pm, six days a week, just a staggering week, you know, that, that I says, is a disease? Yeah, so is RPA. an antidote for that is it isn't isn't a fix. If you don't have to do that work, because the robots do increasingly. And what happens when it all disappears, which I fundamentally believe that RPA and AI will disappear anyway, not because it's not going to us, but because it's going to be used everywhere, it will just, it will just become a standard way. Like, you know, we use Siri or Cortana or Alexa. Now, you know, that's more of a tech, but it just becomes a natural way of communicating. 

Brent Sanders  26:02

Right, I found when you go down that thread, you start talking about ethics, you really get away from automation pretty quickly, and you get into the constructs of society, and it's quickly an academic discussion, it's going back to you know, are we reducing headcount? Or are we making people more valuable, that's less so what I'm concerned about, but, you know, you hear about companies that are, you know, building RPA or RPA companies that, you know, they prohibit bots from, or you have to pay for bot licenses, and almost like, what can you use? Or what is acceptable to use bots on versus not? And I don't mean to say that, or make any commentary around, you know, any RP system, but specifically around what should we be using this on? Or what Shouldn't we, I mean, to me if something's publicly available, but the first instance of that is like, you know, is there a CAPTCHA? Does that mean, I shouldn't be running a bot against this, and I get that's a bot countermeasure. And, you know, I'm not trying to build around that. But at the same token, you know, what can you use things for? What Shouldn't you use things for what's acceptable use and what's not? And to your point, with the times changing? How do we evaluate that there doesn't seem to be a governing body? There does seem to be rules, right? There's Terms of Service on sites, there's Terms of Service with your software vendor? I mean, how do you navigate all of the different aspects of it?

Guy Kirkwood  27:30

Yeah, it's, it's still up to us, it's still up to us as the vendor. That sounds like a sounds like a Facebook concept, isn't it? Because in a lot of cases, we have no idea what customers what our customers are using their automation for, you know, they buy the licenses, and then they go and build the stuff. I mean, we do know, when they're using the free Community Edition, because all of our automation is run on run on our run on the cloud. So we can see, we can see on our cloud, I should say, it's a single instance of orchestrator. So which means that our platform has been massively battle tested, because it all runs on the same instance. But that's a technical thing. But from an ethical perspective, we don't know what people are using automation for, that's why you need the compliance and governance structures, and the ethical structures created within your organization, probably within the center of excellence, robotic operation center is increasingly being called to set the framework under which the robots will run. Now, the robots will never do anything they are taught to do and told to do, they're called rogue. But, it's up to the organization itself. And so you need separation of duties, for instance, between those people that are developing robots and those that are putting the robots in production. So you've got that chicken balancer. So yeah.

Brent Sanders  29:01

I think that's what I've heard that makes the most sense for right now, which is like data governance, like that is a real role that you need to have, you know, as part of your practice. So it's a it's an interesting thing that I think will be fun to watch how things update because I think it's going back to the COVID thing. It's like, I think, as the paradigm shift, so where the rules and sort of general thinking about how you use automation.

Mark Percival  29:27

I just like to point out one of my favorite things I saw recently was a it's the reverse CAPTCHA is essentially an AI bot only capture. So essentially, it presents images and ask you what these images are. And only an AI would actually be identify that is supposed to be representing like a cat. Basically, it's the opposite. It's basically saying a human is not allowed in here. This is only for automation.

Guy Kirkwood  29:49

Yeah, I've seen some cartoons about that before but we were able through computer vision to be capture a long, long time ago.

Mark Percival  30:00

Yeah, that is sort of the one thing that nobody really wants to admit is captured, mostly defeated, unless it's the more high tech. One. It's a cat and mouse game. And, um, I think would it be interesting for, you know, our listeners, especially ones that are kind of in the thick of it implementing RPA would be really, you know, US chief evangelist probably see this all the time, what are some things that you've seen where you've said, Wow, this is a great use case for RPA, this is a huge win something you can talk about where you said, yeah, this is just a decision to use RPA that resulted in a huge return on investment.

Guy Kirkwood  30:34

Well, in general, last year, anyone that spent $1, with UiPath, got $15 back. So that's pretty cool. And that's within the year, by the way, that sort of gives you an indication of why this stuff's going so fast. But in terms of use cases, what I'm finding is that either organizations, actually what we're finding is that organizations that have previously used automation, and were then faced with COVID. We just didn't know what was going to happen. We weren't sure if the market was going to flatten out, or everyone's gonna stop buying or whatever. But actually, what happened was that those organizations that have that have been believers effectively in automation, double down. So it started last year, I think we have five companies were there, were spending more than a million dollars per year with us on licenses Arr, only we're counting now at 60. And in fact, we've got 70 in the pipeline. Now. So so what what I'm expecting to see towards the end of the year, is that those organizations that that are using RPA Plus, you know, the other tools to automate will accelerate away, and those that have that put it on hold, because they sort of discretionary spend, they hadn't achieved the return on investment are going to drop off. So I think the delta between success and failure for digital transformation, which every organization is going through, will have to get wider by the end of this year as a result. But we're also finding is that to answer your question specifically, isn't the use cases that are most successful, are sometimes using implementation partners that are the smallest, I think, was ironic, in a lot of ways. So we've got, you know, we've got, I think, over 3000 implementation, customer implementation partners, that from the very largest to the very smallest around the world. And actually, it's the likes of, you know, simply ventures in in the US minefields in Australia, Lark AI and in South Africa and Carvin, in the Nordics that are really pushing the envelope on this because they are, so the phrase I hate, and that's that they are really doing stuff that is most interesting, and has the most impact, because they're not restricted by the leg of their own legacy operations, because we were born to do RPA implementations. So I think that those small partners are actually driving along that activity. So for instance, Lark in South Africa, they automated 98% of their customers, inbound emails, so that those emails and that consisted of all of the tools necessary to do that. So the entire platform was written, underwritten and driven by the UiPath platform. But then you had things like named entity recognition, intelligent OCR, sentiment analysis, application out to different systems that RPI does across cognitive elements, as well as using Watson in that case, and so on and so forth. And what they did was, was that 98% of females never saw a human. So regardless of what the customer wanted, this was a financial services organization. The system worked out what they wanted, even though it was standard, you know, emails, so it could be about anything. It was free text and transacted. But to do that, for 98% of the 1.5 million emails that this company got is pretty staggering stuff.

Mark Percival  34:32

Yeah, that's, that's an amazing return on investment. So, you know, looking at obviously, there's a lot of success, use successful case use cases on this. But what are some areas where you would say, you know, that's just not an area that's right for RPA. Are there any?

Guy Kirkwood  34:56

I'm not sure they are. KV sort of proved that actually. So even things that are very highly sensitive, you know, the hospitals or the health workers and so we're using automation in ways that we have no idea that we're doing it really fast too. So, the thing about RPA is that it's applicable across any geography is language independent. it's applicable across any industry, and every service line within our industry. So organizations have gone from having one license to, to having automation spread throughout their entire organization within 18 months. Actually, the way that they get this chap did it is he went to every part of the business and said, you can be your smartest person, I give you smart robots back. And this is a top tip for your listeners, if and afterwards that the common denominator of those people is they will gave us they played board games. Where exactly, we're really good at building robots. Anyway. So but but it's also, you know, I keep harking back to this, the socioeconomic demographic realities. If you look at Japan, the reason that Japan has just gone all in for robotics, is because the Japanese population peaked in 2010. And the Japanese population is falling and all the baby boomers and older are our choice. Yeah, they have no choice. And the N word, there's a word in Japanese school corrosion, which used to work once after death, and people do. So they, they there was no choice. So if you just look at the socioeconomic and demographic, every single industrial and post industrial nation, over the next 20,30 years is going to get exactly the same thing. So I don't mean they're already in it.

Mark Percival  36:47

Yeah, it's an interesting picture. I mean, it's, it's, we're still very much in the early stages. And so obviously, this continues to grow. And it will mean, you know, big changes for society, I think.

Guy Kirkwood  37:01

yeah. Well, you know, that, then we can get into the topics of Okay, so what happens when, when work changes as a result of class? You know, do we go to UBI to universal basic income and all the rest of it? No, this is not topics for a vendor.

Mark Percival  37:17

Right? I don't know. I like the idea of universal income from UiPath. Yeah, that's work for UiPath.

Brent Sanders  37:26

I think that is where it kind of, you know, especially the ethics discussion starts to devolve into these really broad, esoteric ideas, but go ahead.

Mark Percival  37:36

I was gonna say, I think the most interesting, looking back at COVID-19, I think what was interesting about COVID-19 was how many companies before COVID-19 said things like remote work and work from home, these are all impossible. And here's the reasons why. And then COVID-19 hit and it was like they had no choice. Right? So it's like Japan, they just didn't have a choice. And they had to go to remote work. And all of a sudden, lo and behold, it worked. All those things. They said wouldn't work actually did work.

Guy Kirkwood  38:01

We say that the only 20 to 40% of workers that were working on offices are going back based on their latest research.

Mark Percival  38:11

That's the thing. I think that's the shift. I think that's the same shift that's coming for RPA. I think COVID-19 highlighted that what we had as preconceived these ideas that couldn't be done in some way, actually were very trivial.

Guy Kirkwood  38:25

Yeah. Yeah. And in fact, you know, the corollary to that, is that 20 to 40% of the research is actually the work that is, that is the best Monday. That's it's the workers that are going back to do the stuff that keeps the lights on, that is actually the most automatable. So we're going to see another functional change there as well. Yeah, well, I think it's going to happen is that you know, the number of people employed within the back office functions, the stuff that you need to do to keep a company running will diminish over time, and they weren't diminished. Because, you know, thousands of people were made redundant. It would just be natural attrition that just won't hire more people. But I think the corollary is that, that it was the customer experience, the customer intimacy, there's actually going to be the true differentiator for organizations going forward.

Mark Percival  39:24

Yeah, that's an interesting point. I mean, it goes back to the idea of investing more on the an RPA benefits the customer experience. Yeah, just kind of kind of the opposite of what you assume. I mean, it is this nation of like, when people hear automation and customer service, they immediately think of like, bad chatbots and trying to figure out how to get through to their, you know, telecom provider. But the fact of the matter is done correctly. There is a huge benefit to the customer experience.

Guy Kirkwood  39:49

Well, that's, that's one of the areas that we're looking at. So, you know, anyone that's trying to use Siri or Cortana or Alexa doesn't understand what you're talking about, and knows how frustrating that is. Yeah, that is that is the chat bot and IVR type technology that that organizations are currently using. But what you need in order to get conversational understanding either from chat bots or natural voice natural language, is you need the right ontologies. And those are industry or process specific ontologies. So the system understands what you're talking about. So to give an example, let's say we're in a bank, and the robot doesn't understand something, we'll flag it up to the human user, the human user will say, okay, we're just stepping on the Wells account. Now, the system, as I understand it, wells in this case means Wells Fargo, it does not mean a hole in the ground with water on the bottom or a town in southern wells. So that's where you need that understanding. And that is the technology that's being developed right now.

Brent Sanders  40:49

One question I wanted to ask before wrapping up is around scaling, in automation practice. So you know, UiPath, we hear about UiPath as the gateway drug for so many organizations, because of the ease of getting started with Community Edition, you can run a quick pilot, prove the idea out and get by and pretty easy, right? Because it's the tools are accessible, you don't need to, you know, set up a bunch of sales calls, and it doesn't take a lot of time. So one of the things I was curious to get your perspective on was, you know, organizationally, how do you scale from the pilot? How do you, you know, work with a culture that may not be what we call we talked about often. This podcast is an engineering culture, right? Is isn't an aside is like, we interviewed a gentleman from the city of Copenhagen, which uses UiPath heavily, and he was a engineer, and he is constantly updating of his activities that are used on a variety of different processes and bots, and he was taking the approach of a very advanced engineering culture. And, you know, how do you see that develop? Do you need that to develop? I mean, what are your thoughts around going from pilot to, you know, 50,100 different bots running in in keeping them running? And, you know, understanding that inherently, they're, they're going to be brittle?

Guy Kirkwood  42:10

Yeah. I mean, that's, you know, that's the literally the hundred billion dollar question. Because if we get it right, the market will be worth 100 billion dollars. And I don't mean, right apart, right, that you know, that the IPO market will be worth hundred billion dollars? And the answer is, ironically, based around people, because there is that what you need to successfully implement RPA is to demonstrate the value of RPA to everyone in your team. And so either you have the gamers who build robots for everybody, or you enable people to automate the bits of their job that they hate, and help them to automate the bits of the job that they want to do. And then their colleagues go, what's that? What are you doing? How does that work? And can I have one, so what we're finding is just starting at the moment, but what we're finding is that organizations that are operating on a hub and spoke care model. So they've got the central governance and so on which we discussed you needed, probably run by it, actually. And then you have evangelists, or passionate people within the different business units, all showing their colleagues what they're doing with the robots that they built. And you coordinate that through UiPath. Anyway, through automation hub, which gamifies the growth of automation as well. And by combining all of those things together, then you can, it turns from a push market, where acid automation, they were very present colfax and pega. And all the rest of them might know Microsoft and IBM are saying we've got this really cool automation stuff, you want to buy it, it becomes a pull market, as organizations realize that the value of this stuff, and they want more and more and more. I think that's really, we're getting close to that point.

Brent Sanders  44:14

It's great to hear.

Mark Percival  44:15

No, this has been super informative.

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