New York, NY – Dylan Bowman joined UiPath as US employee number 21 and has been on an incredible journey since. Elliott Browne International’s Sam Harrison (Managing Director) and Tim Heslop (Director of Advanced Analytics) recently popped into the new US HQ to discuss Dylan’s experience at UiPath, the leading enterprise Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software company, as well as the rise of RPA. (The Forrester Wave™: Robotic Process Automation, Q2 2018)
Sam Harrison and Tim Heslop, Elliott Browne International – Hi Dylan, could you give everyone reading a quick overview of what Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is?
Dylan Bowman – RPA is essentially a software tool that automates mundane, routine business processes to free people up for more value-added work. You get to your desk and have a set of repetitive tasks you do frequently; those are the type of processes we automate. This can also be applied to any manual process in the business world which doesn’t require thinking.
Tim Heslop – How did you find yourself in the world of RPA?
Dylan Bowman – Purely lucked into it. I got a call out of the blue from a recruiter when I was just about to sign for another company. I was asked to do a fully Logic-based HackerRank, which I love (and often do in my free time) – without any prior knowledge of RPA. I did a lot of research, spoke with the team, UiPath saw the opportunity, and... here I am.
Tim Heslop – You are already in a leadership role at UiPath after 12 months; what’s your story?
Dylan Bowman – When I joined I was literally employee number 21 in the US. The global business was in the 300s – we had grown very quickly and the US was like the Wild Wild West – I got to travel to various clients, some amazing big brands, to pitch UiPath pretty much from day one. It was a real start-up vibe travelling across the states, very all-hands-on-deck; POCs one day in Oklahoma, demos the next on the West Coast, a conference the week after. I worked hard, got noticed for my efforts, and moved up pretty quickly.
Tim Heslop – When you joined, what was the UiPath Academy compared to what is it now?
Dylan Bowman – We were the first to really start the Academy in the US, so we travelled to Romania (UiPath’s previous HQ) and took a lot of notes. The team worked really hard to build an amazing Academy online, which has been revamped several times. Today, the UiPath Academy (which just celebrated its first anniversary) is the first-of-its-kind training and certification program that enables any developer or business professional to learn RPA and put it to work. Since its launch, more than 90,000 individuals from 163 countries worldwide have enrolled in the Academy’s courses. We now have an advanced training platform with a simulated environment – there are even non-developer related courses, including Business Analysts, RPA Awareness, and COE leads. And it’s free for anyone to trial, so it’s worth checking out (Here).
Sam Harrison – How easy/hard has it been to shape the culture with such rapid growth over the past 18 months, and how do you ensure the UiPath culture is spread evenly when working across different territories?
Dylan Bowman – This is honestly one of the toughest things; the awesome culture from Romania was transfused over various trips when we were a smaller team. The excitement for the product and for RPA spilled over to everyone who visited; it was an extremely inclusive environment and had a family feel. Keeping that culture is hard, but we put a huge emphasis on it – the leaders recognize that the humble customer-focused attitude and energy and excitement for technology is what carries us forward. We show this through our interactions with each other every day. Also, hiring a great team has made this much easier!
“The excitement for the product and for RPA spilled over to everyone who visited; it was an extremely inclusive environment and had a family feel.”
Sam Harrison – With this new technology and various cross-skilled individuals in the business, there’s still a lot of learning to be done. How do you approach failure in your team?
Dylan Bowman – Failure is OK; it’s what comes after failure that’s important. Mistakes are made all the time and that’s part of it. One of the biggest things we look for in new hires is the ability to be happy to admit you have plenty of room to learn, and to take objective criticism of your ideas to ensure you’re doing the best you can.
“UiPath won’t try to reinvent the wheel and compete with Google and Microsoft; we want our partners to be able to integrate additional products.”
Sam Harrison – Once a client has implemented the UiPath toolset, what’s next for them on their journey into automation utopia?
Dylan Bowman – The next level for me is AI and Machine Learning automation. We can automate tons of processes out there... it’s surprising how many processes are completely manual. Imagine Company A has implemented UiPath and automated 20-30% of all manual and repetitive processes. The next step is, how can we automate processes which require a little more human thinking? As an example, Company A has 6 different types of invoices coming in at any time, so the question is how to leverage AI to extract data from various other types of data. We’re looking at automating these types of processes.
Tim Heslop – Experts in the RPA space are claiming one bot can replace up to five people in terms of efficiency in a business. A competitor’s CEO has claimed one of their clients saved 328,000 hours a year. What’s your perspective on whether a digital workforce will eventually replace customer service people entirely?
Dylan Bowman – It’s important to think about the question, and the industry lends itself to these philosophical iRobot-type questions. Our standpoint is that we don’t want to take people’s jobs, but we do want to automate the part of those jobs that require little or no thinking, in turn allowing more thinking time and more time to do beneficial work for businesses. I understand the ethical point still stands, as not all companies will work in that way. But at UiPath our endeavor is to make work better for more efficient businesses. We could discuss this one for hours.
“Our standpoint is that we don’t want to take people’s jobs, but we do want to automate the part of those jobs that require little or no thinking, in turn allowing more thinking time and more time to do beneficial work for businesses.”
Tim Heslop – What’s the next big thing for UiPath and RPA?
Dylan Bowman – There are a lot of cool things in the pipeline and without giving much away, it’s about working with more partners and adding more features and capabilities to our tool. We are also working on lots of internal improvements to UiPath. We now have concurrent licensing, which will create the opportunity for bot farms down the road. If you look at a high-level product roadmap for the business, it’s how do we get UiPath from repetitive manual tasks to running more human-like tasks.
SH and TH – As a final question, what’s your advice on someone who is looking to enter the space but has no working experience of RPA or automation?
Dylan Bowman – Just go for it. There are plenty of free tools out there and opportunities to trial and do free training. In fact, UiPath is freely available to download if you’re interested in testing it out. If you have any kind of coding background it’s worth playing with, as the skills are in demand and that demand will only grow.
A big thanks to Dylan for taking the time and sharing his thoughts.
Dylan Bowman – Lead Pre-Sales Engineer, UiPath
Sam Harrison – Managing Director, Elliott Browne
Tim Heslop – Director of Advanced Analytics Recruitment, Elliott Browne