RPA jobs

Surviving The Robot Aftermath?

Last week the RPA Academy interviewed Harrison Goode, co-founder of Edge Tech Headhunters where we discussed the state of the robot job market. See the full video here

There were some terrific questions from the audience, including which products are most in-demand, where are the most opportunities and which industries have the greatest levels of adoption (see the webinar here). Then came the question...

"There are talks that RPA is dying... How many years you see RPA going strong?"

Oh dear, I love HfS but their 'RPA is dead' story simply refuses to die. Ironic really, especially since the main point of the article was in fact that intelligent automation platforms (the combination of RPA, Machine Learning and Analytics) was significantly expanding the number of processes now suitable for automation.

RPA is here to stay for a good while yet, the expanding ecosystem of new AI capabilities is adding new opportunities previously not possible with RPA alone. I do wish people would read beyond the headline, no matter how catchy it is.

On the topic of the ever-expanding ecosystem of AI capabilities, I'm excited to announce that our next Webinar will be held on 16th July and is with Celaton, a leading provider of Machine Learning directly into business. We'll find out more about the capabilities now possible to solve business problems. Sign Up Here.

Gartner claim that the RPA Software Market grew by 63% in 2018, so we're not facing the RPA Apocalypse anytime soon, but there is a need to understand more than just RPA, but also the growing list of solution providers who have found the opportunities to extend the capabilities of RPA and solve a wider range of business problems.

We have recently completed 6 weeks of Automation Anywhere training and 2 weeks of Blue Prism training for our customers. If you looking to grow your skills internally then we can provide the capabilities and support you need, accelerating your delivery path. Contact us here for more information.

Ouch! What is holding you back? Answers here...

This is like walking down a street full of RPA professionals, as a roving reporter with a microphone and a cameraman, asking one simple question.

But, are people really that open and frank in front of a camera, when you can see their name and face? 

Our weekly online surveys are anonymous - so we get a different level of transparency and honesty. Yes, we’d love to dig deeper, but one simple question can reveal a lot.

Last week’s question was "What would you do differently? (Or where did you go wrong?)”

It could also have been “What is the one bit of advice you’d give anyone setting off down the RPA journey?"

What Would You Do Differently.png

The clear headlines are:

  • Expectations are key! The “cheap, easy, and fast” myth is getting exposed for the lie that it is. Let’s at least get the marketing guys saying, “cheaper, easier, and faster” than alternatives.

  • We hear stories of projects where the leadership has said “we’ll deliver by November” and the developers have pushed back and said “February”, and guess who was proven right!

  • Maybe the advice from this is “start off with limited expectations”. Be confident RPA will work and drive value - but that, until you can understand your platform and clearly see how you can get to scale, you can’t have real expectations. Of course, the corporate world won’t give you that freedom - but it is worth playing back to your leadership the dangers of too high expectations. 

  • The best news of all = the choice of platform is not the source of your concern. Respondents feel pretty comfortable with their choice of technology. If this answer had been different, there would be a real issue in the market. So this is the most reassuring response. 

  • Nor is anyone really complaining about bad leadership. If expectations are not aligned, it is largely because of naivety around the marketing messages and reality. It is not due to incompetence. We’re all pioneering to a certain extent with RPA, so respondents are pretty understanding.

  • #2 issue identified is Governance. Certainly, given the responses, this is an area for deeper investigation. I don’t think we’d see different results if we looked at projects in other fields. However, it is also one of the most fixable of problems. Go back and look at your RPA platform’s methodology and do a quick audit. In fact, get each of your team to take 30 minutes to do this today, and schedule a team meeting for tomorrow to discuss and implement the results.

  • Support and Mentoring. Bear in mind that RPA is a new frontier for 90+% of the world. Your boss and colleagues are not likely to know much more than you do. But there are people out there who do have experience and wisdom to share - it is just very hard to find and tap in to in a way that doesn’t disrupt the work they are doing. However, if you could do this, you would! [Note - watch out for our announcements in this late-summer].

Help the market with your insights and experience. This week’s Question Of The Week is here https://therpaacademy.com/qotw

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The World of Connected RPA

Blue Prism World arrived in London last week and it was big! Really BIG! Claiming almost 3000 attendees at its peak, the two-day conference was undoubtedly the largest RPA event Europe has hosted so far.
The morning of day 1 focused on partners, providing advance information and a partner-only awards ceremony. The theme of connected-RPA is just another way of describing the growing importance of the partner ecosystem providing tailored capabilities not included in the core platform. Here are some of the highlights from across the two days:

The digital exchange (dx) which provides an open library of shared modules (or skills) features prominently at the centre of the growing community with plans to open it up app-store like in order for developers to sell their work.  

A new browser-based interface really gave the whole thing a new polish, and an updated architecture which now facilitates a centralized view of multiple environments is a welcome step for global operations.  

BP Decipher was announced, providing a new ML engine to convert unstructured data into structured, an overdue addition to the portfolio that disappointingly concluded with the reality that the product was still in development and an invitation to join the invoice processing trial would be coming soon.

A new Success Accelerator program has been soft-launched to help customers overcome the hurdles in scaling up and share good practices. This is a great step, but reading between the lines, it’s also a step to make sure customers stay in the fold and don’t stray to competitors. The market is getting tough and looking after existing customers is a positive step.

The announcement of a cloud-based trial version was a bit of a let down with many in the audience looking for a simpler set up for customers interested in dabbling for themselves that was more similar to community editions provided by other vendors. It's not entirely a surprise that they didn't go quite that far but we can dream.

In the end, it all comes back to the partners and the ecosystem, connected-RPA linked together almost every presentation, and it’s clear the future developments are going to come from the combination of core RPA and partner capabilities.

If you’re interested in learning more about the ecosystem look out for upcoming webinars as we introduce ecosystem training into our core curriculum. The RPA Academy is an accredited Blue Prism Training Partner; we continue to provide flexible, tailored and innovative approaches to learning. Check out The Beacons, for cost-effective training when you need it or contact the team to tailor an on-site course to your specific needs.

As Blue Prism would say: "Automate Together, Automate Better, Automate More"

Your best employees are made, not found

The World Economic Forum emphasizes that it is crucial for employers to support their current workforces through training in order to address the skills gap. Within the next five years, it is expected that over 50% of employees will require significant reskilling and upskilling.

Meeting this demand through traditional recruitment methods is simply impossible, there are insufficient skills on the market to tap-into in the first place. Developing your existing talent is the only option to keep up to date and achieve your business goals.

This will require some bold steps and new ideas.

Don't even look at these jobs. RPA Job Ads That Will Kill Your Reputation

Some words of advice - for Developers, COE leads, and Recruiters.

Most companies don’t really have a grasp on the skills they need to implement RPA. 

As a result you’ll see recruiters with long wish-lists in their postings. 

This is only creating the RPA equivalent of the duck-billed-platypus.

You’ll see people post lists like this:

  • 3+ years of Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere, UiPath or Workfusion [Just a weird combination as a starting point]

  • 10+ years of .NET, VB, C++ or similar [Ok - not that bad]

  • Experience establishing a Center of Excellence [are they looking for a technical developer or a consultant]

  • Able to analyze and prioritize processes for automation [ok, now we’re looking for a business analyst]

  • Can work with the process owner to redesign processes for automation [Arg - now you’ve got to have Lean Six Sigma skills]

  • Experience of the PharmafinancialinsurancebankingdefenseBPOITOandtherest sector is a plus [Hmmm!]

  • Available to start immediately [Like I’ve got all of the above skills and am just waiting around until this job vacancy popped up]

  • $5 an hour [Great - finally I can afford to eat]

  • Corp to Corp or W-2 considered. GC holder or US citizen [Darn - I ticked all the boxes until this. I curse my parents for letting me be born in Scotland and not migrating before I was 18.]

Your options are:

  • Laugh and move to the next opportunity

  • Apply and try to educate the recruiter along the way that no one has this combination of skills

  • Recognize that the recruiter doesn’t have a clue, so has just parroted a fantasy list from their client [but it is their fault - recruiters should advise their clients]

  • Apply knowing that you are sub-superhero and tick 2 of the boxes

  • Apply, get the job (yay!), and then suffer as you’ve obviously bluffed about your superhero capabilities.

Let’s just help the market. 

That’s what we spend much of our time doing.

We are not HR folk, but we are always talking about the HR issues - change management, resource/skills planning, job descriptions, succession planning, reward structures etc. 

While much of our work is around technical training on Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere and UiPath - online and onsite around the globe - RPA success requires people with the right skills at the right time.

Without that, none of this is going to work.