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Scaling Your Automation Journey (Part-1) What Do You Need To Know? How To Avoid Pitfalls? Five Key Elements Of Scaling Up Automation.

March 3, 2022

Scaling Your Automation Journey (Part-1) What Do You Need To Know? How To Avoid Pitfalls? Five Key Elements Of Scaling Up Automation.

Scaling Your Automation Journey (Part-1)

What Do You Need To Know? How To Avoid Pitfalls? Five Key Elements Of Scaling Up Automation.


AITSM Show - Episode 2 - Special Interview With Fernando Baldin

Scaling Your Automation Journey (Part-1) What Do You Need To Know? How To Avoid Pitfalls? Five Key Elements Of Scaling Up Automation.

In today's world, companies start with little bots & automation here and there but fail when it comes to growing automation, with more and more value. 

We'd have our pertinent questions like - How To Scale Our Automation Journey? What Do We Need To Know? How To Avoid Pitfalls? What Are The Key Elements Of Scaling Up Automation?

We asked Fernando Baldin, SAB(Sr. Advisory Board) at HDI(Help Desk Institute). With plenty of creative metaphors like the Fast-Food Dilemma and unique ideas from his passionate and rich career path. We'd learn a lot from him. 

Don't miss the end, where he shares five key elements from his rich experience. Don't miss the second part, full of unique ideas, where we go deeper into the concept of the Citizen Developer Dilemma.

"Do not think of your automation journey as the first burger, you can do better than some fast-food chains. Think of it as a scale from the beginning. Otherwise, when you go a little further in the journey, either you have to do it all over again, or that will probably cost you a lot of time, effort, etc.."

Learn and Grow, With AITSM Show!!!

Transcript

Anand Tambey: Welcome to the AITSM show. Today, we'll be talking about scaling your automation journey. Today we are joined with Fernando Baldin, a little introduction about him. He's graduated in public relations with an MBA in administration, ITIL Master V3, HDI KCS, and a member of the strategic advisory board of HDI Brazil - Help Desk Institute. Working for more than 22 years in the IT area, working with large customers in Brazil.

Welcome to our show. We would look forward to value from IT pros like you. Thank you.

Fernando Baldin: Hi Anand, first of all, it's nice to be here. I'd like to thank you for the invite. Let's talk about automation, which is something we're really passionate about.

Anand Tambey: Right. Definitely. In today's world, maybe companies start with little bots here and there, little automation here and there, but when it comes to the value out of it or scaling the automation—moving forward with more and more automation and more and more value. What could be your suggestions for scaling your automation journey?

Fernando Baldin: You know, Anand, I always tell customers. I always tell them about the fast-food dilemma. I don't know if you ever heard of that, which is if you ask someone if they can do a better burger than some fast-food chains or whatever they would probably say yes, I can't do a better burger myself, but if you ask them okay, but can you do millions and millions of burgers in one day?

Can you do it by yourself and well, that's different. And that's the point. When our customers or in-the-market companies start their journey, they think that little burger I'm going to do it. That BOT that started like one burger.

But they always have to think of one. But when we have 200 300 bots, which types of governance, controls, and tools should we have in place to create, maintain, and improve bots the usage of bots. And that's, I mean, that's the first step.

Do not think that just because you're doing a better BOT here, you can do 300 BOTS in this way. So, that's the first point. I always like to push that to governance, to control. In the sense of quality control, not controlling the sense of, I have to control everything done in my company.

 If I could point out one strategic thought, do not think of your automation journey as the first burger, you can do better than some fast-food chains. Think of it as a scale from the beginning. Otherwise, when you go a little further in the journey, either you have to do it all over again, or that will probably cost you a lot of time, effort, etc.

Anand Tambey: Yes. So most probably beginning with the end in mind, to scale right from the start, you must have a plan for, right!!!

Fernando Baldin: Exactly. And that comes with KPIs. You should have KPIs; for example, what is your bot efficiency?

How many times do they run properly in the percentage? So, because I, I hear a lot of people say, oh, I have that number of bots, that number of bots. And I always think to myself, okay. But the number of bots without the success rate of those bots. There's no use for that. The big question is which one is better?

I have a hundred bots and 99% efficiency. So, they run correctly 99% of the time, or I have 300 bots with 50% efficiency. So, my success rate is half. So, which one is better, you know? So that's why governance and control are important. Otherwise, you'll fall into that place of, oh, I have done a number of bots and all that.

Anand Tambey: So, what would be the challenges companies face while having this initial journey stage, and when should they think they should move towards a journey towards more automation and scaling.

Fernando Baldin: One of the key points is to start and start doing it.

The start phase is the first step because you are not only doing technology or adding technology to your business; you are changing the way people think about how they work. So that's very strong. So, you're going to change activities. You're going to change the expectation from the customer wants to start to bring more speed to it.

So, people have to think differently about how they interact with bots. It's not a matter of replacement. That's not the case. At least in the companies. We have been doing automation here in Brazil. Most of the time, they empower the employees with more time to be closer to the business.

So, I would say the starting phase is critical. And also, I would tell that governance and control think of a hyper-scale from the beginning is a key by the end of the talk here about some five critical points that we're going to leave to the end, Anand. So, people can keep hearing this.

The company or the customer has to pay attention to it. Otherwise, they will fall into some; I like to say, the black holes of technology; you don't know how you got there. How to get out of there. And it got stuck.

Anand Tambey: And I have observed that the customers are using some obsolete technologies and then stick to them.

And then every time a new technology comes, they cannot adjust to it. So, what is your point of view?

Fernando Baldin: When I first started working with automation was way back even before RPA; as I tell our partners, I was in the stone age of automation where you used to do a lot of scripting, a lot of well, we call ITPA, IT process automation nowadays.

So, it's sort of, I mean, the dinosaurs of the automation era. So, what happened there is that, and I think that's the point here. I mean, the main struggle we had back then was, okay, I do it through database connection API, and I think we started doing some automation at some point. And we will struggle because most of the time, in many projects, the customer didn't have access to a third-party application.

They didn't have access to any of those required connections back then. When RPA came to this scene. We, like the dinosaurs, were quiet. Skeptics. Interface automation. That's not going to work. Or what are those guys moving the mouse, keyboards? What is this? Come on; we’re done. We're the masters of automation.

And then we got convinced that the interface automation or RPA solved an issue already, and it's still going to be there. Unfortunately, corporate applications are not thought to work together.

This is changing a little bit, but they’re still not thought to work together. RPA, as a platform, enhances that possibility of allowing companies to make those different applications work together in whatever possibility they bring to them, which could be an API. It could be; their interface could be the database.

I think that was the main point. RPA grows so fast, enabling the company to create their digital processes without being limited by their applications, especially old ones, the legacy of the cases, etc.

Anand Tambey: So, another day, we talked about platform vs. code, and there was some dilemma in the developer's mind.

So, could you explain more about it?

Fernando Baldin: Yeah. That's one of the key points because when the bot is working, see the customer looks at it and say, look, I don't care if it's Python scripting or if it's a platform. At the end of the day, it's working. Right. And that's where we're back to that first point we've mentioned.

And that's where that little advice, think of hyper-scale from the beginning, pays off because if you think of the little bot now, the tiny burger you did, that is incredible, but it's better than a fast-food burger you believe. Why use these platforms?

 I always like to compare that to the ERP market, right? Enterprise resource planning market, why nobody develops an ERP these days because they look at it and say, look, why am I going to spend so much time and effort to do something already built in a market.

It works better, is cheaper and faster. And even if I can't do that, let's say I can create that ERP myself. It is fantastic. I will struggle to have all the features that are already in place. When I get there, the market will move two steps farther. Oh, my goodness. I have to build all those.

So, it's the same with RPA. Coding. It's interesting. I'm not saying that it cannot do scripting bots, is not that, but definitely, it puts me into a dilemma, which is okay; how can I develop more? How can I maintain more? It's almost impossible to keep those things working unless you are an IT company unless you are specifically focused on that. Otherwise, you struggle with that,

Anand Tambey: Correct. And there would be a lot of dependencies on developers in that case. Right?

I'm interested in those five things required for automation and scaling automation initiatives.

Fernando Baldin: Yes, let me bring that to the audience. Feel free to agree or not agree, but maybe that could help you in your automation journey or the first point of 5 points.

 Before starting the automation journey, think of platform versus code scripting. Think of it. I mean, I'm not saying you should buy a platform or go scripting. I'm just saying, think of it on the hyper-scale. Think of it on the current capacity of your team.

The second is the citizen developer dilemma. And that's where the scripting fails to help. Okay. You can create a single group of developers to develop all the bots in your company, but they will become a bottleneck for your journey. They only have a specific number of hours in the day. They're sleeping while they're on the weekends.

So, the citizen developer, I think that would be a good second podcast for us. It's not for business analysts to develop, forget about that. All anyone can develop the script. The question is, a citizen developer is a guy who can bring more opportunities faster. He knows the business of his department; he can get more opportunities.

And the more he knows about automation, the better opportunities he'll bring to you. So that's the point. And the future is bright, right? There's going to be tons of new technology. That's why I think platforms are faster to adopt those, connect, and interact.

So, the effort would be creating your own AI. So, your platform should enable you to create your own algorithms. I'm not saying packaged algorithms are not good. I'm just saying it; they are not a key differentiator of your business. So great. The fifth thing I would like to point out is to build to last.

So, think of RPA not as some temporary solution, not as some add-ons to your ERP; think of RPA, just like an ERP system when you're implementing your ERP. You're not thinking of I'm going to change these in one year or two. You’re thinking of 10 years relationship with that vendor. Correct. So, think of. RPA same way as a long-term relationship, adding value and enabling your company to go digital regardless of a new legacy or in situations we have in place nowadays.

Anand Tambey: Beautiful concept. Yeah. This is the right concept. You do not hold a short-term win but also go for a long-term basis and long-term relationship.

And long-term continuous winning, another day you were saying 1% degree of difference. Can you explain that? You explained it beautifully.

Fernando Baldin: Yeah, especially in the beginning, the decisions you make. So, it's like that rocket, when you're launching a rocket to the moon, if they're one degree, if the rocket is one degree, not in the right place. After

the space, the distance of that one little degree from the launching becomes a huge difference. So that's this coding platform; all those choices you will make are that little one degree. In the beginning, it doesn't make much difference. What is one degree here? Come on.

But as you go along in your journey, the one degree might take you exactly where you want or far away from where you're hoping to be with automation.

Anand Tambey: So, before we conclude this discussion. Do you think I would have asked some other important questions?

Fernando Baldin: I think we have covered many basics of anyone starting their automation journey, but a good question would be which platform is the best.

If I could send a message, a final note would be, and I always liked to tell these people sometimes think of RPA as some additional, like MS Office. I tell people, look, RPA is not MS office because the office is something people believe for an end-user. Just install everywhere. Let it play.

And I always say, look at RPA as similar to the ERP market. Such a long-term relationship. You're going to have to know. So, you're going to have to learn. Most companies know they're ERP at some level, they reach out for partners at a second level, but they have to understand business rules.

They have to know some tweaks here and there, some maintenance points. So Look at our RPA project like an ERP project. Long-term partnership, technology has to be updated from time to time and core to your business.

Anand Tambey: Right. And your own AI implementation, which could be flexible enough. Unique, amazing insights from your discussion.

And actually, I would keep asking for more; I think what we can do here is we can add follow-up episodes, and we can keep bringing you for our interviews. Right?

Thanks a lot for your valuable insights. We'd love to have you again on our show.

Thank you. Thank you very much, Fernando.

Fernando Baldin: Thank you, Anand. It's a pleasure to be here and give you a suggestion; the next time, we could only do one episode about the citizen developer dilemma. That'll be a fun one to do as well. So, thank you very much and all the best.

Anand Tambey: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you very much. If you have liked this conversation, please share it generously and bring your feedback and suggestions what the questions we should ask our guests and IT pros. Thank you. Watch this space for more and more value in the following podcasts. Thank you very much. Bye-bye.

Fernando Baldin Profile Photo

Fernando Baldin

SAB(Strategic Advisory Board) at HDI(Help Desk Institute)