After covid-19 led to business disruption which led many firms to turn to Robotic Process Automation (RPA), automation solution providers are expecting another wave of mass adoption due to the looming fear of recession and the resulting layoffs. Mihir Shukla, CEO of Automation Anywhere Inc (AA), a US-based RPA solutions company, believes automation will play a key role for many firms and sectors due to its speed and scale. In an interview with Mint, Shukla spoke about the how firms are adopting automation, the disruptive role of platforms like ChatGPT and more. Edited excerpts:
Q. We have been hearing about AA’s IPO plans. Are the IPO plans delayed?
We are growing fast. We created a very compelling product on cloud automation that more than 70% of our new customers are using now. We are very excited by the business we're building and will look for an opportune moment to go for an IPO.
Q. Though North America and Europe are key markets in terms of markets, have you seen more growth in India after the covid-19 led digital transformation wave?
India has been a great source of talent and innovation for us and it continues to be. We continue to strengthen our place in India with R&D centers in Bangalore and Baroda. We have also seen an increasing interest from Indian enterprises in adopting automation. With well-known brands in India now scaling their businesses, they find a need for speed and scale.
We are seeing some of the largest private banks, oil and gas companies in India adopting and scaling automation. We are (also) seeing traction in healthcare, telecom, and manufacturing in India, and a great deal of interest from governments.
Q. Has the economic crisis impacted the adoption of automation?
Because of its speed and scale automation is the solution to turn to in a time of recession and inflationary pressures, as we all are experiencing. I think you will have seen this in past recessions as well. You will see even faster adoption of automation across all enterprises.
Q. What are the plans in India in terms of hiring and investment?
We continue to strengthen our teams in India, both on R&D as well as to serve Indian enterprises. More than 50% of our global workforce today sits in India, which speaks for itself. The India team has led the work on some of the most cutting-edge products we have launched recently.
Q. Many firms are working on integrating ChatGPT into their services. Do you see the tool becoming mainstream soon?
I think most technologies start as entertainment initially. If you think of our internet in the early days, the easiest thing to do was to get entertained, and then we started doing commerce and then B2B and now so many things. So it's an evolution of technology. You can do some fun stuff with ChatGPT and I'm sure as it evolves, technologies like that will become more and more mainstream.
A capability like ChatGPT is an example of where we are going and what’s to come. AI can be a great tool to answer questions. I think one of the things we as humans will have to get better at is thinking about what are the right questions. There is no AI software in the world that can tell you what the right question is.