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Interview with Automation Center of Excellence expert Satish Shenoy

Christopher M. Wells, Ph. D., Indico VP of Research and Development, talks with Satish Shenoy, VP of Technology Alliances and Ecosystems at SS&C Blue Prism, in episode 6 of Unstructured Unlocked. Tune in to discover how enterprise data and automation leaders are solving their most complex unstructured data challenges.

Listen to the full podcast here: Unstructured Unlocked episode 6 with Satish Shenoy


Christopher Wells: Okay, welcome to another episode of Unstructured Unlocked. I’m your host, Chris Wells, VP of R and D at Indico Data, and today I’m really excited to introduce you to Satish Shenoy, who is the VP of Technology Alliances and ecosystems at SS&C Blue Prism. SS&C is a pioneer of robotic process automation and a market leader for the last 20-plus years. And Satish has been there for almost four years now, and currently leads as I said, the technology partner, alliances, and partner ecosystem. Satish, welcome to the podcast.

Satish Shenoy: Thank you, Chris. Really glad to be here.

CW: Yeah, I think we’re gonna have a good conversation. Let’s start that off. Maybe you can tell me a little bit about your role and your responsibilities at SS&C Blue Prism.

SS: Thank you, Chris, again. So at SS&C Blue Prism, as the VP of Technology Alliances, I lead a team that builds a robust partner ecosystem with nearly 125 plus partners. We work in conjunction with what we call the go to market partners. These are global system integrators, value-added resellers, and even advisory partners like the MEE domains all of those partners accelerate time to value. I mean, it’s all about removing the friction where our customers are looking for choices to connect technologies or technology stacks to drive value for their business. What we are doing is creating a best-of-breed approach, giving customers choice, and so that they can leverage the best technology there is to achieve the most optimal business outcomes quickly. It’s about accelerating their time to value for us. 

CW: Yeah, absolutely. And for us too, and for us with Blue Prism at the same time, well more on that in a second. I love the ecosystems concept. For those folks out there who aren’t in the alliances space, talk to us about why it takes more than just co-selling motion. Like why is building the ecosystem important in this space?

SS: Well ecosystems there is so much value delivered through; one is scale and reach in terms of reaching customers, verticals, and geographies. To me, that ecosystem is the one that allows you to do that. And then the second is in terms of how many customers or prospects you reach, not just the reach itself, but how quickly can you reach them, right? Yeah. And then it’s also about one plus one is three, I call it. So what you could do on your own because, so I look at our partner ecosystem and both on the technology side and the go-to market side, and I think, oh, on my own, I could do X, right? But then on with my partners, I could really drive that the tourism, that one plus one is three, maybe four, maybe five depending on the partner. But it’s really we see that in action that in fact, SS&C Blue Prism, we have about north of 300 partners in total, which is so very partner engaged, I would call it. Right? Yeah. So solution led very customer-centric, but partner engaged.

CW: Right on. That’s fantastic. One benefit I would add to that is automation’s kind of a noisy space, and getting plugged into an ecosystem where there’s common vocabulary common understanding of what can and cannot be done is really, really valuable in pushing this industry forward.

SS: Well said, Chris.

CW: Very good, thank you. Thanks. Alright, so on this podcast, I talk to a number of different types of people, but one of the roles and personalities I talk to a lot is the center of excellence lead at whatever large company, small company, whatever it is. But you talk to a lot more COE leads than I do. So I would love to get your thoughts about how does SS&C Blue Prism think about what a proper center of excellence for automation is.

SS: Yeah, no, this is very true. In fact more lot of the time, our default contact tends to be a COE in most cases, an automation COE. Sometimes it’s broader, but in most cases it’s focused on automation. To me, a COE, I mean, first of all, let’s get a common understanding of what is a COE, right?

CW: Yeah, good idea.

SS: To me, it’s a dedicated team of individuals who are setting the standards, who provide consulting and development assistance, and software development assistance, and then they monitor the progress. I mean, you can never really do something and measure it. So they’re good about all that, creating those standards and so on. In terms of the COEs themselves, I’ve seen three different models. The first one is a centralized model, so where a single team in the center is responsible for coordinating, supporting and promoting automation across the entire, a decentralized model where this team kind of supports the structured collaboration. They might set standards like I said earlier, but representatives from different business units are kind of

CW: Okay embedded within the business unit.

SS: That’s right. Okay. And then it’s the lux thing right there. So there’s one end is centralized, the other end is decentralized, and then there’s the federated model. It promotes collaboration between the smaller COEs and manages this collaboration through a larger central team. In my experience, most times I’ve seen a more centralized coe, even though I think the federated model is becoming more and more common, especially as we deal with larger and larger organizations and more so in cases where they’ve come together through acquisitions or what have you, right? Then it’s tough for you to say, Oh, this is the central team because they might have different standards, they have to agree on what works most for each business unit or what have you. So it’s interesting we come across all those models.

CW: Okay, that’s great. I think the centralized one is the easiest to set up and I think that’s probably why most folks go there. It’s interesting that I think the federated model is definitely the hardest to keep in place cuz there’s that tension between the two endpoints. It’s interesting that you’re saying that you often end up in the federated model accidentally because you’ve cobbled different organizations together. I hadn’t heard that before.

SS: Yeah, no. Because you know these IT teams have very strong opinions about how was particular technology should be

CW: Rolled out. Developers with strong opinions, No way.

SS: So as companies come together or things happen, then a federated model probably makes sense. But we see the tension though sometimes we do see tension at times and especially in the federated model.

CW: Yeah. So federated model, it sounds like you’re saying, is best practice. If you’re currently a centralized model, what are, I dunno, two, or three steps that you take to make that move towards a federated model?

SS: Well, it depends. So let me throw one caveat here, right? Yeah. It also depends on the size of the organization. If it’s a small to mid-size organization, a centralized model makes the most sense; why would you split it up? But then if it’s a large organization, because with different business units, to your question about how do you move from central centralized to maybe a more federated because

CW: Yeah,

SS: So it really goes to what are the individual business units trying to achieve? Are there significantly different ways in which to achieve them? Then we see that the centralized model kind of starts moving to a more federated model because it makes sense. You can’t have one standard that can go across the organization. One organization is doing a specific kind of business with outcomes that are very different from the other. If you put some of the largest companies that have come through acquisitions, that is typically the case, right?

CW: Yeah, that makes sense. And you make a good point that at a large organization, you’re gonna have automation embedded in accounts receivable and accounts payable. That’s a very different function, and work from, say the back office of a bank. And so you should manage those things, even if only from a regulatory point of view, you should manage those things in different ways. Yeah, that’s really helpful, thank you. So the COE is sort of the nuclear core, right? In the submarine, there’s a whole lot that sort of surrounds the coe and I want to eventually get to what’s the top-down mandate that drives these things. But talk to me a little bit more about got the COE at the core. What’s best practice in terms of the way that the organization of engages with and structures around the coe?

SS: So typically, when we engage with the COE and let’s say there’s a business unit, a different lines of business that surround the COE that are relying on the COE for guidance as they deploy and so on. What we see typically is the COE becomes almost like the arbiter. We engage with the COE, we talk to the COE, we collaborate with them to get them fully apprised on what we are trying to, what is it that we can achieve, especially if there’s a particular business unit we are targeting, let’s say. Yeah, HR, finance, I mean just recently this last week we were talking to a COE that brought in for one of the world’s largest it’s a financial services company that brought in the hr, this case it was Workday, which was the technology that they were using. So the COE actually were facilitating, So initially they said, tell me more about what is it that SS&C Blue Prism would do in the case of work we, we’ll talk about Indico in a minute, but in this case, just for this example.

And so they brought the HR team to the table after we had that first conversation about our vision of what we can do for HR in that particular instance. And then the second conversation was with hr; they shared use cases, et cetera. So we see the COE as this setting the standards can keep a particular how would I say it, This facilitation kind of ownership Yeah, I don’t wanna call them the police, but somebody has to set the standards, somebody has to monitor how the technology is performing in support of the business. The business may not know, I mean, you don’t want a shadow IT kind of team all over. You want that CO to be that standards spot if you will, and tracking performance and creating processes in line with what the business needs, et cetera. Right?

CW: So absolutely. Yeah, I’ve seen COEs play roles from the facilitator in the best case to police in maybe the worst case. And then often somewhere in between, it’s like a family counselor or something, getting the right people to talk to each other and say the right things.

SS: Yeah, we are lucky that we work. We tend to work with this example that I was just telling you about, this COE team was amazing. I mean, they understood exactly how to leverage the best of technologies to drive the best business outcomes. They were after that first conversation, and this is typical, you go talk to the COE, you show them what you have in mind, you share the vision and how you’ll, you think you’ll deliver value to that business that they support. And then when you talk to the business, they’re actually in almost like a sponsor.

COEs are a sponsor, and they are really helping you. They’re side by side with you and saying, Here’s how I see this working. And so that really interesting.

CW: That brings to mind the question of what are the hallmarks of a mature center of excellence for automation. In your mind, when you walk in, and you talk to a team, what are the things that you’re looking for in terms of saying those guys are mature, they know what they’re doing?

SS: So I’ll actually talk about maturity, but also, then I’ll bring back the mandates thing you were talking about.

CW: Yeah, great

SS: Maturity. If you look at a lot of the companies out there, they have kind of three levels. Some of them are just deploying technology They’re at the beginning stages of deploying technology. But then some are if you look at the three levels, we call them waves, there is the efficiency and productivity level. That’s number one. The second, this is where you are identifying isolated areas of automation that you can drive within our, the skill level is, oh, I know how this all kind of ties together end to end. So now I know about driving business performance, I’m tying these lists of automation together, and I’m able to use AI plus automation. So technology like Indico and Blue Prism to drive business performance. Now you’re not just talking about islands of automation, but now you’re talking the next level and the third level, and this is most, so I’ll get back to where we find most companies. So level one, level two, and level one is efficiency and productivity. Level two is business performance. Level three is business transformation,

Where most companies are in the one and two kinds of levels. Really most successful companies that have transformed reached level three. And what’s unique about level three is there are processes that they’ve created that are suitable for digital workers. Not so much if you think about running a process overnight, you know, wouldn’t have ordinarily you wouldn’t have a human worker that’s working overnight or 24 7. So these processes are so well optimized for not just human workers, which part of the process can be executed by the human worker, but then also digital workers. And some of the processes are only for digital workers. So if you can get to that level of maturity, you know, are really achieving transformation, then

CW: Yeah,

SS: That’s the maturity skill. We can talk about mandates if you want

CW: Some. Yeah. Let me circle back to mandates. I love those three levels that you’re talking about. And it’s interesting, everyone talks about business transformation, digital transformation but most people get stuck somewhere a lot. Maybe they get to step two, they just have their toes on it. And I think what you highlighted there is the reason they get stuck in that it’s not just about automating a process, it’s about automating the right process. And when you’re in step one, you’re just gonna do a one to one replacement of people do this, bot does this, right? And Nirvana getting to level three is now I have this whole digital workforce, what else could we be doing? Or what could we be doing differently? And it’s really flipping that mindset around that gets you there.

SS: That’s what could I do differently. I’m not locked into, oh, this is how we have done things. Because you are catering to the limitations of what you’ve done before.

CW: Exactly.

SS: Thinking business, what does my business need? What’s the maximum that my business needs? And work from there. So that, you know, were talking about the workforce I think at one point, right? The workforce can be not just humans, but also digital labor, right?

CW: Yeah. You’ve used the phrase digital label and digital workers a couple of times, and I wonder if you would just give us a definition for the audience who may not be familiar with that with those phrases, which I like very much.

SS: <laugh>. Thank you. A digital worker to me is a software robot that can do anything a human worker can do. They can be assigned an ID and credentials, just like you would a human worker. They can be trained to do manual tasks as you would train somebody, you bring in to do accounting, you would teach them if they need it, you would teach them how to do accounting. So you could actually teach the digital worker this software, robot entity. You can train to do manual tasks like a human worker. But then these tasks could be usually repetitive high-volume tasks. Keep in mind that a digital worker makes no mistakes, doesn’t take any time off, and can work 27. So that’s how we like to,

CW: No, I love it. I will say they do make mistakes. They only make the mistakes that you told them to make because of the bad process that you encoded. I’ll also say I still don’t trust, You said it’s a robot that can do anything a human can do. I still don’t trust the bots to make me a cappuccino. I just don’t. They’re not there yet.

SS: Not there yet. We tease them.

CW: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. Good. So I kept kicking the can I wanna circle back. So you’ve got the COE has business partnerships hopefully to the point where the business is starting to, the business has been transformed in the way that they’re thinking about what they wanna automate and what they can do. In terms of the COEs you’ve worked with, what’s the top-down mandate from the business that’s driving all of this? Are there categories or is there sort of one mandate that rules them all? What have you seen?

SS: I like the one mandate that rules them all. It’s simple. No, actually, so when we talk to people about transformation, and you’ve heard this Chris, people process this technology simply. Yes, yes.

CW: Too simple.

SS: Too simple. So we have something called the robotic operating model that’s very unique to assistance pr. And we look at that robotic operating model as five different foundational elements or mandates.

CW: So

SS: The first is strategy. So based on the vision, what is the vision for your organization? Start with the Indian mind and then formulate a strategy that meets that vision. That’s number one. Number two is the workforce. Instead of saying people, it’s mold than people. Also that digital worker, in digital labor, there are various ways to get work done. So that workforce is unified workforce. Third is designing, so strategy, workforce design, Identify the transformational opportunities that you have through research, consulting, whatever it needs to be. Talk to your business unit. The COE will engage with the business unit to understand what it is needs to be done. What are the pain points? What are the priorities? What are the personalities even?

CW: Yeah, Right?

SS: So we got a strategy, workforce design. Now next is build. This is where we understand the technology life cycle and the methodologies that exist. The COE does too to deliver value to speed that is comfortable to the organization. That’s the key, right? Change management. But it’s really understanding what is comfortable to the organization and then building or developing technologies and things like automation and AI from Indico to support that. And the final piece is operate. So we talked about best practices earlier, best practices from the standpoint of achieving efficient planning and smooth production and control of the business, operate the operations in line with what that business needs. And different businesses, if you’re talking about the back office, that business needs very different operations than the front office of the call center, which is right. So that’s why we have these five elements. So strategy, workforce, design, build or develop and then operate, right? So if you look at those five elements, we find customers that actually embrace those five. We see them very successful in deploying thousands, hundreds, if not thousands of digital work workers. So

CW: It’s interesting in those five pillars that you just mentioned, there isn’t a lot that you couldn’t just apply meaningfully to any other initiative within your business. I think the unique flavor that you’re bringing is saying, Hey, you have more than people at your disposal. You have this people bot, digital worker partnership, and you should keep that in mind as you plan and run in perpetuity and production.

SS: You’re right. I think that’s because that’s unique to us. That’s why that element, we highlight that. But you’re right at the high level, those five can apply in various situations and initiatives.

CW: Yeah, no, I think it’s great. Maybe the one mandate to rule them all is just be a business that’s run efficiently and use all the tools at your disposal in the right context.

SS: I think when you said efficiently, I was thinking of the balance that the business has to strike with between efficiency and effectiveness. Where is that balance? How much can you drive efficiency to the point where it’s no longer effective?

CW: Yeah. And through that comes in, through all those five pillars, I can make a very efficient process that has very little impact on the business if I pick too much low hanging fruit as I choose my projects.

SS: Yeah,

CW: This is great. That’s a great framework for thinking about these things making our way down here to getting to unstructured data. But I want to give you a chance to talk about that change management element that you mentioned. People have been doing things the way they’ve often been doing for a long time. And when you introduce those digital workers, just like if you onboarded a new, if you took your team and onboarded another 50 people to your 50-person team, that requires change management to do it. So what do you see as best practices in terms of change management for onboarding these digital workers?

SS: So the most common thing we secret is the fear of the unknown, right? Yeah. Automation, if you bring in new people into a team, you can imagine some people will get nervous, especially if they’re doing the same job as the human; if I was doing one job and somebody, my management brought in people that are doing a similar job, then how do we kinda work with it? If I can pick one thing, it’s the fear of the unknown and making sure people understand where the automation technology is being used, why is it being used, and what happens to their job, their work. And they’re doing more meaningful work as a result. People see after some time after they see that automation technology is not a threat. So education is critical is basically what I’m getting at, right? Education of the people, It’s always all about people, and the education of those people in terms of what the change is, why the change is coming, and how will the new reality kind of works around them is really what we see in the end. It’s all about people. And if you can educate them, if you can prepare them, if you can manage their expectations and show them where we are going together, I think yeah, that’s the best practice, if you will.

CW: No, I agree. This comes up almost every episode where I think five years ago, maybe a little longer, when RPA was really starting to hockey stick, everyone was just talking about, Oh, we’re gonna lay all these people off or repurpose them. And what has really happened is that automation has become this truly human-centric endeavor in what we’re doing is reimagining what work could be or even and should be in some cases.

SS: And the interesting thing is when you take that and show it with a customer example, what has a customer done that is very relevant to the story you just shared? One of our largest regional banks in the east coast that is customer, called us on a Friday e I still remember it was a Friday evening, I got this call from a cus that customer, and this is right around the pandemic, the pandemic had just hit, people were not able to make payroll, companies were not able to. And so the small business SBA, the small business association had said, Oh, you need to apply, need to send applications to your bank. And this bank received 35,000 loan applications.

And so in order, and they had been given a deadline by the government, by the SBA saying you need to process these loan applications within a certain timeframe. Well, you could hire a thousand people if you can find them, especially in the pandemic where you don’t know how you’re gonna manage them, you can’t bring them into your location or you could leverage in innovative technology like an intelligent workforce, digital workforce. And so that’s what they did. They called us, and they said, okay, we have how can we solve this? And our answer of course was there’s gonna be a digital workforce. That’s a component of it, not all of it, right? Yeah. So they were, long story short, they were able to leverage the digital workforce to process the 35,000 loan applications. Actually in the end saving so many businesses from going under because think about than those businesses were not able to make payroll and now they’re able to because digital workers can save the day.

CW: <laugh>. Yeah. Yeah. It’s interesting. We talked about the fact that bots don’t get sick or take vacation days in terms of fear and the unknown. They also don’t have egos. If you’re bringing a new person on the team and now what you’re really highlighting is, I mean, as long as they’re okay, computer chips are hard to find these days, but as long as the chips are around, the machines are around, they also scale almost infinitely. So makes the business process smoother. Yeah, that’s great. Well, the title of the podcast is Unstructured Unlocked, and I think we’ve put it off as long as we can. So what does unstructured data mean to you? Satish?

SS: To me it’s really about the opportunity to help businesses make more sense out of the data they have. See, businesses have so much data these days. They do. We are generating data at a pace that has never been seen before, and the data volume keeps on increasing every single year.

CW: My email inbox reminds me of this every morning when I look at it.

SS: So, making sense out of that data and a lot of that data happens to be unstructured. So it does I think the gold mine and companies like Indico and SS&C also has some of the offers that are complementary and so on. Anybody that can look at unstructured data and say What are the insights I can glean from it? First of all, enable the company to use that data the richness it. And lot of the data, we know a lot of data is unstructured. And so making sense and getting value, are all the two things I would say to drive better business outcomes. What unstructured data means to me, when I see unstructured data, I see an opportunity, right, to get to create more impact for businesses.

CW: Yeah, no, totally agree. I often characterize unstructured data is something that you cannot put in an Excel sheet and run formulas against it. So you could paste pictures of cats and dogs in the cells, but equals cat or dog as a formula isn’t gonna work.

SS: Yeah. And I think of unstructured data in really two categories. Maybe there’s, I’m not an expert, but I, I’ll tell you personally what it means to me, right? Human-generated unstructured data, email, you told us about <inaudible> text files, these are word process and all that. Social media, is huge.

CW: Yes, absolutely.

SS: Area, right? And websites have a lot of unstructured data there. There are also mobile communications, right? SMS data. It could be pictures, it could be text, it could be media. These digital photographs mean you can see when you look at Google photos now you can actually search on your app. So that’s one of the human gen generated data. The other one is machine-generated unstructured data. So things like scientific data, digital surveillance the things like the military using, Yeah. Oh yeah. And then satellite imagery is another one that I can think of that is really good example of machine-generated data

CW: And then maybe a really mundane one, which is just server logs. What are your machines doing?

SS: That’s a really good one actually. Yeah, machines,

CW: They’re often either a gold mine or a minefield depending on We had a customer who wanted to make sure that there was no PII being logged, and so they used our platform to build out tooling for that. Okay, so that’s one unstructured data is, you talked a little bit about the opportunity. Maybe you can tell me a little bit about how is it that a platform like SS and C Blue Prism on the RPA side and a platform like indico or a homegrown platform for processing unstructured data into structured data, how do you put those together in the right way to make the most of the two of them?

SS: I really love this topic because now you’re talking about business impact. So that’s right, you at Indico can look at unstructured data and then generate insights. And so on the input side, RPA or intelligent automation can actually bring all kinds of data. We talked about human generated, we talked about machine generated. If for some reason Indico has access to that data sets, those on the input side, we can bring, I think at one point you had said, sucking in data, we can suck in all kinds of data. And then once Indico does what it does so well, they constructure data create meaning out of it. I’m simplifying it, but

CW: No, I love it.

SS: Then there are actions to be driven. There are things to happen based on letting the data speak for itself and driving those actions. I remember somebody from, I think it was you that had said something about data move, What was it that you had said at one point?

CW: Yeah, we think about unstructured data in really three categories. So automation, which we’ve been talking about, analysis, which is being able to query what’s in the data and then application where the data really drives the process, the data. Once you can process unstructured data, you can let the data tell you where it needs to go and drive instead of be a part of the process.

SS: I love that it’s much more action oriented than letting saying, let the data speak for itself. You’re actually saying let the data drive what happens next? And that’s where we can come in on the output side where the data is driving these digital workers can actually be the arms and legs to go get work, whether it is taking action into a system of record or do something else, notify a client, whatever it is, they all,

CW: Yeah, and email’s a great example of that where R RPA can do a lot on its own with here’s the metadata, who it’s from maybe even parsing the subject line. But once you get to the body of an email, you really need to understand of what is this person asking for. Are they angry? Did they attach all of the things that they say they attached in the bottle body of the email to drive? And then the email gets marked up with all of that information, and now the bot can look at it and say, Okay, angry needs to go to the top of this queue. They forgot to attach something that goes to some sort of remediation process.

SS: That’s a great way to describe a simple example. I love it.

CW: Everyone has to deal with email

SS: <laugh>.

CW: So we talked a little bit about how RPA and unstructured data platforms can work together. What do you see as some of the unique challenges of working with unstructured data? And I would love if it’s possible to tie that back to the maturity levels that you talked about for the business.

SS: So in terms of maturity, So some of the unique challenges are dealing with new kinds of data, I guess. So some organizations for example are having challenges dealing with social media as data input. The volume also can be challenging for some, I know platforms such as yours can deal with a lot of volumes, but are, some organizations have huge, huge volumes and there’s an expectation from the other side, the customers that are expecting something to happen at a certain pace and volume can be a challenge. If I tie back to the three levels, what we find is those that remember what we said about level three, which was these organizations are creating processes, doing things without really saying, Well, let me think about what exists today and let me try to adapt to that rather than starting the end in mind and saying, this is what I need to be done, how can I do it? And I think a similar approach to it address some of those challenges applies to take some of that to say, Okay, this is what my customer is expecting. How do I get it done? How can I use a digital combination of digital workers and a solution like Indico to achieve what I need to be done?

CW: And a lot of that comes from just comfort. So I think a lot, you talked about a lot of organizations have maybe reached level two, and they’ve become very comfortable with the tooling. I think AI in the enterprise has lagged behind and got to that state where you really understand when I put this in, this is what I’m gonna get out. And so now I can think about the process. I can abstract away from the technologies and then I can think about the process should be, and plug things in when we’re ready to go.

SS: Yeah, no, well said actually. So

CW: Thank you. I mean, I’m just using words that you set me up with when we were talking about the maturity model that you mentioned, which I think is fantastic. So, I’m trying to riff off of that as much as possible coming up. We’re here at the end of our time together. I would love to have you talk about SS and C Blue Prism and Inco Partners. So full disclosure there. For the rest of the audience, I would love to talk to you about some of the successes that you’ve seen. We talked a little bit in the abstract about how to plug these things together. What have you seen specifically as a win in combining the technologies?

SS: Yeah, so one of our common customers is a large global insurance company and they use B PR in hr, in finance, in the front office for claims processing, and so on. I think in a lot of those use cases, they come across unstructured data all the time. And I know Indico Data, they’re one of <inaudible> data as largest customers and they’re ours too. So what we see happening there is the two together talk about one plus one is coming together and in each of these use cases where there is unstructured data that the company needs to make meaning out of. So this global insurer is able to actually take leverage Indico with, we talked about how on the input side data comes in and then on the output side from Indico action has to be taken. And that’s exactly how they’re using it. It’s beautiful to see it in action when it’s one thing to say, Oh, this is how we think it’ll work when actually a customer shows you how it does work. Yeah, it’s really good to see. And so that’s what we are seeing with this global insurer. They speak highly of both SS&C Blue Prism and Indico and what it’s doing for their business. In fact, I think we are continuing to see them grow. And I know Indico is too, so

CW: Oh yeah, absolutely. And I would say that particular customer has come a long way in the two years that I was boots on the ground with them for a while getting things up and running. They’ve really shot up the maturity curve in the way that they’re thinking about things. And part of the reason for that is like you said, they’re using the tools together in the right way. It’s a little surprising to me that, and a lot of your competitors, still talk about we’re the one platform that will do everything for you. And the truth is maybe, but probably not. Because there are technologies that are the right thing for certain use cases. And as much as nice as it would be to have one platform that does everything, that really isn’t the story right now.

SS: Maybe you can do everything but you can’t do it well, so why not? So that’s why we say best of breed and give customers choice. That’s why we exist as the technology partner ecosystem because we believe that we have to give customers choices when it comes to technology. They leverage best-in-class technology from different vendors and optimize the business outcomes based on that. We are not in it to say it’s us or you know, go away. That doesn’t work. Yeah,

CW: It’s not. And yeah, I’ll double click on that. Focus on optimizing the business outcomes. Everything else follows from that. Alright, so let’s put a big bow on this thing. You’ve given us a lot to chew on in terms of how to think about a COE, how to think about automation, and how to think about tools for those COE leads out there today that are tuning in. What’s the one thing, most important thing they should be thinking about as they start their job today?

SS: I will make it very simple, Chris.

CW: Okay.

SS: It’s always about knowing your customer. And in the case of the COE, their customer, their internal customer is that business unit. And the more they know they’re the business that they’re supporting, the better they will be to work with vendors like us to deliver value. And it’s all about delivering value. So knowing your customer, it all starts with knowing your customer, whoever that customer is, in this case for the COE, it’s the line of businesses they support.

CW: That’s right. Yeah. Know your customer. It’s an interesting role, right? The COE, because you have to be part technology expert, part consultant part internal, sort of champion for these things. It takes a special breed of person to do a good job in this role.

SS: They need to have a good mix of understanding the technology also understanding the business. And that takes a person to know both. In fact, some of the partner organization that I lead is that way. You need to know the technology. You also need to manage partnerships and get the most out of those partnerships. And how do you do that if you have both skills?

CW: Yeah, absolutely. And I would also throw in, talk to your vendors. If you’re an SS and C Blue Prism client and you’re trying to figure out how to solve these problems, whether it’s on the unstructured side or the structured side, there are experts in these organizations that have seen this done well. And so lean on them as much as possible.

SS: Well said. Cause this just happened. Sorry, this is going a little longer. No,

CW: You’re okay. It

SS: Just happened where they came one of our COEs and we get to work with some of the best COEs in the world. I think we are fortunate. They came to us saying, help me understand, I’m trying to solve this thing in the hr, our HR business unit. These are the train points, these are the priorities. How would I solve it? And can you talk about some use cases? And we came to them with some great use cases, they loved it. And next thing, now they’re scheduling meetings with the line of business they’re

CW: Supporting. There you go. Yeah, yeah. You have that broader insight, right? So they should be talking to you. Alright, last question. There are still lots of challenges out there, and as you think about these technologies and even that consultative aspect of working with vendors who offer these technologies, what challenges do you think we’re gonna tackle? What’s the big one that we’re gonna tackle in the next few years by combining these technologies?

SS: It’s really so it’s the balance between efficiency and effectiveness. For me, using the combination of humans plus digital labor, how can you achieve the business outcomes? But I think you had given a great example earlier, you can make a business very efficient. But for what purpose? Yeah, why are doing it, right? Can you be effective for your customers, for your stakeholders, for your, I mean this also includes employees, right? Being the stakeholders they are. So how can you achieve that balance is the biggest thing I think that we will see over the next few years. Because you could go on one end of the spectrum or the other in terms of using the best technology that’s out there, but how you achieve that balance is what I’m thinking about all the time.

CW: Okay. Well, that’s great. You’ve been listening to an episode of Unstructured Unlocked. I’ve been joined today by Satish Shenoy, VP of Technology Alliances and Ecosystems at SS&C Blue Prism, Satish, it’s been an absolute pleasure. Thank you for your time and your thoughts.

SS: Thank you so much, Chris. It’s been a pleasure to all of mine. So I really enjoyed this.

CW: All right. I might have to fight you about that, but for now, we’ll agree to disagree. Thank you, Satish.

SS: Yeah, thank you.


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Unstructured Unlocked episode 44 with Tom Wilde, Indico Data CEO, and Robin Merttens, Executive Chairman of InsTech

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