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Automation as a competitive advantage: CIO’s take the lead

by Marco van der Hoeven

What are the latest trends in automation? At the beginning of the new year there are of course all kinds of predictions. For the manufacturing-industry Diego Lombardo, VP of Product Marketing at UiPath, recently highlighted some market trends for Europe in the webinar Automation Accelerates: Industry Trends for 2022 and Beyond.

“It’s an exciting time for automation”, Diego Lombardo kicks off the online industry event. “There’s more and more use cases every day that automation is addressing. Adoption is on the rise, companies are scaling their automation programs, they are seeing millions of dollars in ROI, and there is an entire ecosystem around automation. And all that is happening faster than ever before.”

Based on talking to customers every day and industry analysts, UiPath identifies several key trends that he wants to share with the viewers. A major trend he discussed is that CIOs are taking the lead in automation. “In the past, automation was often done in departments. When people saw a process that was inefficient and readily automatable they went ahead.”


What he finds amazing about the growth around RPA and automation is that over time these initiatives are linked together. “That’s been fantastic for driving skills as well. As automation becomes a top tech trend people are seeing the potential of automation to drive fundamental advantages for their core businesses. Then they want to introduce automation across the whole organization.”

As a result CIOs are being tasked to lead automation initiatives inside their company, and take responsibility for the success of their automation initiatives. It’s up to the CIO now to track down all the separate initiatives and bring them all together. What they need is a centralized solution that gets everyone working and collaborating together in a secure environment. As these programs get bigger, with mission critical work, security and governance become more important.


“You really need to centralize around a single strategy to unlock new value across various areas.” The reason for this is that the value is in centralized cross department automation. End-to-end automation benefits multiple processes, such as customer service, sales, logistics, shipping. “This touches many different departments, you’re missing these opportunities if you’re looking at just one department. Look for those cross market opportunities as well, then get to work with the individuals who are already successful in automation.”

This helps other employees understand what benefits automation is going to bring to them. “We’re moving past the scary days of automation with ‘Will I lose my job’. You need to work on change management and help people understand what’s coming and train people to take advantage of automation.” Scaling automation across the business is how CIOs are going to drive value, and help the CEO by making automation a competitive advantage.


He notices an automation platform convergence with a lot of different vendors in different parts of the market that are offering automation technologies like RPA, BPM, low code platforms and AI. This leads to complexity for users trying to understand all these different technologies and platforms, and figuring out which ones make the most sense for them. “They all have their pros and cons. So if you’re the CIO, or you’re running automation inside your business, you’re probably wrestling with. There’s a reason why Gartner names RPA the fastest growing enterprise software category.”

RPA is the technology that gets organizations to value fastest, so RPA has consistently led the way in automation. But it’s not just automation software, it’s all enterprise software. This means for example UiPath is adding all kinds of enterprise functionalities, like AI. “We do this because our customers are telling us they need those capabilities fort their automation strategy.”


This is relevant because building automation typically involves a rules based process. The robot follows the digital workflow, and executes flawlessly over and over again. To build this requires someone to ‘explain’ the software how a process works. This can be made easier with reusable components, in a drag and drop model. To learn the robots step by step what the rules are AI can help, to give robots an inherent understanding of what they have to do. “And then we’ll be able to create automations by telling the robot what we want to do, and the robot understands both the process and the results you’re trying to get to. Robots are getting smarter, and they’re going to be able to understand your end goal, and help you build the automation.”

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