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Interview John Kucera: Why Salesforce is selling its own RPA

by Marco van der Hoeven

More and more major IT providers are paying attention to Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and are incorporating this into their own solutions. For example, Salesforce recently announced that RPA will be a part of its Einstein and Mulesoft portfolio. Rocking Robots talked about this with John Kucera, SVP of Product Management at Salesforce.

John Kucera, SVP Product Management, Salesforce Platform leads a group called Einstein Atomate, which is working to create a consolidated solution for automation, including RPA and AI. He explains: “This is ensuring that our customers have the best platform for end to end automation and integration, using the best in class tools to do so. And some of the things we’re seeing in the market is a desire for more integration of these tools. That is one of the fundamental hypotheses around the Servicetrace acquisition, and why we’re so excited about Mulesoft RPA.”

The challenges his customers are facing are diverse. “Some customers are looking to reinvent and transform their processes. For them we have tools like Salesforce and Mulesoft. Now with the Service Trace acquisition with RPA it is possible to reimagine that process, and redo it the way you want with reusable building blocks that you can leverage across different processes and workflows. This leads to a much higher leverage.”


There are limitations of course. “We recognize that not every process can or should be reimagined, the ROI might not be there. But yet customers still want to automate processes that previously weren’t automatable. With Mulesoft RPA all of these steps that in the past might have been too expensive, or too hard to automate, we now have this great capability, seamlessly integrated with the rest of Einstein Automate, that allows them to automate all those steps both in existing processes as well as in process transformation.”

Several things differentiate Salesforce and Mulesoft RPA according to Kucera. On the Salesforce side we have already pre-integrated all the Salesforce customer data, so you don’t have to do any additional integration to incorporate that into your process automation. We also have self service tools integrated. In Mulesoft we have low code, and every capability inside the Salesforce Einstein automate solution is designed for business users to get started fast. You can call an RPA bot from the Salesforce flow, or you can invoke an RPA bot from Mulesoft.

Starting points

The way RPA is used differs immensely between companies. “They’re all coming from different starting points. We have tens of thousands of customers who already use Einstein Automate successfully. There’s also customers looking to do very basic processes or task management with RPA integrated with Salesforce. And you have others on the other end of the spectrum that are doing quite robust and complex solutions.”

He mentions an example in financial services where a large insurance customer has replaced their previous legacy system that was managing thousands of different processes with Salesforce technology. “What they want is for all these different customer requests to come into Salesforce. We’re really good at handling all that inbound, whether it’s through a chatbot whether it’s through a live in person chat, through fax or email. It gets centralized in Salesforce where the claims are processed.”

Last mile automation

“They have sixteen different systems through acquisitions that need to potentially be updated, one for each of the distinct types of claims that might come in. For twelve of those they’re API connected with Mulesoft. For four others they can’t use API’s for their legacy systems. That’s where they value RPA, in order to have that last mile automation.”

Another company, in insurance, still uses the fax as one of their primary channels. “For example, dentists fax in claims, So they need a scan of that fax, with 50,000 pieces of mail every day. They have all these digital pieces of paper. What they need is document automation, using OCR to look at these forms, which are all standard templates, to figure out what the data in it is so they can act on that data. And they want to do that without writing code. And so thanks to things like Einstein Document Reader, which is a new solution, they’re able to take those digital pieces of paper, extract the key pieces of data, and take action on them with high accuracy without writing code.”

Other vendors

Salesforce already had connectors with software of other vendors RPA-vendors, like UiPath. According to Kucera Salesforce wants to continue to offer customers choice. “We already have partnerships with UiPath, with Automation Anywhere and other top notch RPA vendors. What we’re introducing with Mulesoft RPA is a seamlessly integrated solution where effectively we’re looking to have a more ways to integrate with those RPA bots.”

“To have this integrated not just into the Einstein Automate platform, but also into solutions like Service Cloud. So to put it another way, what Mulesoft RPA is making it as easy as possible to continue with these examples out of the box, so that you can leverage these templates for building customer workflows.”

Automating tasks

“Thanks to all of the great adoption Salesforce has, we have great relationships with line of business department heads. They have distinct goals, and what we see commonly is that they want to have a platform to serve multiple departments, and workflows that span multiple departments. CIOs want to make sure they can have one platform that can solve a variety of use cases, which yields efficiency for all these departments. We talk to CFOs about this as well.”

When talking about RPA and automating task there is still the recurring question whether a robot is taking a job. “What I typically talk to folks about is that this is not about trying to replace you, we humans are very good at what we do, which is making decisions and building relationships. That is still needed. The goal of automation and integration is to take away the tedious tasks that typically people don’t want to do anyway, so that you can be free to have that higher level conversation.”


“So in customer support contact centers for example, a key place for automation, you get a lot of similar requests like password resets and changes of address. People on the phone don’t want to do that, they want to be able to help their customers with the much harder problems, leave them feeling satisfied and fulfilled. That tends to resonate, taking away the anxiety from people who are potentially worried about their jobs, and folks are enthusiastic to move forward.”

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