Capgemini picks Malaysia for Robotic Process Automation CoE

  • Partners with Blue Prism to provide training, certification, consulting on RPA
  • Growing RPA market, strong graduate pool, world class infra key pull factors in choice  

Rajesh Kumar Kottul, Group Sales Officer, Southeast Asia and Hong Kong with Bill Taylor, VP ASEAn & Korea, Blue Prism Pte Ltd

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) sounds boring. The term is also vague-sounding – most won’t know that it refers to the process of automating routine business processes. Think of it as having a metaphorical, abstract, pretty much forgotten co-worker named Steve whose sole purpose is to process claims and leave applications or any other mundane, repetitive, brain numbing task you can think of.

But boring is really just a matter of perspective. RPA is a sexy market, for one. Gartner says that RPA software revenue grew 63.1% in 2018 to a hefty US$846 million (RM3.5 billion), making it the fastest-growing segment of the global enterprise software market. By this year, it’s expected to reach US$1.3 billion (RM5.3 billion).

Its application sounds incredibly fascinating, too. For instance, with “Steve” in place, automating the boring, tedious work of processing claims and leave applications, the HR manager can now dedicate their free time on productive and higher level tasks. Like ensuring inclusionary hiring practices or running positive workplace programmes.

So yes, RPA is pretty cool. And a key player of the RPA market is Capgemini – a global company providing digital transformation consultancy; and Blue Prism Pte Ltd – an RPA software provider founded in 2001 in the UK. Together, they’re going to put Malaysia in the middle of the RPA market. In a 2018 ranking of top RPA service providers by HFS Research, Capgemini was ranked second.

And they’ll be doing so with the opening of the first Robotic Process Automation Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Asia, based in Kuala Lumpur. It joins existing ones in Europe and the US and will serve customers in Asia.

Training hands

With the CoE, both organisations are collaborating to provide training, certification, consulting and support services to local consultants and businesses – in the area of RPA solutions. The CoE has already begun training practitioners across different RPA specialities, the company notes during the announcement last week.

It will be focusing on supporting Malaysian businesses in the areas of telecommunications, banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), utilities, logistics, manufacturing, automotive, consumer products and retail.

As for the right skills to address real-world needs of local clients, both organisations will be combining “local expertise with internal research and development efforts” to ensure that.

French-based Capgemini may not be as well know as some of the other global consulting firms but it has quietly built a 250,000 global workforce –  of whom 7,000 are RPA experts. More will be trained up in an area the company predicts will be hotspot of corporate focus as businesses seek to leverage on the power of software and Artificial Intelligence to automate less skilled tasks and free their talent for more value-add and meaningful roles.Capgemini picks Malaysia for Robotic Process Automation CoE

Already the company has delivered more than 4,000 bots to date. According to Capgemini SEA’s chief operating officer Sumit Nurpuri (pic, right), the company is not just an RPA solutions provider though, but also experts in process optimisation and RPA industrialisation – expertise they can bring to the country.

Capgemini group sales officer for SEA, Hong Kong and Taiwan Rajesh Kumar Kottul adds that the CoE doesn’t just provide training and certification, but also learning and understanding examples of global engagements. “We bring knowledge, practices and tools from these countries into Malaysia. You get to work with other experts.”

He points out that this CoE isn’t just an RPA CoE, but also a process CoE. “Here is where you get people coming in from multi-domain experiences – people who have worked for different industries and verticals, from telcos to manufacturing.” These subject matter experts will work with clients to help them improve work processes that can then be automated via RPA.

Blue Prism meanwhile hails its certification process as being industry leading. The entire certification process takes about 265 hours across the five certification types. Participants will be taken through multiple training parts, which are a combination of virtual classes, programmes, tests and mini-projects where they get to showcase how they have automated their processes.

Compare this with some companies that will actually certify you after taking a 90 minutes test – online. This is no exaggeration as Blue Prism VP for ASEAN and Korea Bill Taylor has taken some of these certification tests himself.

Blue Prism’s certification path is meant to be tough as the solutions then go into large companies which expect results. While the certification sounds like it demands people who also have a certain level of technical skills, we’re told the technical modules feature a drag-and-drop interface. As such, it’s less about coding, and more about knowing how well to automate your individual business processes.

“You don’t need technical skills, but you need to understand the business. It’s about understanding which application is impacted and just leveraging the tools to solve it,” explains Taylor. 

Four main reasons Malaysia chosen

Capgemini has been operating in the APAC region in countries that include Singapore, Hong Kong, Phillippines, Taiwan and Japan. Why is Malaysia chosen as the location for the centre of excellence?

Rajesh cites four main reasons. Firstly, he notes that Malaysia has been a strong, growing market. For the last three years, Capgemini’s business in the country has been growing in the double digits.

“We see huge potential in this market and we want to be closer to our customers,” he explains.

Malaysia’s “world-class infrastructure at affordable prices” is another reason they would want to set the CoE here. In addition to that, Malaysia has a burgeoning graduate resource pool – we have 200,000 graduates each year. And, while they can’t be instantly deployed into RPA programs of large scope, but they can certainly be trained to do so.

The final reason, Rajesh explains, is that Capgemini wants to “be at the place where it best impacts the customers.” For this, Malaysia’s similar time zone to Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines means they are able to operate in the same working hours, which makes issues easier to address.

“Also, resources are available locally in two hours’ flying time,” he adds.

“We also see Malaysia as a hub,” Sumit notes. “There are a number of shared service centres here from companies all over APAC. And shared centres lend themselves very well to our mission.”

RPA creates more roles for staff, practitioners command higher pay

At any rate, having more people trained in RPA in the country can only be a good thing. Taylor says that, having spoken to a HR practitioner about how easy or difficult to find people trained in RPA and automation skills, he was told that those trained by Blue Prism are able to charge 10% to 12% more per hour as contractors.

In response to the inevitable question about job loss from employing such higher levels of automation in a company, Taylor notes that Blue Prism, over the last 10 years, has not found a systematic removal of people due to automated processes. “Instead, we find the redeployment of skills is a natural consequence of the emergence of CoEs. We actually find that this creates more opportunity for companies and their individuals.”

At the moment, Capgemini says that they have 15 credited trainers from the CoE, with hopes to get 200 more by the next year.

“The next time you ask me this question in two years’ time, I will like to say that I have 1,000 credited people with 200 serving the rest of Asia,” says Sumit. “With RPA, our expectations is not to serve only here, but Asia.”

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