RPA in its current form will be DEAD in ten years

Six Dead-or-Alive Questions

Cindy Gallagher
Cindy Gallagher
SVP Shared Services
Senior Vice President of Shared Services at Gannett. Cindy is a business leader with over 20+ years of experience and a recognized board member of SSON who has worked in top organizations like AOL and Discovery Communications.
Caroline Basyn
Sashi Narahari
Founder and CEO
Founder & CEO of HighRadius, a fintech enterprise SaaS leader that provides Autonomous Software for Order to Cash, Treasury & Record to Report. Sashi’s leadership has secured the trust of 200+ Global 2000 companies.

Podcast Summary

Dead-or-Alive Question #1: At Liberty source, you were instrumental in setting up the onshore BPO model as an alternative to captive centers, so in 10 years down the line, do you think BPO’s for outsourcing will be dead or alive?
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Key Points
  • BPOs will still be alive, but they will look very different in 10 years.
  • In the past 30 years, BPO models have shifted a lot.
    • There used to be a model which the Captive Centers tried to transform and send to the BPOs.
    • This results in a prolonged transition of work and eventually takes a lot of time to reach maturity.
  • Then came the Lift-and Shift, performing the inefficient processes at a lower cost in different locations.
  • Now finally, with Lift, Shift, and Transform all simultaneously.
  • That consumes a very unique and trusted partner to make it work. But it is all about focusing on cutting down the inefficient processes.
  • The bottom line is to gain a good knowledge of the processes before you transform them.
  • Captive centers have been pitching transformation as one of the key value propositions for years.
  • So the BPOs will be alive but with a bit more emergence of the captive centers as a complementary force.

Dead-or-Alive Question #2: What’s your viewpoint on these large physical service centers? Would they be dead or alive 10 years from now?
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Key Points
  • Though everybody will find us living in a hybrid model, the physical service centers will be dead.
  • The post-pandemic landscape at Gannett
    • In December 2020, we began to shift around 485 roles to our provider.
    • And we were still working remotely in the US but started bringing people in India back into a center.
  • The thing is, working remotely works for a few of them. Hence, I do think eventually we will need physical centers for work.
  • It involves a higher degree of security for intense strategy meetings and culture-building needs that we’ve been missing.
  • But I don’t see a time in the immediate future where everybody is back into a large physical space again.

Dead-or-Alive Question #3: If you think about RPA and the current form, the as-is automation of a sub-process, do you think it will be dead or alive 10 years from now?
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Key Points
  • RPA will be a commodity soon, and its current form will surely be dead.
  • It will be much like a Microsoft product. New joiners in any organization will be listing RPA skills and tools into their resume.
  • RPAs have been overhyped for a long time now. And that’s the case for most of the technologies.
  • We hype it, try it, and then realize the actual potential, so we try to harness it. And with the case of RPA, we commoditize it.

Dead-or-Alive Question #4: What are your thoughts on AI, specifically in GBS? In 10 years from now, we would be fairly active, or would it be dead?
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Key Points
  • AI so far hasn’t proven to be all that it’s been hyped up to be, so it’s surely going to be alive in the near future.
  • If implemented and managed correctly, there is a lot of ROI with AI in GBS.
  • The hype should be kept going for a little longer and provide a longer runway in the GBS space to harness the true power of AI.
  • So it’s going to take several years before we put a final report card out on whether or not AI has achieved success.

Dead-or-Alive Question #5: In 10 years, given the consistent wage inflation, will India be a top choice for service centers?
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Key Points
  • India might be in the top 10, so it won’t be completely dead, but surely it will not be the top choice.
  • India as a service center does bring in different types of strength for different purposes.
  • However, the GBS and the BPO leaders in India need to push forward with new technologies and listen to their clients above all else.
  • So if India follows all these things and continues to embrace the change, it won’t become a BPO dinosaur in the future.

Dead-or-Alive Question #6: Would GBS as an organization be dead or alive?
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Key Points
  • GBS is going to be alive and continue to thrive.
  • GBS will continue to be the backbone of many organizations. However, the term probably changes and focuses mainly on Digital Transformation and providing more significant enablers of front-end customer-facing initiatives.
  • GBS needs to start listening to the internal business partners and understand what they’re looking for while also anticipating what they will need in the future.
  • It’s on the shoulders of every GBS leader to challenge their teams, explore new service offerings, and adapt the delivery model to keep this model alive.

Dead-or-Alive Question #7: What’s your advice to other GBS leaders? What’s most important for them to keep their eyes on for success?
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Key Points
  • My advice is to ask yourself what categories you fit in and why you feel you fit there.
  • And if the answer turns out to be you fit in any one of these, because you are afraid of exploring something?
  • You need to permit yourself to let go of that fear and break free of your comfort zone.
  • For me, that’s my people. Bet on your people and give them opportunities to grow, explore, listen, and take action on their ideas.
  • For me, that’s my people. We need to bet on our people and give them a safe space to explore, grow, listen, and take action on their ideas.

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