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What can tirelessly do the work of thousands of employees without complaining and never take time off?

No, this isn’t the start of a bad joke – it’s a reality for enterprises across the globe who deploy robotic process automation.

RPA, as its casually referred to, mimics mouse clicks and keystrokes to automate repetitive, office-like work. Able to automate tasks in any environment, regardless of the existing software platform, RPA is available to any industry and thrives in all environments, especially those who already operate on OnBase and want to take their automation a step further.

We couldn’t have picked a timelier guest to walk us through an overview of RPA and the types of applications that qualify as good candidates. Tim Tallaksen, Director of Intelligent Process Automation at Hyland Software, joins us for a well-rounded conversation about what robotic process automation is, how its currently supporting businesses amidst the pandemic, and how Hyland’s recent acquisition of a world-class RPA developer is allowing current OnBase customers to quickly deploy huge bot farms to automate the work of thousands of staff – easily extending the value of their digital workflow.

Read Transcript

Steve Glisky:

Welcome to the Paperless Productivity Podcast, where we have experts give you the insights, know-how and resources to help you transform your workplace from paper to digital while making your work life better at the same time.

Vince Hanson:

Thanks for joining us. My name is Vince Hansen and I’m the Vice-President of our Sales and Marketing operations here at ImageSoft. I’ll be your host for today’s podcast. I’m excited for this hot topic and our guest from Hyland Software, the makers of OnBase.

Vince Hanson:

Today’s session is going to be to discuss the Robotic Process Automation space, or what is commonly referred to as RPA. The Hyland team has ventured into expanding their OnBase solution in a big way, utilizing proven RPA technology that has been deployed worldwide, including enterprise level deployments with over a thousand bots, automating hundreds of processes.

Vince Hanson:

This is an amazing opportunity for all of our current OnBase customers to further extend their current workflow solutions and find new ways to automate processes for continuous improvement. Anyone in any industry can take advantage of RPA and the ability to automate tasks in any environment, regardless of the software platform they’re currently on. Without further ado, I’d like to introduce Tim Tallaksen, who is the Director of Intelligent Process Automation at Hyland Software. Tim is going to give us a great overview about RPA, talk about Hyland’s new offering and educate all of us on the types of applications that are good candidates for this technology. Thanks for joining me, Tim, and welcome.

Tim Tallaksen:

Hey, Vince, it’s good to chat with you. Thank you.

Vince Hanson:

Great, great. So Tim, maybe for our audience today, you could just start with maybe telling us a little bit about what exactly is Robotic Process Automation? How does somebody go about understanding what this new technology means for them?

Tim Tallaksen:

It’s a great place to start. It’s a good question. And it’s going to be interesting to do this on a podcast, because I often go right to the software and want to show somebody how it works, but this’ll be an interesting way to go about it. So if you’re thinking about RPA, Robotic Process Automation, think about it this way. Really what the software does is emulate keystrokes and mouse clicks. So those things that a person would do. If you’re sitting down at a PC and it’s your job to work with an application or work with multiple applications, and you’re responsible for moving data from one to the other or making a decision in system A and recording that decision in system B, very typical kind of office work. Those processes are good candidates to be automated with RPA software.

Tim Tallaksen:

It’s kind of a high level example of it, but it’s the most common use case. And it’s what people often start with, which is, looking at a business process that involves multiple systems, typically has a good number of users doing it at a very high volume, so it’s really cost-effective, right? You don’t want to automate something that takes somebody 10 minutes a day to do. There’s not a lot of ROI there. But if you’ve got a group of folks that are repetitively doing a decision based process between systems, that’s a good candidate to automate with RPA software.

Vince Hanson:

That’s great. That’s great. So maybe you could tell us just a little bit about how Hyland RPA came about and how you guys have gotten started with this new offering and technology.

Tim Tallaksen:

Yeah, so it’s one of those sort of like overnight success stories, right? We’ve been at this for multiple years, but made a big bang when we pulled off an acquisition of a company called Another Monday. Just to roll back the clock, we had some internal efforts to create some software that would be RPA like, we called it Task Automator. So we had a lot of education and learning internally over the last several years, doing some product development, extending some capabilities of our current feature set. We then looked at the market and said, “Wow, this is really rapidly moving. It’s going to take an awful long time for us to catch up with where the technology has been going.” So we really contemplated a partnership and looked at partnering up with some RPA vendors, but also realized that might not be the best thing for our customers, because our customers have already automated many of their business processes using OnBase, using some of the other products that we have under the Hyland brand.

Tim Tallaksen:

So we sort of then turned our thoughts to an acquisition target. And Another Monday became really the ideal company to work with there in that they had very advanced world-class technology. As you mentioned in the intro, they’ve developed some huge bot farms with thousands of bots doing the work of thousands of full-time employees. But they had not really made a huge market presence, specifically here, domestically in the States or even outside of the pyramid region. So world class technology, that we were then able to add right into the Hyland portfolio. So this is market ready, deployable technology that can extend the value of what our customers have already invested in.

Vince Hanson:

That’s great. That’s awesome. So, Tim, what are some of the key features and benefits of RPA? I think many of our customers have invested into OnBase and are always looking for that opportunity for continuous improvement or efficiency. What are some of the things that would really benefit them by looking at this RPA technology?

Tim Tallaksen:

So, I mean, the main benefits are the ability to ensure that processes get followed the right way every time, all the time. So it reduces things like user training or eliminates those areas that could be at risk from a compliance perspective. So, I mean, that’s the benefit. So you’ve got a bot that is configured to do the process, same way, every time, all the time. Doesn’t call in sick, doesn’t take weekends off. Doesn’t do any of those things. Is just kind of cranking through the work.

Tim Tallaksen:

So it’s going to allow an organization to scale up a process without adding more cost or more people to that process. Those are benefits. It’s really some of those things that are very similar from a value proposition to what our folks already know from a workflow perspective. And we really think RPA is sort of that next step in automation from an OnBase workflow process also. So anywhere that you can take clicks, you can take steps out of a process and automate those, you’re going to have some savings, some cost reduction, some risk reduction, by bringing RPA into the mix.

Vince Hanson:

Tim, has anything changed since the pandemic with people working from home? Is there maybe more of a need now for RPA or certain processes that customers are focusing on to be automated?

Tim Tallaksen:

Yeah, that’s interesting. In our world, Vince, often we have documents or we have things like that, that kickoff a process, right? When we would get engaged with a new customer prospect, we would often talk about, “Well, tell me about the life of a document. How does it start? Where does it go? Who touches it, what decisions get made?” And so, we often work with processes that somehow still live in a paper world and are migrating over to an electronic based world where we’re often talking about these things. Well, those folks that had not completely automated some business processes to remove as much of the human element or the paper element, the physical element from them, humongous disruption in service when the pandemic hit. People stopped coming to offices, mail stopped getting routed to people’s desks or internal documents stopped flowing around.

Tim Tallaksen:

And in any of those processes where people were doing things outside of the norm, if you will, outside of the automated process, ground to a halt. Informal spreadsheets, people having to be in the office to access multiple legacy systems, things like that, they became very difficult to replicate in a home-based process, is what we saw. So, those companies that sort of were caught a little bit off guard, we’ve seen a huge movement towards trying to automate as much of that mundane routine work as possible. So that means, more capturing documents at the point of entry into the organization. It means more things like RPA to automate routine processes so that the folks that you do have working remotely can focus on higher level tasks, things more like creative work, customer facing work, research type work. And you can take that risk out of the process, because no matter what happens going forward from a pandemic perspective, work’s not going back to the way it was. That’s just not going to happen. We’re into a new era here.

Vince Hanson:

You almost need to catch yourself when you think about a process that you knew before and think about it in a new way now that we’re all working from home for the most part. Are there some key features, is there anything interesting about the technology or solution that differentiates it from some of the other RPA technology that is out in the marketplace? Something that might be a benefit to a lot of our customers that are already familiar with OnBase and Hyland?

Tim Tallaksen:

Yeah, there absolutely is. And as I mentioned, we had an opportunity as we were looking around at different technologies and trying to do some research and figure out the right direction forward. We, as Hylanders, as we say, became quite educated in the marketplace. And when we started looking at the Another Monday technology, which by the way, we call Hyland RPA now. They had a piece of technology that we felt was very unique in the offering. And it’s a piece that we call the Hyland Analyst and it allows you to basically record the click-throughs of a manual process. So imagine this, I’m a user inside of an OnBase system and part of my job is to monitor a workflow queue and look at documents that arrive in there. I maybe look at some of the related documents. I maybe go to some external systems, do some research for information or enter some information. I live in this world between multiple monitors that so many office workers often wind up doing.

Tim Tallaksen:

And I go through those processes very repetitively. And they’re rule-based. What we can do is use this software to watch the user do their job, record all of the clicks, record the decisions, record the happy paths in which things are flowing the correct way, record those use cases where there’s either exceptions in the process or further handling needs to happen. This software allows you to do two things. One is, track all of those clicks, track all those decisions and create a document that then could be output out of that, either in a PDF or a PowerPoint type format. So that as you’re going through a process, you can ensure that you’ve tracked all of the potential paths that decisions might flow, so you create documentation around the process.

Tim Tallaksen:

But it also creates the base configuration at the same time, which we would then hand off to the designer tool. So you’re actually doing two things at one time, you’re capturing the process to ensure that you’ve got a complete understanding of what it is, and then you’re building the configuration on the fly. And through this process, you are ensuring that you’ve got all the right details and then you’re pushing yourself down the road towards building a proof of concept so that folks can actually see the impact that Hyland RPA would have on automating that process. So we really felt that piece was a significant difference, because it gives a way for, let’s just say, the non-programmer, non-technical person to capture a process and quickly see what the benefits are. It bridges that gap between what can be pretty complicated technology and your departmental users who are used to doing the work. And we really feel like that not only accelerates things, but helps in the understanding of the benefits of RPA.

Vince Hanson:

Yeah, so Tim, I’ve been working with the Hyland OnBase platform for about 10 years, and it’s always so exciting to interact with a new module or a new solution that is going to have some great impact on a customer’s environment and solving some challenges that they have. Are you seeing a lot of new use cases now, relating to the Hyland RPA tool and what do you see the future and what type of roadmap things are your team now dreaming up, relating to solving some of these challenges that customers are asking about?

Tim Tallaksen:

Yeah. I too have been working with OnBase and this technology for quite some time. And like I alluded to a little bit there, we often think about the document, right? And how the document starts a process and when other documents come and go out of the process. This kind of technology might even lead us to start thinking about customers, clients, constituents, those kinds of things, but those processes that begin, end and only exist in electronic format. So system to system type things, where we’re doing automation of billing processes and maintenance processes, where we need to move high volumes of data from one system to another, in order to initiate transactions and next phases of processes and things like that. So it always used to be, and way back in the old days, we’d walk into a building and look around for a file cabinet, because that usually meant that was part of a process in some ways.

Tim Tallaksen:

But I think our customers have to think about this differently, because the technology that’s being developed and extended into the platform today, maybe in some cases doesn’t really have anything to do with physical documents themselves and it’s just more about those high volume transaction work processes that we’re seeing inside of organizations. So technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning into this, those places where a person played a role in solving a problem or working in one system or another system and made those kinds of decisions, we’re going to see technology bots. We’re going to see automation step into those places and free people up to do more higher value tasks like I said, which is solving customer problems, thinking about the next generation of products that that company is going to sell, those types of things. So we’re automating things that just weren’t even dreamt of 10 years ago when we got started into this kind of technology.

Vince Hanson:

Yeah. It’s an amazing time for sure. Well, Tim, thanks so much for just really the outlook on the new Hyland RPA tool and the education about what RPA is all about and what some of the common challenges are for customers and how the solution can really help them strive to get that next step in their journey for efficiency and automating processes. It was really great catching up with you today.

Tim Tallaksen:

Yeah, great talking to you, Vince, also. The one thing I would say, if you’re a customer that is really interested in this technology, a little bit of a paradigm shift is, it used to be that evaluating some of these tools was difficult to do yourself. But if you go to hyland.com/rpa, right there on that webpage, follow a couple of links and you can actually download the software into your own test environment, have access to a full set of documentation and begin to explore how this technology can bring value to your organization today. It’s that accessible to folks that have that level of interest.

Vince Hanson:

That’s great, thanks so much.

Vince Hanson:

It’s been great having Tim on today’s podcast, giving us a breakdown of everything RPA and Hyland’s path forward on continuing to evolve and innovate in the solution automation space. We touched on so many topics today from defining RPA, talking about the Hyland RPA platform, it’s benefits and real-world examples of processes that can be automated.

Vince Hanson:

If you’d like to learn a little bit more about ImageSoft or our solutions for RPA or OnBase, please go ahead and visit our website at imagesoftinc.com. This concludes today’s podcast with Tim, talking about Robotic Process Automation. Thank you for attending and have a great rest of your day.

Steve Glisky:

Thanks again for joining us on this podcast. To learn more about ImageSoft, please visit imagesoftinc.com that’s imagesoft I-N-C .com if you haven’t already done so, be sure to subscribe to Paperless Productivity, where we tackle some of the biggest paper-based pain points facing organizations today. We’ll see you next time.