Automation Anywhere gets $1.8 billion valuation

Silicon Valley-headquartered company and Morpheus partner, Automation Anywhere, that uses software robots to automate tasks previously performed by human workers has reached a $1.8 billion valuation with a recent $250 million round of fundraising from companies including Goldman Sachs, making RPA a multi-billion dollar market place.

It's a sign that automation has reached an "inflection point, a tipping point" say’s Mihir Shukla, CEO of Automation Anywhere.

First, consumers are demanding faster service than ever before, Shukla says.

“The demand for automation is growing quickly. ... the digital native companies — the likes of Google and Uber and Netflix and Amazon and others — have created a new standard of instant customer gratification. And now we expect it from every company that we are customer of”.

“And you can only deliver that if you have automation as a key strategic driver in your business. That is the only way for businesses to compete.”

Additionally, technology has developed enough so that bots can now take over simple tasks from humans.

“This is a historic point, a historic moment in our life that this is now possible. More importantly, that is the way to think about this — where it is a turning point or an inflection point, a tipping point, when now this is possible…. this is not about job replacement, but job augmentation"

"The best way to think of it is what computers are doing to us. When computers came to the workplace, there was the same discussion happening: How many jobs it would take away? Obviously certain jobs have gone away, but for most of us, if I take away your computer, you would say, 'How do you expect me to do my job?' Right? It has become an integral part of an augmented job for us," Shukla says

"So that is the same way to think about the bots. Bots will work side by side with people doing what they do best,  allowing people to do what they do best. And it is an augmented workforce that will take us to the next, higher level of productivity."

The robots, which use machine learning and artificial intelligence, have “near-zero error rates,” claim Automation Anywhere. Tasks which bots are well suited to include moving data from one screen to another, data collection, data verification, reconciling data or invoice processing, explains Shukla. Currently, "hundreds of thousands of human workers" globally are "manually" performing these tasks.

Automating rote tasks will allow professionals to focus on more complex tasks, which Shukla says is a net positive. “Certain work goes away, but the jobs don’t go away," says Shukla.

A recent study from the McKinsey Global Institute seems to support this. By 2030, McKinsey predict that 75 million workers around the globe will need to change occupational category due to automation and 400 million individuals could potentially be displaced and need to find new jobs, the report finds. These estimates are based on a midpoint rate of adoption of automation.

But the study found that overall, few jobs are going to be entirely replaced by automation — most jobs will change and there will also be entirely new job categories. According to the report, less than 5% of jobs consist entirely of tasks that will be fully automated; in about 60% of jobs up to one-third of tasks could be automated; and 8 to 9% of 2030 labour demand will be in new types of occupations that have not existed before. The McKinsey Global estimates are based on analysis of 46 countries that include 90% of global gross domestic product and a midlevel pace of adoption of automation.

Some, however, like Elon Musk and Richard Branson, are still concerned about automation putting humans out of work to the point where they say the government may have to pay people a cash handout, or a universal basic income, to live. And the US Government is even considering a ‘Robot tax’ to offset any shortfall in income tax resulting in robot workforces displacing human workers in the workplace – these are interesting times indeed!


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