A passion for problem-solving is what led Bhargavi Tirumala to the world of RPA (Robotic Process Automation). In her position as Digital Transformation Partner at Wipro, a multinational corporation that provides information technology, consulting, and business process services, Bhargavi uses intelligent automation to develop solutions for large organizations looking to improve efficiency. It’s working with creative, innovative people and the direct impact RPA has on people’s lives that drives her commitment to a career in Robotic Process Automation.
What led you to a career in RPA/Intelligent Automation? How did your background prepare you for this field?
I started my career in the technology industry about 20 years ago as an entry-level engineer. Shortly after, I moved into the area of organization and process (re)engineering using model-based techniques like CMMi, Six Sigma, Lean, ITIL, etc.
In my role as a process consultant, I had the good fortune of working for many multinational organizations across the financial, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, energy, and consumer-goods sectors. I got to live and work in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North and South America, and Africa. This exposed me to various domains, people, culture, and ways of working. It also helped me see the common patterns in business problems, and to appreciate nuances specific to sectors and geographies
Why did you choose RPA/Intelligent Automation as your career path?
With Robotic Process Automation gaining global recognition as a value creator, it was a natural focus area for me when seeking business solutions. One challenge that most of large organizations face is improving business-process efficiency while safeguarding existing IT investments.
RPA helps companies optimize and improve while laying the foundation for future innovations. It also provides me with an opportunity to bring service innovation and intelligent automation to legacy systems without replacing it in some cases. I love that it enables me to work with people who are passionate about learning and can bring fresh and innovative solutions to help companies find success.
What do you see as the biggest opportunities in RPA/Intelligent Automation? What’s in the future for your RPA career?
In both the B2B and B2C sectors, Intelligent Automation helps us discover new ways to leverage technology to address real-world issues and improve enterprise resilience. This has been especially true during the pandemic, when we’ve worked with clients to quickly solve challenges both from within their business and from outside sources (like evolving customer and supply-chain dynamics). As companies re-evaluate their business and operating models, the biggest opportunity, I believe, is RPA’s emergence as a way of technology solving “human problems.”
Wipro encourages clients to treat their employees’ experience the same way they would treat their customers' experience. This means that, to solve their employees’ ‘human problems’, organizations need to fundamentally move away from focusing on processes and instead arrive at services and micro-services. The entire automation, digitization, and subsequent technologies would be micro-services driven. I have an incredibly enthusiastic and talented team working with me, and I look forward to leading some very exciting and intelligent experience transformations for our clients in this area.
How do you see the market developing in the next few years?
RPA has been one of the hottest trends in the market as more companies embrace it for automating manual processes. In many ways, it marks the beginning of the digital and digitization journey for organizations. In the future, I expect RPA to be implemented into more and more use cases with deeper business benefits. Leveraging process mining and machine intelligence, RPA will drive real-time process analytics that enable smarter decision-making and digital change across the organization.
What do you love about your job?
One of the exciting things about working as a digital transformation lead at Wipro is the opportunity to engage with new and emerging technologies that solve human problems. I also work with, and learn from, a massive pool of talented and passionate people and a large base of great customers across industries. It’s humbling and a privilege.
What is your biggest professional challenge?
Challenges help people structure a solution and have a common and shared goal to focus on, so in actuality, a day without a challenge is the biggest challenge!
Why should women consider a career in RPA? What advice can you offer to women who are interested in pursuing RPA jobs?
AI (artificial intelligence) mimics human cognition, and research indicates that an all-male or predominantly male team tends to infuse unconscious gender-bias in AI solutions. Organizations recognize the pitfalls of this bias and are actively seeking more women to join their AI forces, to bring diversity of thought and experience, and to increase the relevance and adoption of their AI solutions.
From a corporate standpoint, an RPA/technology career can provide the flexibility to complete work regardless of location or time. We’ve all experienced this during the pandemic, but this attribute holds true for tech careers even when we’re not in a time of crisis. The opportunities for women are plentiful in RPA. My advice is to focus on truly understanding the business problem and the user’s experience and needs. Without that understanding, it’s impossible to strategize or implement a technology-based solution that really addresses human problems.
At the grassroots level, we should ensure that those of us who are already enjoying careers in tech and RPA serve as visible role models to inspire young girls’ continued study of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to pursue careers in technology and engineering. I would encourage young women who enjoy problem solving to choose RPA as a career path. It is a growing area with lots of opportunity to innovate and create their space.
How can we inspire women to pursue tech careers and in RPA specifically?
When it comes to careers in technology, flexibility can be more important than inspiration. With professional and family obligations always in flux, it’s important to have flexible work hours and the ability to work remotely. Employers should also encourage networking initiatives and relevant support groups that can advance career growth during work hours. For example, at Wipro, the #hercode program helps women (especially moms-to-be and new moms) to stay connected to their passion for all things tech. They can choose a skill and find exciting projects, stay up-to-date on the latest technologies, and connect with fellow coders.
Only 5% of today’s tech leadership positions are held by women. How do you think more women in leadership roles will change the tech landscape?
Positively and deeply. Many case studies statistically reveal that organizations that have a diverse cultural mix of women and men at the leadership level innovate and perform better than with singular leadership. More women leaders will inspire other women to drive themselves to those aspirational positions.
You can also join the international Women in RPA initiative. We’re showcasing women leaders in all aspects of RPA. Please get in touch so we can share your story.
Follow Kryon on LinkedIn for more #womeninrpa updates.