Robotic process automation (RPA) vendor Automation Anywhere is focused on widening its partner base through its partnership with Tech Data, according to channel boss Leo Curran.
Last year the RPA specialist expanded its partnership with Tech Data, which Curran, who heads the vendor's channel and strategic alliances for Europe, said was part of its strategy to enter the EMEA marketplace, admitting it was "a little behind some of our competitors".
"We always felt that we needed to have a relationship and a deep partnership with a Tech Data-style ecosystem that had the experience of having reach, frequency and yield skills with a bigger network of partners that perhaps ordinarily, we wouldn't be investing in," he said.
Tech Data is not the vendor's only distie in Europe. It has a number of smaller distie partners in the region, but the Tech Data partnership may become exclusive, Curran hinted.
"Tech Data has the scale and reach; we've got some small regional players that we've historically always had - but probably that's up for discussion - that will fold into the Tech Data enterprise so we can really get that machine moving," he said
"This isn't about us retreating from our duties and our support to our channel, it's just that we want to do it with a partner that has that experience and depth in the marketplace, which Tech Data clearly has."
Craig Smith, Tech Data's VP IoT and analytics for Europe, added that the partnership complemented the distie's data portfolio and was a "logical" next step for its offerings.
"Our mission is to help our partners to monetise the entire data opportunity from data creation through to advanced analytics," he told CRN.
"We saw the opportunity in serving our channel; that we need to look at building out a complete data portfolio to enable our partners to achieve that goal and to get the maximum value of the data for their customers.
"For us, RPA was a logical extension to that strategy that will ultimately enable the partners to help our customers to turn their data insights into valuable actions."
The Tech Data exec is seeing more resellers moving into RPA to accommodate their customers' needs and starting to develop themselves as RPA specialists.
"We're seeing opportunity almost everywhere; our channel has reach into every industry, so the real focus for us right now is identifying the right partners, who want to specialise in those industries and deliver those outcomes," he said.
"RPA is enabling some of our partners to leverage opportunities where they can start to build a specialism - whether it's in HR, in finance or in manufacturing - to start to automate processes.
"We're investing very heavily in equipping and enabling our partners around some of these next-generation technologies because it's all about the data. It's about how we help those partners move into this area."
Though RPA is usually seen as a tool to simplify back-end operations and support office staff, Curran explained to CRN that the current chaos caused to work routines globally is a chance to expand RPA's user base.
"If you check the sales of laptops over the last three weeks across Europe, you'll see an almost vertical spike," he claimed.
"Those people are at home and they don't have any support - or they have limited support - for the platforms back at the office, so we're looking at what our bots can do.
"People still have to be paid and companies still have to pay bills so they still have back-office services. There are millions of transactions every day in shared services centres across the globe that are trying to process accounts payables and manage receivables, so maybe we can accelerate the penetration with RPA to release those people to go and do frontline work from home with customers and adding greater value to an organisation."
Curran added that Automation Anywhere is working with partners to create ways in which bots can be effective helpers to organisations and governments during the current crisis.
He believes that although millions of people are now working from home across the globe, this won't spell the end of office culture as human relationships are vital to keep any business going.
"Hopefully RPA and AI will become much more of a ubiquitous tool that we all use in running our home, but also running parts of our industries and our businesses; allowing people to do that which computers can't, which is interact, build relationships with other human beings and develop greater ideas and value for everybody - employees, shareholders and customers alike," he stated.
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