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If Not Now, When?

In the post-pandemic world, business will have to become far more relevant to society. If this moment in time will have taught us anything, it is this. Benefiting shareholders will be increasingly tied to benefiting society.

We are living today in a world unseen. But we are living. There is a great deal of pain at this moment, but we’ll get past it as we have before in other times of crisis throughout history. But one thing is certain. We will not return to the world we once knew. Over time, we have the opportunity to reinvent the world as it could be. As it must be.

We can also do the same with business. I believe we each have an opportunity to transform business into what it should be. Though we’ve seen some governments at their worst, we’ve seen people at their best. We’ve seen medical workers at their breaking points -- desperately saving as many lives as they possibly can, manufacturers retooling workers to make millions of ventilators and other medical supplies. Pharmaceutical companies with a maniacal focus in their search for a vaccine. People selflessly helping people. And not a moment too soon.

In the post-pandemic world, business will have to become far more relevant to society. If this moment in time will have taught us anything, it is this. Benefiting shareholders will be increasingly tied to benefiting society.

Automation Anywhere has taken its first steps to bring greater benefits to our communities. I don’t mean to imply that they are enough by any means, but we are committed.

Long before COVID-19, we engaged closely with the social enterprise organization, People Shores. They empower the underprivileged and often overlooked so they can be part of our digital community. We partnered with them in launching our first RPA Center of Excellence in Clarksville, Mississippi, a program for underserved communities that allows individuals to develop robotic processing automation (RPA) skills. Our partnership sets a course to create more than 200 jobs in the next 18 to 24 months. We have jointly established RPA Centers of Excellence in both Clarksville and San Jose, CA. 

Working with Goodwill Industries, we are offering technology training to help people become better qualified to secure work in technology. We have entered into similar partnerships with Rural Shores, in India.

Within weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown, we announced a program through our Automation Anywhere University offering $500,000 worth of scholarships to people who are interested in reskilling or upskilling to help make them more qualified for higher-skilled jobs in RPA. We’ve established similar programs in India with Edcast and NASSCOM. We have also partnered with NetCraft to build a free, one-stop, continuously updated website providing 650,000 residents in Macao, China, with up-to-the-minute COVID-19 information.

During the COVID-19 crisis, we are providing free automation services to qualified community organizations, including unlimited bot licenses for three months, with up to 50 hours of free set up and training along with 24/7 support to help develop new solutions for business resiliency. We also developed new solutions to help organizations mitigate business risk during the pandemic, launched new bots to accelerate the Small Business Association loan application process, and even partnered with Microsoft to help the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) extract critical COVID-19 patient information quickly, accurately and securely for the World Health Organization.

You can learn more about these programs and others here.

I often find myself awestruck by people’s ingenuity. We have a seemingly limitless capacity to solve our world’s most complex challenges even when they first appear insurmountable. Yet we often miss the chance to address less obvious opportunities inherent in every crisis.

Since I believe we will not completely return to the world we once knew, we have the opportunity to create a more modern world as we modernize our businesses. In a more modern world, business will not be considered truly successful without providing clear benefits for society. I’d like to think that we have used this time to be part of this modernization. I would hate to think that we might squander this opportunity to act. What could be a better time to make it a priority than now?

Mihir Shukla is the Co-Founder and CEO of Automation Anywhere. A serial disrupter, Mihir founded Automation Anywhere. A visionary in the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) category, Mihir pioneered the Digital Workforce -- software bots that automate business processes with both cognitive capability and embedded analytics -- driving unprecedented human productivity while dramatically reducing processing costs for the world’s largest enterprises. Prior to Automation Anywhere, Mihir held leadership roles in internet, e-commerce, and wireless companies at the forefront of innovation such as E2Open, Kiva, ISN, Netscape, Infoseek, and Omnisky.