Life at Reveal Group
Cody Thomas, Senior Consultant
Based in Dalton, GA
Tell me about your background and how you got into RPA.
You could say I took the long way to RPA. I bounced from field to field and worked for the largest flooring manufacturers in the world. I was in the business services department, doing some basic process analysis work, and one day my manager asked, “Do you think you could learn how to use automation to create a process robot?” I gave it a shot and worked with my colleague Chase Keilman, who now works for Reveal Group, to build bots to automate customer experience. I later left that company and took on a more traditional process engineering role at another manufacturer. After a couple of years there, I realized I liked improving things and making processes more streamlined; and I had a lot more fun when I got to do process improvement using intelligent automation. In hindsight, it makes sense. In my personal life, I’ve always enjoyed hobbies like woodworking and jiujitsu because I can approach them methodically and continuously work on my skills.
When did you realize you enjoyed automation and wanted to make a career out of it?
It happened almost immediately. My process engineering role was supposed to include all facets of continuous improvement, and I would get to introduce my automations. When I built my first bot at my former company, my RPA skills were self-taught. The bot was janky and held together by duct tape and dreams, but it worked. Two years later, I talked to a guy who still works in the department, and he told me the bot was still running with no maintenance needed. Solving problems like that is inherently fun.
How did you end up at Reveal Group?
I found Reveal on a job posting site and thought it was interesting. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but I was convinced
I wanted to join because of the people I met and how much I enjoyed the hiring process. It was one of the better interviewing experiences I’ve had.
What was it about Reveal Group that made you want to work here?
I like how diverse the group was. Something is exciting about a company that pushes learning and wants to help you expand your skills because the more well-rounded we are as consultants, the better we serve our clients. With all the different backgrounds and places people live, Reveal is the most diverse company I’ve worked for.
What have you seen as the most significant benefit of automation?
The best part of RPA is that it’s a multi-use tool. It’s there to fill in cracks. You get to set the rules. A bot will do exactly what you program it to do. There’s no deviation from user to user; you can improve your system as you get more streamlined. You get more money’s worth out of systems you already own.
What’s your outlook on the RPA industry and where it’s headed?
Every year you hear RPA is out of date. RPA was supposed to have been dead five times by now, but here it is. People are still getting certified, and people are still expanding their skills. Adjacent technologies are also emerging, like IDP and NLP.
The best thing the industry can do is to have people learn automation tools beyond just RPA to prevent stagnation.
How would you describe intelligent automation to someone who doesn’t have a deep understanding of the technology?
We give computers tasks they are better suited for, like data validation and extraction. Doing that gives humans time to do what they’re better at, higher thinking, and more creative processes.
You’ve been an RPA developer for about four years. How have you seen RPA change over the last few years?
What I’m seeing right now is a shift into using Microsoft tools. I mean, Microsoft is always going to be Microsoft. Their products are everywhere in every company. Their distribution and the low entry point give them a lot of power. Those tools are coming up in a swell at some point. It’s certainly not at the enterprise level now, and it may never hit that point, but their citizen development will entice a lot of smaller teams.
What does ‘life at reveal group’ mean to you?
Life at Reveal Group means every day is a new learning experience. I’ve dabbled in more technologies than I’d seen in my entire career before I came here. I’ve been on projects at a scale I wouldn’t have imagined being involved with, and I’ve met some of the most skilled people in the technology industry, and learning from them has been an incredible opportunity.
One of Reveal’s values is ‘nothing less than total transparency.’ Why do you think transparency is essential for our work?
Humans are smart enough to know when they’re being lied to or can at least tell when they’re withholding information. If there’s even a grain of doubt or a small seed of mistrust, those relationships won’t be able to grow and may even fail. If we don’t establish trust with people from the get-go, how can we expect them to invest large sums of money with us? How can we expect them to use our services if we aren’t transparent? We are confident our clients will achieve ROI when they work with us, but we are responsible for demonstrating that and answering all their questions with 100% honesty because it’s the right thing to do and because it’s who we are.
As a recently promoted Senior Consultant, what has been the key to your success here?
A big thing is an openness to new experiences. I ended up getting into the IDP space because someone here saw I was handy with Excel and V LOOKUPs, so they reached out and asked me if I could spare two hours to fix the V LOOKUP in an excel sheet. The next thing I knew, I was on a HyperScience project learning how to use that tool. The project challenged me, and suddenly, I became one of the ‘IDP guys’ at the company. In addition to HyperScience, I’ve learned ABBY and other tools. I’m not afraid to be the dumbest guy in the room; that attitude has paid off for me.
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