Life at Reveal Group
What is your story? How did you get to where you are today?
I started my professional career working in programmatic advertising in San Francisco. I eventually moved to Nashville and took a role at Aramark, a large facilities and food service company (basically – any time you’ve had a hot dog at a ballpark Aramark likely touched it). It was there I met and became friends with Martin Ross, who at the time worked on the Continuous Improvement and Automation team. He got me curious about RPA and then informed me his position was opening. I enthusiastically applied and luckily made the cut . During my time at Aramark, I learned about the realities of setting up an RPA program and where it can make the most impact.
Unfortunately, much of Aramark was laid off due to COVID, including our team. But that experience galvanized my interest in RPA. I reconnected with Martin during my job hunt and he encouraged me to apply to Reveal Group. The rest is history…
What are some of the most exciting automation projects you have worked on?
I started at Reveal identifying automation opportunities for clients. Discovery work is a great base to build experience. Reveal Group’s OD (Operational Diagnostic) methodology taught me numerous additional considerations that should go into selecting a process for automation or otherwise. Shortly after joining Reveal, I volunteered to help evaluate a new technology partner, Re:infer. Re:infer is a communications data intelligence platform that uses machine learning to apply structure to previously unstructured communications, such as email. I took what I learned from Re:infer’s training and built a few demos. In one of the demos, I trained Re:infer to tag emails where a hypothetical customer is requesting a change of address. Re:infer will pick up on phrases semantically similar to “Update my address”, and pulls the new address from unstructured email. These demos help educate clients in NLP (Natural Language Processing) as well as generate some excitement.
If there is such a thing, can you describe a typical day for you?
No day is the same, we are not robots (although we build them). My days typically consist of project management, problem-solving, and research into new technologies. Reveal Group allows me to autonomously (pun) look into new areas of opportunity and I place a lot of value in being able to control what my output looks like. If I want to go build something I’m given the freedom to do so.
What are the most exciting applications you foresee in RPA?
Years ago people thought computers were a threat to job security, and RPA is experiencing much of the same sentiment. Of course, nobody can envision a world without computers today and I see a similar outlook for automation in the workplace. I’m optimistic humanity can achieve an almost workless future. To me, RPA seems like a relatively temporary solution that can quickly be layered over existing business applications. I think the next big movement in automation will be APIs and hopefully soon after that, we will achieve “strong AI” that can produce human-like reasoning. But we are a ways off from that.
Are there any common misconceptions about adopting automation in the workforce?
Do not be afraid of RPA. It is here to enable employees. Currently, the sophistication of programing can only automate bits and pieces of most roles and add up to productivity saving in aggregate. We must also consider the increase in employee morale when they are freed from their daily report that took 2 hours to prepare.
What advice would you give to someone looking into a career in Intelligent Automation?
Follow your curiosity and see what you can build with free versions of some of the tools that are out there. It pays to play around. Some of my early experience with RPA was building flows for fun on my couch. I once created an automated daily email of XKCD’s Webcomic of the day. Grabbing a PNG, attaching it to an email, and sending it to my boss at 8am every day as a form of friendly spam.
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