What does an e-commerce behemoth and $120b of revenue have in common with Robocorp’s partner program?
There are things happening in the greater workforce that Robocorp is strategically aligned with. At the same time, we are uniquely positioned to support fresh business models outside the legacy traditions of RPA giants.
January 11, 2022 – Hanna Kettunen
Here at Robocorp, we believe that our long-term success, and that of those around us, is attached closely to our ability to create something new and innovative. It’s no secret that just as many of the first generation (Gen1) RPA players rely heavily on their partner program, we do too. However, there’s far less alpha in re-creating the wheel, as there is in forging entirely new categories and business models for our partners.
The Great Resignation is all the buzz (and fear!), with employees questioning their purpose and leaving roles en-masse. In-tandem, the already robust “gig economy” is strengthening as qualified professionals are finding joy in the flexibility of freelance and/or entrepreneurial efforts; this movement is disrupting the status quo of large bureaucratic and stodgy operations. If you haven’t yet, it’s advised you match this blog by seeing what Peter Steube (Head of Partners & Alliances) has already written about the Great Resignation and the positive light that is being shed on automation professionals.
Flexibility is the foundation
It isn’t a mistake that the word flexibility is bolded throughout this piece. This very word is one of the key foundations to describe Robocorp’s unique positioning in the robotic process automation (RPA) market.
All of our users have access to:
- Flexible open-source development tools that enable sustainable and lower-maintenance bots of all sizes.
- Flexible consumption-based pricing for controlling and monitoring the digital workforce. A model that closely attaches ROI to usage by eliminating complex licenses, upfront costs, and hidden costs that prevent automation from being delivered to the masses.
- Flexible deployment options that embrace agile development best practices which we refer to as ’AutomationOps’. All this is available in a cloud native platform that checks security boxes for the largest enterprises.
That is, in comparison to Gen1 RPA, which despite great success, brings with it:
- Inflexible and proprietary tool-sets with brittle, high-maintenance bots as the end result.
- Inflexible license-based pricing models that bind users with the pressure to create ROI from their upfront investment.
- Inflexible deployment focusing on waterfall methodologies and a larger share of time consumed by just simple maintenance of existing automations.
A massive opportunity…to think outside the box
Though we try to stay focused on what’s in front of us, building the future brick-by-brick, it’s tough to not get caught up thinking about what our flexibility brings - that automation can now be delivered to the masses!!! The fact that our platform is capable of enabling what seems to be a limitless greenfield of small processes and SMB businesses – but then also scale to serve the largest complex projects and entities in the world – has us thinking big on not just HOW but WHO will partner with us to capture such massive opportunity.
This is where we are forced to think outside the box. Robocorp’s partner program is not about the antiquated mindset of prioritizing or offering unique models for each specific subset of “IT services alphabet soup” i.e. MSPs, ISVs, GSIs, OEMs, VARs, etc.
No offense, but we don’t care what you wish to call yourself ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Our technology platform and partner program is built to flexibly support whatever model you go-to-market with. Though we will politely advise you that in order to succeed alongside other innovators in our partner ecosystem, you should emphasize “Gen2 type results” for your customers: deployments in weeks not months, limited/no upfront investment, cost-effective pricing, and a modern balance of white-glove service with low resource commitment.
With such a massive opportunity, we’re also pushed to find a new benchmark – one that extends far beyond the old school mentality of reliance on a select few established behemoths. While we surely embrace the opportunity to work with established automation service providers, the scale needed to address an entirely new market’s demand will not come in time painstakingly spent to “teach old dogs new tricks”.
Instead we progressively have found inspiration in e-commerce behemoth Shopify, which generated a whopping 120 billion in revenue for their partner ecosystem in 2020, as the beacon for our flexible partner model. Their partner success stories are already mirroring ours as we lapped 100 signed partners in year one, onboard more every week, and have our eyes set on one day enabling tens of thousands to each stake their claim of an RPA market that has now expanded to a seemingly limitless scale.
The best type of competition…is no competition
Now that you see where our mind is at, let’s take a step back and use some numbers to validate this “massive opportunity”.
As with many SaaS success stories, they often start with a clearly inefficient market. For Shopify, it was the lack of access to an e-commerce platform or capabilities for shopkeepers who wanted to take advantage of the growing e-commerce opportunity. With RPA it’s the realization that Gen1 automation tools have been out of reach for most small processes and businesses due to pricing, infrastructure requirements, and a historical focus on solving only enterprise problems.
Robocorp uniquely offers an enterprise grade product that is capable of addressing the fact that automation opportunities go far beyond traditional enterprise scale customers and projects.
There are almost 200 million SMBs across the globe (30M in US, 22M in Europe, 44M in Africa, 27M in South America, and 70M in Asia). Within that, there is an incredible volume of companies between 50-500 employees that would surely benefit from, but yet are left radically unserved by software automation.
Keep in mind that the business opportunity here is not only in scaling across multiple fresh clients, but also ensuring that once your customers start growing their own businesses, thanks in part to your efforts, you can have the confidence to serve them at all stages. To be clear even further, Robocorp’s story isn’t cemented entirely in the SMB market; it just happens to be the most wide-open. Large enterprises and current benefactors of RPA are utilizing our Gen2 platform to deliver previously abandoned use cases and optimizing their current deployments with conversions.
As a match to the newfound addressable market of these 200 million SMBs across the globe; a simple search of “python” on LinkedIn yields 7+ million results and even more credible sources say there are 8.2 million python developers.
Albeit incredibly cliché, it is our vision that Robocorp and its partner program can be to automation developers what Uber/DoorDash/Turo are to car owners, Airbnb/VRBO to property owners, or Udemy to educators, etc. - in that our platform and partner program is designed to enable even individuals to seamlessly deliver end results to those in need of a service. We are also lowering the bar for developer talent. By utilizing Robot Framework, the Python-based open source project originally created for test automation, developers less experienced with Python have learned new life skills. Net-net, there is an incredible talent pool of qualified individuals to either contribute to partner businesses or go out and create their own practices!
Where the rubber meets the road… a community-based partner experience
Shopify’s realization of the importance of the partner ecosystem to their growth was pivotal. Shopkeepers rarely possessed the expertise to build out their e-commerce business on their own. In order for the shopkeepers to grow their revenues to the staggering amounts they are today, they needed to rely heavily on partners to help build and maintain the underlying technology.
For Robocorp, the opportunity presents itself similarly. We don’t have a service practice. Automation developers and companies of all shapes and sizes are able to tinker, augment or enhance (multi-vendor), or go all in building their client’s automations on Robocorp.
Our partner program is designed to benefit a one person or 10,000+ person operation the same. There are no hurdles or minimum requirements to access dedicated support, comprehensive documentation, and altogether flexible building blocks that allow you to rapidly bring to market your current model or something entirely new and innovative. In fact, there is a movement of automation developers servicing their local small businesses with simple automations as freelancers or next to their day job. There’s nothing more rewarding for us than seeing these initiatives flourish into full time jobs, robust small businesses, or venture backed rocket ships that send earthquakes through the entire industry.
It doesn’t take a venture capital pedigree to recognize that our own sales organization will never be able to reach and service every SMB opportunity. This is really where our partners come into play as proud extensions of us. Yet, just as Shopify, we see our key growth enabler to be the promise of creating more business value for our partners than what is captured by us.
We view our role as symphony conductors as opposed to pushy sales people. Our partners across the globe are already collaborating on questions like how to sell, how to recruit, and how to deliver the best automations for their end customers. Our role is to continue building out a repository of blueprints, sharing best practices in the spirit of open source, and in general doing our best to remove barriers partners may face in setting up their businesses with us.
Things are already in motion
“We started out doing automation development with Robocorp for a few cases as freelancers. Today we are excited to have the flexibility to work on all sorts of projects as consultants or by providing managed RPA services to clients. Mostly, along with the support of Robocorp, we are thrilled to evolve and capture the growing demand for digital workers from those who never had the access, or the ability to benefit from automation previously.” - Chris Foreman, Founder, Autane
“I first discovered the power of Robocorp while working for a larger IT services organization. It was soon that I realized what was possible if I were to branch out on my own, the support I receive from the team at all stages has been unparalleled and my entrepreneurial dreams are being realized.” - Jose Ferrer, Founder, Lean Automation
“Smartstaff knew that the SMB market was completely underserved by automation, yet smaller companies arguably benefit even more from being able to scale through the use of digital workers. Robocorp opened the doors to this market opportunity, we are quickly up and running to deliver our vision.” - Jeremy Deceuster, Co-Founder, Smartstaff
“At Adopt a Bot, we are ‘all-in” on the future of automation with open source and Robocorp. In record time the team has helped us to establish an expertise, competitive moat, and to leverage our past experience into a robust practice with a wide-open runway.” - Wouter de Witte, Founder, Adopt a Bot
“Robocorp and its partner program has been instrumental in taking Munker from idea and side-gig, to an exciting business which is growing more and more each day. Whether it’s technical or commercial, their enthusiastic support and responsiveness keeps us motivated to be a crucial part of the changing tides of the RPA landscape.” - Gert-Jan Mellema, Founder, Munker
Read more here about how our partners are seeing benefits in creating more affordable, robust, fast and scalable automations for their customers.
Curious to find out more?
Contact us. Becoming a certified partner does not require any upfront investment. Instead, what we are looking for in our partners is capability to develop & deliver automations. Whether you’re an established automation business or just starting out, Robocorp gives you the tools you need to succeed.
About the Author
Hanna Kettunen works at Rocoborp focusing on developing the offering and services, especially for our partners, as a strategic pillar to the company’s growth. She gets especially excited to help partners of all sizes and shapes across the globe grow and expand their practices with new business opportunities enabled by Robocorp.