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IBM’s Dinesh Nirmal On Turbonomic Deal, AI’s Obstacles, And How Partners Are ‘Huge’ In Big Blue’s Business Automation Strategy

‘I would say our channel partners have been an amazing help from a skills perspective, from an education perspective, from being able to tell our story,’ Dinesh Nirmal, general manager of IBM’s automation business, tells CRN in an interview.

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How far along are we in business automation penetrating enterprises of all sizes?

When I look at automation at typical enterprises, there’s two categories. There are attended tasks and there are unattended tasks. An attended task has been automated to a large extent that’s the batch jobs, that’s processing. Somebody’s sitting in front of a computer, entering and you’re recording it. That’s only a small piece of the automation. When people talk about automation, they immediately jump to RPA.RPA is in its infancy for the most part because as you download hundreds of bots, thousands of bots, or hundreds of thousands of bots, how do you manage it? How do you securely manage it? How do you schedule it? How do you add high availability? So the next phase in automation is how do you make it enterprise ready.

The second piece is, you cannot have automation by going to one vendor to get RPA, one vendor to get process mining, one vendor to get decisions. Because then, you’re not really automating. You’re adding complexity. That’s why we embarked on a journey to build an app platform. We have to make sure we own it and build it and be tightly integrated into our solution. Automation is all about bringing simplicity in.

It helps from an optimization perspective. It helps from a productivity perspective. If there’s one thing that an enterprise gains is that they immediately take complexity out and bring simplicity in.

We’re in the early phase. If you’re an RPA vendor, you’re trying to get process mining. If you’re a process mining vendor, you’re trying to get app integration capabilities. The winning player will be somebody who has all those capabilities stitched together and be able to go talk to an enterprise and say, ‘We’ve got it.’

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