London-based robotic process automation (RPA) provider Symphony Ventures has opened its first Latin American office in Argentina. The announcement of the new location in Buenos Aires came within weeks of the company receiving a $4.5 million USD Series A investment from London-based private equity firm Livingbridge, and the timing highlights the company’s eagerness to make the push into the region.
For Symphony Ventures, which has tasked Felix Massun to be its regional CEO, the area represents great potential for RPA growth — and a move into Colombia may be on the horizon.
The company, which also has offices in San Francisco, Boston, and Poland, sees Latin America as ripe for adoption and implementation, especially due to the region’s notorious regulatory and tax challenges. From financial services firms to telecoms to outsourcing providers and more, Symphony believes that companies from Argentina to Mexico can benefit from a technology that will only become more ubiquitous with time.
To further illuminate the company’s plans for RPA growth, Massun sat down to discuss the opportunities and challenges of coming to Latin America.
Jared Wade: What is the main reason that Symphony thinks Latin America is such a good location for RPA?
Felix Massun: It is a dynamic business environment, big market, and has tremendous opportunity for enterprises to leverage the power of a digital operations strategy enabled by RPA and “Intelligent Automation.”
In fact, we’ve been seeing early investigations occurring already, and we want to bring our five years of experience to bear for the benefit of leading Latin American enterprises, especially in banking, telecom, consumer goods, and agriculture.
Some of the drivers for such opportunity in Latin America are the heavy regulations, tax complexities, low cost base and language requirement. Together, these factors call for RPA to help empower and drive a quantum leap of already started initiatives, such as shared services and outsourcing
Jared Wade: You mentioned that you’re seeing more interest from companies in Colombia for RPA. What types of firms have you been talking with and what aspects of automation are the most appealing to them?
Felix Massun: We are talking to firms in a wide variety of industries, including those already mentioned. The firms we’re talking to recognize that it’s not good enough to keep doing the same thing. They’ve established shared services centers, some of them have outsourced, and they are leveraging tools that were cutting-edge years ago.
But the competitive dynamics of the market are more aggressive and diverse than ever before. They need to be just as aggressive about driving improvements in their operations. RPA is the cornerstone to this next wave of transformation.
We’ve helped clients globally to realize massive savings in their HR, finance, logistics, and procurement functions — often seeing savings of 45%-60% or greater. But even more attractive, by automating the rule-based, companies are able to focus on what really matters: their customers, their employees, and their communities. And, it’s those benefits that really make a difference.
We’re excited to help leading enterprises in Latin America reduce costs and differentiate themselves as true experience-oriented firms in ways that have never been possible before.
Jared Wade: So now you’ve opened up shop in Argentina. And you expect Brazil and Mexico to be next, which makes sense given the market size. Is Colombia next in line after that? Is there any timeline for when you might put a physical presence in Colombia or is it more a wait-and-see approach based on the success of other LatAm locations?
“We’ve helped clients globally to realize massive savings in their HR, finance, logistics, and procurement functions — often seeing savings of 45%-60% or greater.” – Felix Massun
Felix Massun: All I can say is, “stay tuned.” We have some very exciting discussions and planning going on right now. I can’t tell you more than that. But we’ll be able to share very soon. It’s pretty cool and game-changing. We hope you think so too.
Jared Wade: Just generally, even not looking at Latin America specifically, what are the biggest benefits of RPA for all companies? Are you expecting the market to just continue growing over the next few years globally?
Felix Massun: We have no doubt the market will keep on growing. We’re at the very earliest stages of this massive transformation wave. The biggest benefits are cost savings, operational integrity, service quality, customer experience, and establishing a strong foundation for future “Intelligent Automation” tools to play a role in a future-proofed digital operation.
Jared Wade: What differentiates Symphony’s offerings from some of the others in the market?
Felix Massun: We are the world’s leading RPA pureplay. Digital transformation is not in our — it is our DNA. We were founded by industry visionaries who saw that RPA was going to require a new and clean focus on certain fundamentals in order to make the most of this new wave of technology.
We aren’t like the big firms that are trying to sell you their catalog of traditional services. And, we’re not jumping on this bandwagon late to capitalize on a fad. We’ve been here since the beginning and have been recognized globally as the leaders for our excellent people, excellent methodologies, and our excellent outcomes.
I’m thrilled to be bringing our capabilities to so many tremendous enterprises in Latin America that I’ve been working with throughout my career. I’m certain that RPA and IA will be game-changing, and I’m excited to be working with Symphony to help change the game.
This interview was originally published by Finance Colombia.