Kryon Systems has grown to become one of the leading players in the robotic process automation (RPA) world. The Tel Aviv-based provider boasts a number of globally recognized clients and is well-regarded for its high-level technology and implementation expertise.
But one thing that often gets lost in the automation conversation are the basics. Many companies already far along on their digital transformation journeys. But others are just catching on to the idea. And sometimes those that are just jumping on the bandwagon get lost in the minutiae of all the technical details.
Fortunately, Harel Tayeb, CEO Kryon Systems, is someone who can communicate all aspects of the RPA industry to all people. If you want to know all the ins and outs of every type of innovation in the industry, he is your guy. But he can also break it down in plain English to a newcomer.
Such practical understanding of what the average company needs to know about RPA is one of the reasons the company has progressed to the point its at now. As evidence, recently the money has done the talking.
In October, Kryon Systems received a funding round of some $12 million. Among its plans are to invest the capital into further advancing its “Process Discovery” capability to move beyond the more common solutions that are now offered widely throughout the industry.
To add full context for the company’s future plans — and provider an overview of the RPA realm — we recently sat down with Tayeb. He shared his thoughts about Kryon’s overall approach to RPA, which applications of the technology today’s companies can benefit from, and where he believes industry should be headed in the months and years to come.
Jared Wade: I know, just from talking to different people — even those in the industry — that there are a lot of different ideas of what exactly RPA is compared to just automation as a general term and other related disciplines. So that would be my first question: What is robotic process automation to Kryon Systems, and what does the market look like right now to you?
Harel Tayeb: I think that’s a perfect question. When people ask me about what RPA means, and what differentiates ITO automation or other aspects, usually my answer is very simple: We are creating the virtual worker. We have a platform for virtual workers. This is exactly what RPA is from my perspective.
We are building and providing the platform for any enterprise to create a virtual worker that can do any logic process within the organization and eventually can help you to focus on your core business while we are doing everything else for you. This is RPA.
Jared Wade: But then the technical aspects can still differ greatly from firm to firm, right?
Harel Tayeb: When we are drilling down into the technology — or maybe even before the technology — there are two different disciplines in the RPA market. One of them is called “attended” automation and the second called ‘unattended automation.”
Attended automation stands for the ability to work on your machine — your PC or your laptop — and it can do things for you or show you what needs to be done. A lot of companies use this for tutorials and guidance. This is one kind of automation.
The second approach, unattended automation, which is the core RPA, is a virtual machine running behind the scenes. The virtual machine has a username and password. This is the robot and it can do any logic process thing for you on that virtual machine. It can send email, it can do things behind the scenes for optimization.
“We are providing a virtual worker. We are trying to help you do anything that you want to do within your organization by robot.” – Harel Tayeb
At Kryon Systems, we have solutions for attended automation, we have solutions for unattended automation, and earlier this year we released a hybrid solution. The “hybrid solution” means the ability to do things together. To do both. To do the attended and unattended automation — but also to combine them together. In a way, we are creating a cyborg.
We are creating a solution where you can start the process on a virtual machine through a robot and then initiate it as a human being — as an employee. Sometimes you need an approval from a human being or vice versa. It might be that I’m working with a customer and I want the robot to do things for me. So the robot will continue doing things behind the scenes and come back to me with results. This is what we call hybrid automation.
Jared Wade: So those are the main disciplines. Can you tell me a little more about the technology that allows all that to happen?
Harel Tayeb: From the technology perspective, there are two different methods to implement RPA. There are companies, like Blue Prism, that are using the programatic approach. The programatic approach means that they are usually building an integration layer on top of the enterprise applications and platforms. Then, based upon this integration layer, they can do a lot of processes.
The second approach — used by companies like Automation Anywhere — is using visualization, which means that the robot can actually click on buttons and read information from the screen.
Kryon Systems has five buttons approved for the visualization. We have “OCR” technology. We are not just looking for pixels on the screen, but rather we have a deep technology for OCR that can do anything for you. Click on buttons, read information, write information, write data.
This is one thing — but we are also doing programmatic. So if you need to do something in an Excel file, you don’t need to actually open the Excel file to do things within it. It’s actually doing that behind the scenes using our advanced commands. So we are doing a programmatic approach and visualization.
From our perspective, we are providing a virtual worker. We are trying to help you do anything that you want to do within your organization by robot. It may be that sometimes you need to work on a legacy system without any API and you need to use the visualization approach. Some other times you need to do things that are more complicated — using more technical processes — that can be done via the programmatic approach. This is what we are providing today.
Jared Wade: So it’s a dual approach. Excellent. And how is this all being used today in the real world by companies?
Harel Tayeb: As of today, I think that even the RPA companies — definitely the enterprise companies — are looking at the RPA solutions as a bandaid. There is a bad process that is not working well? OK, let’s have a robot that will do that for us.
From my perspective, it’s the other way around. It’s completely different. We are releasing something called “process discovery.” What does this mean? We are working with many companies worldwide and, for an example, let’s say within their accounting department we can install a client on their machine. We install it on each one of their employees’ machines within the organization — and then listen. We listen for a week or two or maybe even a month. And after a month we can pop up and say that we can save 50% of your time and that these are the processes that we have identified.
“The hybrid solution means the ability to do things together. To do the attended and unattended automation — but also to combine them together. In a way, we are creating a cyborg.” – Harel Tayeb
We are using an OCR technology, and we see any action that is taken on that machine and use deep-learning technology in order to identify exactly which processes can be implemented by a robot. As well as identifying where you can save time, we can see where you might be able to change the “decision tree.” You can change or eliminate certain processes.
Because of the high demand in the RRA market, as of today, most of the companies — even Kryon — are getting requests from many enterprises, and they are asking us to help them with specific processes. But my view is that, within a few months, we will provide them with solutions that will automatically identify which processes need to be automated within the organization. This is the first step.
The second step will be to take that much further and eventually help them to optimize those processes and not just keep doing it the current way because it’s being done by a robot and the robot can work 24/7. If we can identify what should be done, we will be able to say that the process is definitely not good and we can optimize it — we can do something better for you. We can see that the process is being done the wrong way and shift that into a new process that is working with the specific solution that you need to do.
This is the high-level. This is the roadmap that we are working on. This is the approach that we developing now.
Jared Wade: So how does this all come together, in your eyes, in terms of providing real value to companies? What is the ultimate benefit of RPA? Where is this all headed in terms of creating the future of the workplace?
Harel Tayeb: Let’s start by using an insurance company as an example. When they have a claim coming from a customer, it takes time to read all the information and identify if it is correct or not. Maybe something is missing. Maybe you need to go to a specific person and ask for more information and then go to a different department for something else.
So as of today, we are providing at Kryon Systems the ability to identify, to get, and to extract all this information from the claim request. And then the robot can do anything. It can ask for more information from the specific person. It can identify that a specific part of the request needs to be moved to a specific department like, maybe, the legal department. The robot can do those things and monitor itself. So if something didn’t happen, it can send another email and verify that, “OK, I didn’t get an answer. What needs to be done?”
“We should focus on what we are doing best while the robot is taking care of everything else. This is the vision of the company. This is what we are doing today.” – Harel Tayeb
So claims are a great example. But it can go through almost any department or use — like a purchase order. Why should people read those purchase orders and identify what needs to be moved to another department? I think this is the most amazing thing from the RPA perspective: It works for any logic process.
We, as human beings, usually tend to think that we are inventing things everyday and every minute within our work. But usually? Even myself, I may be inventing new things — but only 20% of the time. That would actually be fantastic. If I would invest 20% of my time to invent new things — to imagine what needs to be done — that would be fantastic. But most of my time? I am doing logic things: reading this email or identifying some sort of contract that I need to verify or checking some Excel files about my business model or asking my employees to do something.
If I would have a robot that can do all these things for me, it would free up my time to focus on my core business of development, establishing new products, and building new relationships. We should focus on what we are doing best while the robot is taking care of everything else. This is the vision of the company. This is what we are doing today.
This interview has been edited for space and clarity.
(Image credit: intographics / Pixabay)