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Recruiting Amelia, IPsoft’s Fresher | 1
Charles Sutherland, EVP Research, HfS Research
September 2014
The Details
IPsoft has just launched “Amelia”, their artificial intelligence platform to the business services marketplace which
further extends the broad definition we have been developing over the last year around what comprises Robotic
Process Automation. Nearly fifteen years in the making or roughly equivalent to the educational lifecycle of a new
human recruit in India (a.k.a. “Fresher”), to the Business Process Outsourcing industry Amelia brings together years
of research with academia and the experiences of New York based IPsoft in developing and delivering IT automation
solutions for enterprises across a variety of industries.
Where Amelia Could Be Deployed
We first started talking to IPsoft about the potential for Amelia in 2013 and after various presentations and
demonstrations have been waiting for her to “graduate” and come into the employment market. Like any recent
fresher, Amelia comes with a set of skills and a still developing resume of internships and experiences but with a
need to get more practical experience and to be tested out for what she can do.
When HfS published “Framing a Constitution for Robotistan” in October 2013, our goal was to identify many of the
horizontal and industry processes that were highly suitable for the deployment of emerging process automation and
cognitive computing solutions in the BPO world like Amelia. Since then, we have seen how dozens of different service
providers have tested those processes and have begun to develop a more comprehensive vision for what is possible
with more sophisticated automation and artificial intelligence tools. In fact, the world has moved along so quickly in
the last year, that we were able to share a draft RPA Maturity Model a few weeks ago at the NASSCOM BPM Strategy
Summit in Bangalore and will have a final version published in a few weeks time. Those papers really help define
what sort of roles Amelia might be well suited for as “her” capabilities advance and she gains some further practical
experience delivering in the BPO world in the same way that we today have career models and training plans for our
human “freshers” in business services. Until that time, which in truth may come rather quickly for Amelia, it’s useful
to look at a few of the internship roles that she has had in enterprise pilots and to see what ideas IPsoft has in mind
for her as well.
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Recruiting Amelia, IPsoft’s Fresher | 2
Like many a BPO fresher, many of Amelia’s first deployments have been in a contact center. With a voice capability
and the ease by which Amelia understands natural languages and picks up the deep meanings of words and phrases,
Amelia is well suited already to taking on roles in help desk support, inbound customer care and other process based
roles where a combination of rules and some learning and judgment is required to complete the task. That Amelia
also seems to know when she can’t complete a task, something many a new BPO fresher struggles to learn in the
early months, appear to make her a potentially good fit for other tasks as well, such as supporting inbound claim
processing where exception creating transactions remain widespread.
IPsoft in their announcement also referenced other roles for which Amelia has been trialed, some of which we have
been demonstrated include support of procurement processing and acting as an advisor for engineers in the oil and
gas industry who find themselves in need of technical and knowledge support in less than ideal environments. These
are clearly just the start of a much larger universe of practical applications for Amelia many of which will ultimately
end up transforming the way that both she and real-life freshers work in the BPO industry.
It has only been in the last few years that the BPO industry has really come to value recruiting talent that not only
does what they are told (and in doing so follows the standardized process) but who also have ideas about how things
can be improved and enhanced based on what they are experiencing. With Amelia, this orientation towards
independent learning and problem solving is written into her software DNA so it seems like the timing for this new
capability works in a way it wouldn’t have just a few short years ago.
We still need to spend more time understanding the pricing mechanism for Amelia and what the technology
requirements will be on BPO service provider and end client systems to support her in many of these new process
possibilities but we’re excited that she has shown up for work and can’t wait to see what accomplishments she
makes during her probationary period of employment in the BPO industry.
What to Watch
These are early days for Amelia especially with regards to what we think Amelia can do in business services. It’s
exciting to see these early roles or “use cases” emerge but the full transformative impact of what new artificial
intelligence capabilities like Amelia, IBM Watson and others that we have been privy to non-disclosure based
briefings on of late can do is still ahead.
The next hurdle to making a success of this will likely then be how creative and flexible we can be as an industry in
finding new delivery models that integrate Amelia’s capabilities with those of our human staff and how those new
processes get managed over time as Amelia (and her peers) get more and more capable with each passing software
release. These are interesting times in the BPO industry and the arrival of Amelia to the delivery center just made it
a whole lot more exciting. Based on what we have seen so far, she is BPO’s new fresher employee for the month of
Architects of Global Business
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Recruiting Amelia, IPsoft’s Fresher | 3
About the Author
Charles Sutherland
Charles Sutherland is the Executive Vice President of Research for HfS Research. In this
role, he is responsible for the customized project work that HfS Research undertakes for
our clients. He also has his own research agenda for HfS, which covers Finance &
Accounting BPO, Procurement, Supply Chain and specific vertical process offerings. He is
especially interested in the application of the SMAC (Social, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud)
stack technologies and robotic automation to change the BPO market place and believes
that a fundamental revolution in the way that BPO is solutioned and delivered is drawing
Charles is a twenty-year veteran of the high technology services marketplace with a global
background having lived and worked across Europe, Asia and North America during that time. Prior to joining HfS
Research, Charles was the Chief Strategy Officer for Dallas based BPO Service Provider SourceHOV. Previously he
was the Managing Director of Growth & Strategy for Accenture’s multi-billion dollar global BPO Growth Platform
after getting his first operational experience in BPO delivery with Accenture more than a decade ago.
Charles has an MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France and an Honors BA in Economics and Political Science from
the University of Toronto.
Charles can be reached at [email protected]
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Recruiting Amelia, IPsoft’s Fresher | 4
About HfS Research
HfS Research serves the research, governance, and services strategy needs of business operations and IT leaders
across finance, supply chain, human resources, marketing, and core industry functions. The firm provides insightful
and meaningful analyst coverage of best business practices and innovations that impact successful business
outcomes, such as the Digital Transformation of operations, cloud-based business platforms, services talent
development strategies, process automation and outsourcing, mobility, analytics, and social collaboration. HfS
applies its acclaimed Blueprint Methodology to evaluate the performance of service and technology in terms of
innovating and executing against those business outcomes.
HfS educates and facilitates discussions among the world's largest knowledge community of enterprise services
professionals, currently comprised of 150,000 subscribers and members. HfS Research facilitates the HfS Sourcing
Executive Council, an acclaimed elite group of sourcing practitioners from leading organizations that meets biannually to discuss the future direction of the global services industry and the future enterprise operations
framework. HfS provides Sourcing Executive Council members with the HfS Governance Academy and Certification
Program to help its clients improve the governance of their global business services and vendor relationships.
In 2010 and 2011, HfS Research's founder and CEO, Phil Fersht, was named “Analyst of the Year” by the International
Institute of Analyst Relations (IIAR), the premier body of analyst-facing professionals, and achieved the distinction
of being voted the research analyst industry's Most Innovative Analyst Firm in 2012.
In 2013, HfS was named first in increasing influence among leading analyst firms according to the 2013 Analyst Value
Survey and second out of the 44 leading industry analyst firms in the 2013 Analyst Value Index.
Now in its seventh year of publication, HfS Research’s acclaimed blog “Horses for Sources” is widely recognized as
the most widely read and revered destination for unfettered collective insight, research, and open debate about
sourcing industry issues and developments. Horses for Sources now receive over a million web visits a year.
To learn more about HfS Research, please email [email protected]
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