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June 21, 2022

E037 Olaoluwa Daramola: Technology Consultant @ EY

Automation Expertise Is A Valuable Skill Of The Future. And Companies Today Have A Lot Of Opportunities To Automate Repetitive Tasks And To Increase The Motivation & Satisfaction Of Their Employees.

Olaoluwa Daramola is a technology consultant at Ernst & Young with almost 5 years experience in Intelligent Automation and RPA across West Africa, currently helping some of Nigeria's biggest banks make the most of their RPA investments.
His LinkedIn: /in/olaoluwa-daramola/
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Olaoluwa Daramola 0:00
find that a lot of deviations from the process, you find that, you know, it's taking longer than you anticipate this, you know, gives you an opportunity to really spotlight that process and dig deeper to try and understand where the inefficiencies might be coming from. Now, a lot of the time you find out that it's really as a result of some things that we were probably built out from the start, right, it's properly built up from the start. And then these like a modification that somebody has to do that now along this process, you could actually decide, you know, one way to fix the problem from the start, right, so when problems coming from, or you could automate the process, and you know, take out the efficiency, because that thing still needs to happen. So typically, when you find situations like that, I think automation really does deliver a lot of value for people and customers that you know, think that your their processes can be more efficient in general.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 1:01
Once upon a time, there were millions of businesses struggling every day, they wasted time, effort and energy on repetitive tasks. That added no value. One day, the better automation podcasts by PROCESIO came to help them find a way. Because of this, these businesses save time, reduce costs, innovate, and make better decisions because of that. These businesses grow, scale, and use human creativity to change this world. Hello, my name is Aziz, and I'm your host that better automation podcast by process co where I interview the world's top experts and share their very best ideas on how to improve automation in your business, processes. And life. My guest today is Olaoluwa Daramola. Olaoluwa is a technology consultant at Ernst and Young, although he is here at his personal capacity. So this podcast is not representative of anything related to Ernst and Young. And he has almost five years of experience in Intelligent Automation and RPA across West Africa. Currently, he is helping some of Nigeria's biggest banks make the most of their RPA investments. Olaoluwa, how are you today?

Olaoluwa Daramola 2:27
Hi, Aziz. So happy to be on the podcast. Thanks for having me.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 2:32
It's my honor. It's my privilege. And to begin with some context, what's your story of falling in love or being fascinated with automation?

Olaoluwa Daramola 2:42
Yeah, so that story really did start out, you know, sometime in 2018. And I did work at a non banking financial institution, where the CFO was very strategic, and really wanted to know more about what was going on within one of the departments of the organization. So he did reach out to me to ask, you know, to do a process review for some of the processes that existed within that department. And after doing that, I realized I loved the work he did was, you know, heavy rubies, you know, monotonous, and was repeatable, right. So imagine a situation where, you know, you receive the shedule, from a client, and then you now had to, you know, create different versions of that same piece of information, for payments for record keeping. And I realized that there was a lot of value to gain from automating that process. So I did go about, you know, that, even though it was more traditional software development, using Python flask and building a web application, but then I was able to empower those teams, that team rather, to, you know, quickly generate those things that they typically spent hours on end working on. And, you know, I really did see firsthand the impact of automation, because my, my call coworkers were a little more, you know, excited to come into work they left earlier, they were a little happier. And that was really where it started off for me. And then on that same journey, I was very, very privileged to meet someone that works on my current employer. We had a very great conversation. And that, you know, really led to me realizing that, you know, RP was next step in that journey for me, because he allowed me to have a lot more impact and a lot more organization. So yes, that was my story.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 4:26
Thank you. And a detail that seems interesting to me is that people were leaving their work happier and more engaged, and more, returning to home more involved in every way. So is this correct?

Olaoluwa Daramola 4:43
Yes, yes, people were a little more involved. You could see you know, they had more time to spend on more strategic higher value tasks. So some of the people in that department actually went on to, you know, join or the digital transformation initiatives within the organization. because you have freed up a lot of time that you will have typically spent doing those manual processes,

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 5:06
thank you. And to understand because some people are, might think, okay, I love process automation, creating standard operating procedures, et cetera. But some people have some kind of inner resistance to it because they feel that work will be come mind numbing, or that the work will not be creative enough to stand out in the marketplace or to have very unique experiences to the customer. What's your perspective on this? Do you feel that if everything or as much as possible in the business was automated, that will become a competitive advantage? Or a killer of innovation?

Olaoluwa Daramola 5:52
Yeah, so my opinion on that is really interesting. I do believe that, you know, a lot more work being automated, you know, you really does free up your employees to, you know, think outside of the box, five things I do have traditionally done in a certain way, and do it. And I think, you know, automation or digital in your organization actually does, you know, significantly increase the potential of a lot of your employees. So I've seen situations where people I met as process owners, and it'll be coming business analysts, taking on automation of figuring out you know, what kind of tasks in their previous department could be automated as well. So it's really, really exciting. It really does supercharge, you know, your organization with the full force of automation, because then, you know, everything from discovery, to you know, fully automating the processes is really now a journey that everybody within your organization can be a part of, I can learn from annual develop even more. So yeah, I think I think that's something every organization should explore.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 6:55
I love your optimistic perspective. And I have so many questions to ask you. So I'll begin with this one, you mentioned that everybody could be on board that it can open new doors for them. But as human beings, change is scary, even though it can be positive. So how to get people on board before they see the benefits, because they will see them later. So that they will participate, they will be engaged, they will be excited, because a natural fear of the unknown happens in all humans, where some will think, Well, what if are they copying me so that I will lose my job? Or what will I be doing, if so much of my job is automated, etc. So how to alleviate fears, clarify the processes, as well as make it a pleasant experience that leads to a positive rather than a new thing that people will feel oh, my God, this is making a going to make my job, either harder or more unpleasant. Yeah.

Olaoluwa Daramola 7:57
And that's really interesting. So you know, a lot of people do have that initial resistance. But typically what happens is with a lot of organization, they tend to do something called, you know, a proof of concept where you really show people how, you know, the automation can impact what you're currently doing. And usually, you know, you kind of have that snowball effect, where, once you see you happen in one place, and then everybody else now says, Hey, I think I want this for myself, right? So it's really, really fascinating, because then, you know, you can now have that snowball effect across the organization across different departments. So showing them upfront that this is what the technology can do for you. This is how to make the most of the technology. And then also making sure you have, you know, a great communication loop between the people who are automating the work, and then the people who used to do the work manual, so that we understand that it's a collaborative effort to alleviate a lot of the mundane tasks that they really didn't want to do in the first place. So I think that that's really exciting.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 8:58
Thank you. And can you share more about the situation and rate of adoption of automation in Nigeria? How common is it? How excited are companies and maybe the government? Or are you are more about, you know, involved with the banking sector, about it, how much progress is going there and just share the view and how you could compare it to other parts of the world?

Olaoluwa Daramola 9:24
Yeah, thanks for that very question. As is, so for Nigeria, specifically, I think, you know, the automation journey. A lot of financial institutions do derive a lot of return on investments from automating their processes, because, you know, typically large banks, insurance companies, these guys have 1000s of employees doing different things that really are could benefit from, you know, automation. So, yes, it did really start out in that space. But then we're starting to see interest from other kinds of organizations. So organizations in telecommunications industry Um, manufacturing, because they're starting to see the value of it. Right. So because yes, it did start out in banking. You know, and I think that's really the same story in a lot of major geographies as well, I think the banks were really at the forefront of technology that's adoption in that space. But then other industries are coming, what's behind and the great thing is, you know, with time going, and your technology, advancing, people are starting their journeys right now are, you know, getting more and better solutions that the people that just started journeys 2018. So it's an exciting time for everyone is space? Well, we're excited to bring on more more people from other industries to you know, get on with automation, and see how much automation can impact your business.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 10:48
Thank you. I love this. And let's say someone viewing or listening have never been involved in process auditing and Process automation. So I have two questions, one, what should be the Northstar or the guide that lets you know whether a part of a process is inefficient or a waste, and therefore it should be automated, how to go about creating processes that serve the outcomes you look for? And let's say someone wants to have a digital transformation or automation project? Can you describe it? What are the steps and so that they will have a clearer idea of how it goes?

Olaoluwa Daramola 11:32
Okay, fantastic. So for me, you know, a lot of times the North Star really does start with, you know, discovery, right, you know, when you find that certain processes take too long to complete. So, you know, maybe you have a standard process map, but then you find that there are a lot of deviations from the process, you find that, you know, it's taking longer than you anticipated, this, you know, gives you an opportunity to really spotlight that process, and dig deeper to try and understand where those inefficiencies might be coming from. Now, a lot of times you find out that it's really as a result of some things that maybe were probably built out from the start, right, it's properly built up from the start. And then there's like, a modification that somebody has to do that now elongates the process, you could actually decide, you know, one way to fix the problem from the start, right, so where the problem is coming from, or you could automate the process, and, you know, take out time efficiency, because that thing still needs to happen. So typically, when you find situations like that, I think automation really does deliver a lot of value for people and customers that, you know, think that you will, their processes can be more efficient in general, and I think, really just you said about digital transformation journey, a lot of times it does really start up, as you know, from desire, right. So typically, companies have their strategic goals, whether it's to, you know, improve operational excellence, deliver higher value to their customers, or just make their employees more happy. So as an organization really identify, you know, your goals that, you know, strategic goals that automation can help you with, and then try and figure out which particular processes or which particular things in that domain Do you want to automate. And that would really, really ensure that at the end of the day, when you taking on the lead software development lifecycle for automation or lesser automation, you're ensuring that the end of the day you're reaching that goal, so that, you know, everybody's satisfied. So I really think those are really the key steps to take when starting out at intermission initiatives that deliver value to your organization.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 13:44
Thank you so much. And since you're an expert, and there is something called like, the expert curse, which is or the knowledge curse, which is assuming that everybody knows what we're talking about, if you could explain in a simple way, what is Intelligent Automation, and what is RPA so that anybody listening who loves automation will have clear ly clear image of what they are. Okay, that's great.

Olaoluwa Daramola 14:13
So I'll start off with RPA. Right? So the word RPA. RPA is really robotic process automation. And typically, you know, robotic in that sense doesn't mean physical robots, but it really about you know, mundane, Ruby's repetitive stuff that you want to hand off to software. Right. So RPA really is, you know, enabling or using software to mimic rule based tasks on the computer. So that is really what RP is, and RPA really does excel with things like you know, processing of logic Bayes rules, moving data between systems, and you know, pretty much retrieving data from the internet as well. Structured details Well, so for Intelligent Automation, Intelligent Automation kind of takes you rpa, a step further by, you know, leveraging on other technologies within the technology landscape. So OCR technology, artificial intelligence, machine learning process mining, Intelligent Automation is really about, you know, enabling software robots do what they couldn't really do before because of the lack of intelligence. So if you have a process that has something that needs a subjective decision to be made, or it's based on some sort of human intelligence, that's really where Intelligent Automation thrives. And that's really where you should look into implementing an AI over RP.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 15:44
Thank you. I love what you're talking about. And since you're also involved with the technology and the processes, where do you see the future of automation? What new emerging technologies could change the landscape? And how, as well as how much in Africa? Do you believe automation? RPA Intelligent Automation would become a main factor? Or would it stay within high profitability industries, like finance, banking, etc?

Olaoluwa Daramola 16:19
Yeah, so on the next trends, I still do believe that intelligence is really, you know, where's the next step is, so process intelligence, you know, computer vision, machine learning, a lot more cases would come up a lot more complex use cases will come up that leverage on those technologies to drive, you know, automation, making your automations, a little bit more intelligent, that's really, really, you know, the next frontier. And the great thing is, we're already doing that right now. And it's really, really exciting. And for African businesses, I really do believe that, you know, everybody stands to profit from automation journeys. So even if you're just the startup getting started, finally found product market fit, and you want to scale your business, whether you are in cordrea old bank in Africa, automation, you can still benefit from Toyota and automation Initiative, or whether you're telecommunications, that is also a very, very key area for automation. I do believe that, you know, Africa still has in great potential, because a lot of these companies are still not fully adopted or fully embraced digital, and that, you know, really does allow massive opportunities for us to, you know, get into automation. So it's really hot right now. And I think it's a great time to get into automation for anybody that lives on the African continent. Yeah,

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 17:45
thank you so much. And for people, let's say someone looks up to you, and maybe they're in Nigeria, or anywhere in the world, and they want to become an Intelligent Automation and RPA experts such as yourself, what would you recommend for them to study? How should they go about learning, because this is a growing field where more people could find a future and the carrier.

Olaoluwa Daramola 18:12
So I would say start with where you start where you are, for me starting out was, you know, somebody nudging me to do something about setting processes, or find out more about 30 processes. So if you already have a great job, and you know, you think you can add automation to it, just take a look at some of the processes within your organization, and that might help you get started. Now also really understand your own strengths and your own skills. So for instance, if you're really really good at your logical thinking, but then you've never really been good at, you know, software development, or you know, writing code, there's still the low code, no code aspect of automation, you could explore. So play to your strengths is really important. identify which of these tools allow you do or use most of your strengths is really important, because that is where you will find space to thrive and excel within that domain you are. So I think it's a great time to get started. A lot of RP organizations or companies do have, you know, great Academy platforms where you could go and learn and then really do kickstart your joining the, so I'll just say stay hungry. You know, look for opportunities for automation, and really just, you know, get going from where you are. So yeah, that's it.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 19:30
Thank you. And I will also speak about something else that can be very important to executives and business owners and entrepreneurs. A lot of them are overworking and almost burning out. How can automation be a beneficial thing that helps them reclaim some more time in order to restore their energy and work in an efficient way as well as some people don't? Interest rules based decision making and that way because they think, look, life is too complicated to be simplified into such simple rules. So what can you say in order to alleviate some of their fears that actually, you'll become dumb by having rules that are yes, no, or 123. While in reality, the options could be infinite. And they assume they require creativity every time.

Olaoluwa Daramola 20:29
So I'll start out with executives, I really do want to automate stuff to get more time back. I think it's really interesting, because you know, a lot of executives do have personal assistants, you know, that do one or two things for them. And really, if you do check it, a lot of those things that they do are rule based. Yes. So you could actually explore, you know, try not automation have one or two tasks that typically your personal assistants will do for you, just like scheduling meetings, replying to specific kinds of emails, that will give you some time back. And I think it's very interesting, because I did you embark on a very small automation project, where I really did want to send out, you know, personalized messages to people who wanted to get to know me a little bit more. So I kind of set up a form that allowed them decide what they wanted to know about me. And, you know, once they did that, and submitted that form, the virtually got a personalized email, telling them, you know, the different things they wanted to know about me. And that was a very interesting way of, you know, interacting with people that wanted to know more about me without having to spend time every day writing back, right. So that's a very interesting example, and something that I'm sure executives might want to gain value from right. And then for rule based automation, I do believe that, you know, yes, you might think that a lot of times intelligence is required, but then I will say that a lot more times, you will find that intelligence is only really required when there's an exception, right? When it is not following the standard, defined process. And, you know, there are different ways to work around that. So when you have a situation where, you know, you need a human subjective response could actually do a side by side thing where you and the robots or the automation do working hand in hand. So when it's exactly not sure it can throw it up to you. But I do assure you that spending time to define your process and define the flow, you do find out that a lot more times process is actually a lot more Ruby's repetitive, and you'd actually think,

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 22:49
thank you, this is really good. I really appreciate everything you do. And therefore, do you feel like some people are saying even entrepreneurs, when they're creating a new company should and are more and more moving into already preparing a plan for automation before the company and the product exists? Do you agree with that? Or do you feel that the role and automation should be started when there is stability in the business? So when is basically the best time to begin thinking about automation? And using automation? In your business? Can it be even before the beginning that you have a clear plan about it? Or after you go through the chaos of entrepreneurship and innovation? Then when you have something that works? You stabilize it with automation?

Olaoluwa Daramola 23:46
Yeah, so I do believe that, you know, thinking about automation should actually be done from day one, you do find out that a lot of entrepreneurs do things at the beginning of their business that wouldn't typically scale. Right. So automation does allow you scale that, but then you still do have to define the bounds within which our automation is supposed to perform. Right. And, you know, the problem with things at scale is if it's broken at scale, then you do have a massive problem, right. But I do believe that automation should be thought about from the very beginning. And then, you know, define the process and then apply the automation to scale significantly. I really do think less is where you derive the most value. Because if you haven't figured out the process, and then you got to meet it at scale, you're really really creating a lot of debt. So yeah,

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 24:41
thank you so much. This was my privilege, my honor. And of course for everyone who is going through this automation journey I highly recommend PROCESIO. PROCESIO is the modern low code, no code platform for advanced automation and create an enterprise grade back end for your software, any viewer and listener can request access to a totally free account at And for those with higher business needs, you can use an exclusive and very generous discount code for 50%. It's BETTER50OFF one word in capital letters, more information, and the description. Thank you again. This was my privilege and keep going. You're doing fantastic things there in West Africa.

Olaoluwa Daramola 25:34
Thanks, Aziz I really appreciate you having me on the show. Thanks for all you do for the community as well. Talk later