“I sometimes wonder if SaaS, like prescription medicine, should require a side effects warning,” Gautham Viswanathan, co-founder and Head of Product at Workato, began his keynote speech at Workato’s 2021 user conference last week.

“With every new application, our data gets more siloed. Customer data, employee data, product data—they’re all distributed across even more applications. Our business processes, how we work together to get work done, becomes even more splintered.” 

The modern worker toggles between 10 apps 25 times a day to get their jobs done, according to Asana’s 2021 Anatomy of Work Index. While SaaS applications have changed the way we work, supporting businesses’ rapid growth in the last decade, the proliferation of apps has led to a detrimental siloing of data and increasingly complex workflows.  

Integration and automation have long been the answer to the “too many tools” problem, but the technical know-how needed to facilitate these builds excludes the majority of business users from managing the tools themselves, relying too heavily on a single person or unit to build, troubleshoot, and maintain these integrations. 

“We have a who can build problem,” highlights Viswanathan. “Many, if not most, of these tools are in categories that target a specialist IT builder.” Although there are thousands of processes that have the potential to be automated across a business, Viswanathan points out that a staggering 99% of processes are not automated. Why? Because “the central IT delivery model simply doesn’t work—there just isn’t enough IT capacity.” 

Long story short: automation isn’t accessible. 

But Viswanathan plans to change that with Workato, and users from companies like Checkr, Fundbox, Confluent, and GR Technology Consulting are adopting the low-code/no-code tool to take automation management into their own hands. 

Sridevi Pasumarthi, VP of Corporate Engineering at Checkr, has years of experience supporting organizations’ tech stacks, from Slack to Arlo, and now at Checkr. During her time at Slack, the company was in a period of hyper-growth, and the IT team was small. “We wanted to make sure that we bring in this tool that enables not just IT, but business teams outside of IT as well,” she said. This helped the team be more self-sufficient and find solutions themselves instead of relying on a strapped IT organization.  

The future of automation at scale, according to Viswanathan, is providing businesses with tools that can be used by anyone. A world in which more than 1% of business processes are automated begins with giving the users who are closest to the tools the power to create their dream automations. A content marketing manager or accountant should be as capable of doing this as an IT manager. 

People Analytics Manager Jessica Barry is a great example of this. “In my experience, people systems and the integrations that go along with them are not always the top work-critical priority for every IT organization,” says Barry. “Having the ability to leverage Workato has really helped us to connect our people systems and really help empower our team to move at the speed of our business.” 

When Barry was tasked with improving Slack’s time-to-fill and time-to-hire, she started by integrating Workday, Greenhouse, and Slack. “We were able to surface our referral submission process, which is in Greenhouse, within Slack, which also meant we gained a host of other functions like notifying the recruiter when that referral had been submitted and notifying the hiring managers.”

Barry also used automation to send out notifications post-interviews that were able to deliver links for candidate feedback and scorecards that the interviewer was then able to complete. Despite not being a developer or having a technical background, Barry was able to deploy sophisticated automations that helped her team grow at the speed of a rapidly scaling company. 

Automation at scale begins with empowering the business users that are in need of a solution. IPaaS can no longer just cater to technical users—in order to tap into the 99% of untouched automation potential, accessible solutions must be the future.  

Download the session from Workato Automate 2021 to hear more from Viswanathan, Pasumarthi, Barry, and more. 

Sarah Dotson
About Sarah Dotson

Sarah is Systematic's Managing Editor.