Automation of business processes in Kazakhstan

How software robots are changing the way domestic businesses work.

A little more than a year ago, 32-year-old Mukhamedzhan Duzenov and 28-year-old Berik Tursynbek decided to try their hand at a relatively new direction of the IT industry for the Kazakh market and founded a company for the development of software robots Seiko Labs.

By that time, both of them had studied under the Bolashak program (Mukhamedzhan graduated from the Multimedia University of Malaysia, and Berik graduated from Carnegie Melon University in the USA), worked in IT consulting in the Big Four audit companies, IT project management in the national holding Zerde, and software development experience.

"Having opened our own business, we decided that our business should be different from everything that is on the IT development market. By that time, the topic of robotization of business processes was gaining popularity abroad and in Russia, we actually did not do this. We studied the topic and saw a new niche and opportunities, " says Mukhamedzhan.

Software robots are software that simulates the actions of a person at a computer, we are talking about using a keyboard and mouse in the process of routine, repetitive operations. Previously, automation of this kind seemed too insignificant, but today the industry has reached a sufficiently high level of development to automate smaller sections of business processes. The robots cope with the task perfectly: it is enough for developers to see which buttons the conditional accountant presses to perform a particular operation, record the actions through a screenshot and reproduce them using special tools, and then configure the robot either to perform a specific task or to work in a certain period of time.

Today, the automation of business processes via RPA is the most relevant for companies with a staff of more than 500-1000 people. In almost all industries, it is possible to robotize the work of accounting, legal services, HR, logistics and IT departments. In the banking sector, robots cope well with tasks in the field of interbank reconciliations, currency control, and treasury operations.

"We solved one of these tasks during the implementation of the project with Halyk Bank. We have made a robot that automatically authorizes 25% of outgoing currency payments, in other cases, if there is a possible error, it notes exactly where it may be. The employees appreciated the innovation, and when there were failures in the robot's work during the implementation, they even worried if he was ill, " Mukhamedzhan recalls with a smile.

In Zhilstroysberbank, the robot, instead of the IT administrator, performs a health check of servers and systems before the opening of the operating day. The test results are transmitted to the telegram channels of the IT department.

The introduction of software robots allows customers to increase the productivity of processes by 60% or more, one robot can replace 3-5 employees. "When hiring, companies take into account the factor of dependence on a certain person and try to duplicate the functions of an employee. The robot does not get sick, it can work 24 hours a day, it can be adjusted to any routine processes. The company can transfer the released employees to more creative and analytical work and thus increase its own efficiency, " Berik Tursynbek notes.

Robots from Seiko Labs helped one of the first customers, the Kazakhstan division of a large international pharmaceutical company, to improve the accuracy of management reporting and the speed of its receipt. Operations that previously took up to two weeks to correct errors, after the introduction of a software robot, are performed in a week, the influence of the human factor when calculating bonuses for employees is neutralized.

In a joint project with BI Innovations holding, the" daughter " of BI Group managed to automate one of the most time – consuming processes-the processing of incoming payment orders. "Our cooperation did not end there. One of our robots works with the e-government portal at the request of the legal department, and also checks VAT reports for a three-year period, which must be submitted quarterly for each company included in the holding. If this is not done in a timely manner, you can get a big fine, " Berik explains with a smile.

Most of Seiko Labs ' projects are implemented on the American UiPath platform, which is a top product in the field of business process robotics and, accordingly, a very expensive solution that only very large and rich Kazakhstani companies can afford.

"Fortunately, domestic players in the field of robotics are appearing on the market, and one of these companies is developing its own product, the Python RPA platform. So far, it is inferior to the American one, but not in technical characteristics and functionality, but in the convenience of the interface, but this is a matter of refinement. But for potential customers, the implementation on the basis of the Kazakh platform will cost five times cheaper, which means that software robots will become available not only for large companies, but also for medium-sized businesses, " Mukhamedzhan Dusenov comments.

Several Kazakh business angels have already shown interest in the project, some have expressed their willingness to invest in the project. Not so long ago, Mukhamedzhan left the current business to improve his own product-Python RPA in a new company that plans to enter foreign markets, in particular, the possibility of robotization of business processes in one of the banks of Kyrgyzstan has already been discussed. There are not so many similar products on the global market, and those that exist are very expensive, while the demand for solutions for the robotization of business processes is growing by 40-60% per year. It is possible that for many companies, robotics can be a good solution in the new economy, when the coronavirus pandemic forced the management of companies to transfer a significant part of employees to remote work.

"We can take a lower price, a less promoted brand, but comparable features and greater flexibility. There are companies operating on the Russian market that have been promoting American products for a year and a half, then created their own solutions and attracted investments from American venture funds. Having a high competence in understanding business processes and in matters of robotics, we have every chance to repeat this story, " the entrepreneurs are sure.

Author: Anna Reznik, Fobres