Automating 200k Manual Hours with Reddy Mallidi

Automating 200k Manual Hours with Reddy Mallidi

Published By : Cydney McCollum June 21, 2022

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Automating 200k Manual Hours with Reddy Mallidi

Automating 200k Manual Hours with Reddy Mallidi


On this episode of Bots & Thoughts: The Digital Business Automation Podcast, our host, Jimmy Hewitt, sits down with guest, Reddy Mallidi,  Former VP of Global Operations at Autodesk Inc., to discuss the transformative effect that Digital Business Automation can have on a company. During this conversation, Reddy speaks about implementing Digital Business Automation throughout Autodesk, from his visionary period to implementation and everything in between. Reddy gets into topics such as how to get your team behind Digital Business Automation the right way, how to overcome apprehension and staff off disappointment, his virtuous cycle of Digital Business Automation that combines professional development with operational excellence, and so much more. Reddy imparts his knowledge and passion for Digital Business Automation in this episode and you don’t want to miss it!

Follow along with the episode now!

Guest Background: Reddy Mallidi, former vp of global operations at autodesk inc
  • One of the most experienced and accomplished Digital Business Automation leaders in the world
  • Led Autodesk’s $4 billion global automation operations
  • Has run global operations for last 3+ years
  • Team: 550 people

Beginning of role at Autodesk

  • Lots of processes and the complexity has evolved overtime
  • As systems become old, people have to deal with tedious, mundane, manual tasks (I.e., copy and paste, importing and exporting, etc.)
  • CFO was his boss
    • Supported his Digital Business Automation vision
    • Began to invest in Digital Business Automation
    • Started with a small team
Automation at Autodesk:
  • The automation journey began in 2019
  • Automated to improve the quality of the employee experience
  • Automated over 200,000 manual hours
Reddy’s philosophy: How to implement Digital Business Automation into a company

New technologies are messy and complex and different narratives happen, so you need to be careful

Always go slow

Understand that disappointments will happen

You need to have a c-staff sponsorship


Critical! You need your team behind it:

  • How:

  • Go smaller

  • Prove the concept

  • Show the employees automation isn’t going to take their jobs, it is going to help them spend more time on less tedious, more strategic tasks

  • Remember we are at the beginning of the technology adoption curve

1. Begin with use cases: How Reddy introduced Digital Business Automation to Autodesk employees

Start with several obvious use cases

Example: Cut and paste across multiple windows, dealing with 15+ different systems

Shadow employees to learn their role and see where automation can help make their jobs better

By automating mundane employee tasks to improve employee experience, you will also improve customer experience

List of use case request became so long and the demand for automation became so high from employees after seeing other use case successes



2. Investment: How Reddy generated excitement around Digital Business Automation

Must invest to be able to take on more use cases!

Investing generates enthusiasm throughout the company

Investing allowing Autodesk to create a process team

Autodesk investment examples: Process-side


AI & machine learning (NLP)-side

Citizen Development Program:

Innovation idea pooling system

Collected the ideas people were enthusiastic about


People close to the business and close to the customers know the pain points

Ran ideas through Autodesk’s innovation program, Innovate to Operate

  • Reddy’s role: channel the positivity and excitement, take the ideas and get the support for them, and get the ROI

3. Prioritization: How Reddy managed the incoming case requests for automation

Created criteria that took ROI into account (i.e., the numbers of hours saved, the risk that it mitigated, customer experience enhanced, employee experience enhanced, etc.)

Assign an ROI score/weight to each case

Determining the ROI: Art & science

Science: quantify possible metrics (i.e., financial, hours saved, etc.)

Art: prioritize what you care about as a company (i.e., employee experience, customer experience, etc.)

The employees who submit cases are given the criteria template

They score the case and explain its importance

Makes the employee think through the idea in detail and in terms of ROI

Employees understand there are limited resources

Employees then present their idea to a steering committee

  • Benefits:
    • Allows employee to stand by their idea
    • Trains employees to learn presentation skills
    • Improve employee engagement
    • Aligns employees with the company mission
    • Employee is recognized
    • Employee can see their idea become a reality
    • Leads to more intakes

4. Implementation: How Reddy decided which use cases to implement

Created a Steering Committee that decided which ideas would be implemented based on the ROI criteria template and presentation

Reminder: don’t implement a steering committee too soon

Implement one after you have proven the concept with at least several use cases

You do not want to “over process” too early

Don’t want the bureaucracy present before your employees believe in the Digital Business Automation mission

When people see the first couple successful use cases, more ideas will follow

Team needs to mature first

Success will breed success

You must map the process and clean the process

5. Process Mapping: How Reddy’s team mapped and cleaned their processes

Created a process team: Process experts work closely with business experts (someone who is doing the job day in and day out)

They sit together and map out an entire process

If changes (i.e., new business models, new events, rules change, etc.) happen along the mapping process, they go back and clean the process again

They do not want to automate a process that is bad or inaccurate

Create a “to be” future process

  • Business expert role: explain how the business works daily
  • Process expert role: provide process perspective
    • Cleanup process explained by business expert
    • Key for process reengineering
    • Get the process ready for automation
  • Reddy’s Advice:
    • Before any automation happens, make sure that your “to be” future process makes sense
Example Autodesk use case: Term changes for customers 
  • Problem: When a customer needed to change terms on a subscription agreement with Autodesk, specialists at the company needed to make the changes manually
    • Took time to filter through many systems
    • Customer had to wait for confirmation until the task was completed manually
  • Solution:
    • Business analyst team: create the process for any new business model
    • Mapped from when a customer calls in until the customer gets notified of the change made
    • Automate: After the process is mapped, Autodesk automated the process in 3 iterations
      • Determined what steps of the process could be automated
      • Made sure that the steps that couldn’t be automated were not a hindrance to the automation
      • Automated the steps in increments
        • Easiest to most difficult
        • Automate as many quick wins as possible
    • Reminder: You do not need to automate the entire process at once
    • Result: Saved 15,000 manual hours each year
Digital Business Automationjourney:

Next steps: Once small wins start to add up and you generate ROI from Digital Business Automation profits you can…

  • Invest in more ROI-positive capital machinery
  • Move from mapping one process to mapping an entire process group or an entire department
  • Support more complex situations and business cases (versus mundane tasks)
  • Invest in more advanced automation capabilities
  • Build Center of Excellence
  • Invest more in people
    • Reminder: with Digital Business Automation, you should be able to support growth in the business without taking on additional assets (i.e., people)
      • Example: Same operations team able to support 2x the business after automating processes in their process map
  • Digital Business Automation definition:

    • Reddy: It is an approach,It’s not tool specific It’s not technology specific. It is business driven and you need to have a disciplined approach that shows business value in terms of ROI, customer experience, employee experience, etc.

A combination of tools and capabilities


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Salient Process Home Page

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