Let’s make no bones about it, this has been one sorry saga. All we could do was warn the industry that cheesy marketeers, some lousy paid-for analysts and poorly-informed investors were forming a vicious web of bullshit that would take a solution with real potential and fake a market that bore no reflection of the one we originally dreamed up seven years ago.
And don’t say we didn’t warn anyone over the past year that the RPA market was in grave danger of being hyped out of existence:
So how can UiPath recover from this capitulation, a week after drawing the entire attention of the industry with its $8 million extravaganza in Las Vegas? The trust is wafer-thin (or pretty much evaporated), people are worried, and some fired employees are sharing their agony and disappointment freely.
10 ways UiPath’s leadership can recover the trust of an industry that trusted them
1. Treat the market you help build with more respect. Customers, prospects, partners, and the 500+ employees (or whatever number ultimately turns out to be real) you just sacked who believe(d?) in the vision and the brand. Read from some of the employees who have risked their careers and families’ livelihoods, just to see it all blown away in a few months.
2. Ask for help. Scaling a company and a scaling a relatively new software category are distinct challenges, made harder by them existing within the same company. Don’t imperil a fledgling industry with your lack of experience in the former while you trailblaze the latter.
3. Be honest. We should not have to say this.
4. Stop taking schoolyard potshots at competition. Competition gives your brand context and creates a healthy market.
5. Stop counting customers. We will repeat this forever. Start showcasing scale of customers. We are all still learning.
6. Charge for what’s valuable. Giving your product away or undercharging for it to create stickiness (while touting obnoxious customer numbers) is a road to nowhere. No one values free.
7. Apologize. Daniel’s belated, smug response is insulting to anyone who’s done business or is considering doing business with UiPath. Relationships are based on openness. That Daniel letter looks like an attorney wrote it.
8. Stup f-ing up the company and execute on the product roadmap because it’s good. Elena’s in progress POV after ForwardIII complimented the focus on enabling customers to do more with RPA – enabling functions like process identification and pipeline management, business benefit analytics, and more meat on the AI backbone.
9. Quit the arrogance. Releasing a Forrester Wave as the news of its layoffs broke, simply to drown out its layoff noise, where the analyst is clearly biased towards the firm (which also employs his son) just served to anger people who are craving some humility and less bragging.
10. Quit the “robotic butler nonsense”. Let’s define what we mean by RPA scale versus counting number of bots. “A bot for every employee” simply means “buy loads of our licenses”.
The Bottom-Line: It’s a marathon, not a sprint
Let’s build the white muscle capability to run the marathon versus red muscle capability to run the 100m dash. A few key takeaways for all of us from this:
RPA vendors: Not all of you are completely innocent of the same behaviors that have led to UiPath’s troubles. Be relieved this didn’t happen to you, and make sure it still doesn’t. Focus on value, not potshots and hype.
Service providers and advisors: Really be careful how you approach RPA alliances, as your choice of partner also reflects on you.
Analyst firm leaders: If your analysts don’t understand this space, then please stop bringing down the analyst industry with clearly flawed research and analysis. I’ve never seen analyst credibility reaching these depths before.
RPA users: Use this as a segway to evaluate a multi-product integrated product strategy and do not throw all your eggs in one basket. There are several excellent RPA, data ingestion, process mining and ML tools out there you need to embrace and integrate into your roadmap.