Business Process Automation vendors continue to fight for differentiation. As large legacy players like Pegasystems grow up to battle Salesforce with CRM-focused enterprise offerings, other vendors are fighting it out with messages meant to attract more specific groups of either technical or less technical people.
The build-it-yourself message that many vendors push to either developers or business users can quickly muddy the water, however. And, in reality, many business buying groups are generally more focused on the desired outcome of their business process rather than being hung up on who will be moving the building blocks around.
Thankfully, this original promise of business process automation is getting renewed impetus in a new entrant to the space who wants to focus more on what B2B buyers are really trying to accomplish. True process optimization and value based on the performance of the process.
Please welcome Wrk to the no code arena!
Co-Founder and CEO Mohannad El-Barachi (Mo for short) recently sat down with NoCodeDev.com to share his perspective on how existing players weren’t making the cut. “I had a ton of business process optimization needs as I scaled my last business up to a successful acquisition – but none of the BPA or workflow vendors out there seemed to be focused on serving mid-size businesses who were focused on the process and not the technology.”
“…but none of the BPA or workflow vendors out there seemed to be focused on serving mid-size businesses who were focused on the process and not the technology.”Mo El-Barachi, Co-Founder and CEO at Wrk.com after successfully scaling a previous business that required process automation.
When pressed to dive deeper on the idea, Mo continued, “It feels like enterprise technology can use pricing to push people away that they don’t want to sell to – and either directly or indirectly place an artificial value on their service. I see the opportunity for something more focused on a business process and less focused on traditional enterprise software business models.”
Wrk is making this vision come true by creating a new category of BPA solution that they like to call Hybrid Automation. Patrick Bourke, another member of the early Wrk team clarified, “this isn’t the first time a workflow engine has assigned a human a task – but it is the first platform with intent to bring outsourced human work to the design of a business process as a building block without having to directly manage those contractors.”
The concept is truly fascinating, if not a little ambitious. Wrk is placing the focus of its efforts on two key product and user experience areas: 1: the careful curation and pricing behind its drag-n-drop Wrkflow Designer (see video below) and 2: the building of a reliable community of highly skilled workers that are paid fair wages and whose input can be represented as a key workflow step.
Example of the Wrk no code experience.
“We like to joke that we are actually starting two or more companies at the same time to make this work,” Mo, CEO at Wrk explains. “It’s all happening under the Wrk umbrella, but we have teams focused on the Wrk technology and teams focused on the Wrkforce who can be ready to take on any volume of discrete human work.” Mo also emphasized a vision of the Wrkforce being a cross-section of highly skilled workers including, in time, licensed professionals.
After having a few days after the interview to consider the promise of Wrk, it almost seems like a potential unfair advantage for its customers. The ability to drag-and-drop to design a business process that can be fully staffed without assigning new work to current employees and contractors? Wow.
It becomes a little more realistic when you consider the post-pandemic world. Many skilled professionals were able to experience more flexibility in their work environment. This may not be how most characterized the experience of working from home with screaming children during the pandemic – but it is a new reality. Business leadership is now challenged to compassionately design a return to work journey that meets the changing desires of a more flexible workforce. If we all had the flexibility we wanted – there would certainly be a subset of workers who would choose to complete units of discrete work on their own terms.
Balancing Human Work with Automation
The vision for combining a highly skilled workforce with an easy-to-use business process automation platform doesn’t stop at version one. It actually implies a version two of every business process.
After designing a business process that includes on-demand outsourced tasks, the goal then becomes further automation. How can more of the human work be handed off to the machines using continuously improving technology like RPA or machine learning? How do we get the humans into more of an advisory or approval role – a generally more comfortable position for licensed professionals?
How do we get the humans into more of an advisory or approval role – a generally more comfortable position for licensed professionals?Key question driving the on-going success of Wrk.com according to Kevin Lindquist, Founder at NoCodeDev.com
All of these design decisions also impact the cost of the process – another unique attribute of the Wrk model.
Performance Based Business Processes
Compared to alternatives in the market, the pricing philosophy from Wrk is as much of a differentiator as the drag-and-drop Wrkflow Designer.
While many of the existing vendors orient pricing around some type of annual subscription structure with feature or capacity limitations on “what could be built” – Wrk is choosing to charge customers for “business processes executed” and places an emphasis on the overall value of an in-production and performant business process.
Mo shared an example of a private equity firm who is now able to deploy the same business process across its entire portfolio that will assess and execute business-level changes to meet certain performance standards.
The decision to adopt a performance based business process pricing model doesn’t come without challenges. Mo explained, “we are taking a great deal of focused effort on curating the action library that our customers can build with – including assigning fair market values to certain units of work.”
Example of business process dashboard – including results and costs from WRK.com.
The pricing model leaves the door open for small to medium sized business and large enterprises to quickly adopt and automate new or existing business processes.
The Wrkforce provides an interesting opportunity for highly skilled workers to earn a fair wage on a flexible basis.
The combined model presents a very unique opportunity for partners in the Wrk eco-system. Imagine large accounting firms, BPO firms, healthcare groups, or other licensed professional organizations who want to provide a unique service to customers on the Wrk platform. Business leaders at these groups could decide that the Wrk platform is a new way to monetize existing capabilities in their business.
Long Term Vision is 80/20
“Tech can’t solve everything,” isn’t a line I expected to hear from the CEO of a business process automation company. Mo continued, “it’s that last 20% of every process that really requires a human element. At least for a while.”
By now you can probably see the pattern that Wrk expects to work through with each process built on its platform.
First, build the process as it exists today. Second, explore where some of the work can be completed by humans. Third, find ways to automate that human work and elevate humans to an approval or advisory role.
We are excited to follow the growth of Wrk and expect to revisit the progress with another interview soon.