ITA Spotlight: Ashling Partners
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Posted by: Gary Hotze
Marshall Sied, Co-Founder, Ashling Partners, @Ashlingpartners
The Robots are here…to help with mindless, repetitive tasks! At Ashling Partners, we deliver tangible business outcomes to organizations by leveraging emerging technologies like Robotic Process Automation (RPA) & Artificial Intelligence. We are optimistic about the Future of Work, and are having fun ushering in the new way of working with our clients, our team, and our ‘bots!
In 25 words or less, what is Ashling Partners all about?
Ashling Partners believes that organizations need their people to focus on value creation. Humans should focus on what we do best: creativity, critical thinking, and making decisions. Let the bots’ take care of the boring work.
What problem do you solve and how do you solve it better than the competition?
We solve inefficiencies in business processes that cost money and time, and limit innovation. We help organizations rethink their core processes, leverage intelligent process automation solutions to improve those processes, and support ongoing changes as the business evolves.
Keeping pace w/the speed of business nowadays is a significant challenge. Companies need agile solutions, and agile partners. At Ashling, we are agile, practical, and lifelong learners that are constantly tinkering with emerging technology within the process automation space.
How did you get started?
Don and I met years ago at the last firm that he founded here in Chicago- Emerging Solutions (now a part of Emtec). We did a lot in the enterprise application space- specifically with Oracle (ERP, EPM & BI solutions), Microsoft (ERP, BI, & CRM), and Salesforce.com. When beginning those type of client engagements, we always started with some process mapping and some ROI analysis to better understand where a client was, and what they will get out of moving to a new application. The reality is that many times the ROI was not fully recognized, and ‘wish list’ functions were cost prohibitive to develop in the software.
That really stuck with Don and me. We conducted research for over a year on emerging technology that we thought was really going to move the needle in the next era of business! We are both very curious individuals, so this was a fun, albeit ADD-ridden time. That’s how we came to focus on Robotic Process Automation (RPA). We loved the tangible results it delivers, and the value it can create for a company. From there, everything sort of aligned organically. Before we knew it, we were off and running, and Ashling Partners was started!
How has your company culture evolved as Ashling Partners has grown?
As we grow, we know our corporate objectives may change, but our beliefs & values should remain constant. Beliefs & Values drive a company’s culture. Our Beliefs & values are listed below:
· We will always choose progress over progression.
· We are lifelong learners. Learning is our intrinsic continuous feedback loop-- it never ends and should improve every loop.
· We are fanatical about being self-aware.
· We practice openness in mind, culture, and collaboration.
· We value versatility over technical specialization.
· We are practical optimists about the ‘future of work’.
· We are obsessed over 2 objectives: new ideas and our clients’ successes. We love when both objectives merge into one experience.
· Empathy is in our DNA.
· We address change head on. Change is hard. But a challenge being difficult doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive for improvements.
What are your primary goals for Ashling Partners?
Technology is a vehicle for change, but results are the end goal. Our ultimate goal is to grow a company and culture that focuses on results, not the latest shiny coin. We also plan to grow the advisory & consulting services part of our business aggressively. We want to learn from every single client engagement, and use those experiences as inputs to offering even better services to our clients. We will continue to build out our own IP around the leading process automation solutions.
Where do you see Ashling Partners in two years? Five? Ten?
Process automation is the stepping stone into more advanced Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. We see ourselves evolving into more unstructured use cases that haven’t even been thought of yet leveraging these technologies over the next few years. We also have a longer-term vision where we can help leading companies transform their operations into a more consistent mode of change & innovation via a ‘Future or Work’ lab offering. As all these technologies advance, jobs will also be displaced, but new skills will be needed- we would like to be a part of the ‘retraining’ solution as well.
What’s the No. 1 thing on your to-do list?
I’ll give you 2: Client value and talent. We see these two priorities as a part of the same flywheel. The more customer-centric we are, the more success we have as a business. The more success we have, the better talent we can bring onboard. The more talent we bring on, the more we can drive success for our client…And so on. Our job as leaders is to get that flywheel moving as fast as possible. That is why client centricity and talent will ALWAYS be No. 1 on our list.
In your opinion, what are some of the pros and cons of being an Illinois business?
The pro’s are that we have access to great talent, and Chicago is a great and somewhat affordable city in general. On the ‘con’ side, there is a perception that the Midwest is a laggard when it comes to technology when compared to the 2 coasts. We don’t believe that to be true, but we do need Illinois corporations to take more chances with smaller tech firms. There are a lot of benefits for large corporations in working with smaller, agile companies.
What are the biggest challenges you face as you scale your business?
Once again, it’s access to the right talent at the right times.
This one is all you. Anything else you want to tell us?
We really feel that it is a great time to be in technology in Chicago. We view ourselves as being servant leaders to the goal of meaningful work. Everyone should strive for more meaning in their work. We are happy to help, and proud to be part of such a great community.