By Philip Martin, CEO of Rapid4Cloud

As we absorb all that has happened during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), we at Rapid4Cloud are considering what we can do to lower our carbon footprint and those of the consulting firms and companies that use our robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to automate elements of their Oracle Cloud Applications estates.

The events of COP26 have inspired me to commit Rapid4Cloud to achieve carbon neutrality by the end of June 2022. I do this with good intentions, and firmly in the knowledge that I might be accused of virtue-signaling or greenwashing to build brand credentials. Think what you will – I know what I want to achieve. With COP26 fresh in our minds it seems appropriate for us all to explore the impact we and our businesses have on our planet.

SaaS is pretty green

As a software-as-a-service (SaaS) software vendor, we could make the argument that we already provide our customers an environmentally-friendly alternative to running similar software in an on-premise data center. IDC estimates that between just moving from on-premise to cloud could save 629 million metric tons of carbon out of the atmosphere between 2021 and 2024—and this is given no additional efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of data centers globally. With every data center adopted more carbon-neutral processes, that figure could swell to 1.6 billion metric tons.

Cloud vendors including Oracle, on whose data centers Rapid4Cloud’s robotic process automation (RPA) bots run, are taking aggressive steps towards carbon neutrality. Oracle has committed to 100 percent use of renewables to power its cloud by 2025 and to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. This target has been approved by the Exponential Roadmap Initiative, an accredited partner of the United Nations Race to Zero.

Bots greener than people

In a new whitepaper, we explore how using RPA to automate the more time-consuming and repetitive elements of implementing and managing Oracle Cloud Applications will drastically reduce carbon emissions versus relying on humans with their laptops and monitors, which consume many times over the amount of power required to operate the fraction of an Oracle Cloud server our bots would consume as they complete a process.

On the whole, little serious research has been devoted to how much fewer resources robot workers consume versus human ones. We keep our numbers at a pretty high level in the whitepaper, but the data is clear. Whether you are implementing a greenfield instance of Oracle Cloud ERP or just rolling out software to a new business unit or division, automating these processes could be one step towards reducing your company’s contribution to global warming.

By Philip Martin,
CEO, Rapid4Cloud

As this blog post goes live, my excellent Rapid4Cloud counterparts in the Middle East are already enjoying their weekend, and I am looking forward to the start of mine. For the consultant class and middle management though, a combination of job creep, multiple crises that suck attention and poor change management mean weekends shackled to a laptop or at least stressing about what Monday would bring.

An expert consultant or senior analyst may have been through multiple Oracle Cloud Applications implementations or run impact analysis and regression testing of quarterly updates many, many times. But it never gets any faster or more efficient. You are probably running a project involving dozens of individuals both on and offshore keying data into Oracle Cloud Applications or carrying the full load yourself, perhaps over your weekend. Some of you are spending your weekends developing automation scripts by hand for hundreds of different processes and environments. You are on a treadmill you can’t seem to slow down or step away from, or critical projects grind to a halt.

Enter the robots!

Many large and even some smaller Oracle Cloud Applications consulting operations, or even end user organizations, now run software that applies advanced robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) to vast swaths of implementations, migrations, regression testing—the tasks involved in standing up and maintaining the applications.

Technology should give us back the time we would otherwise spend doing things that suck our souls and for which we are ill-suited. Modern intelligent cloud automation software eliminates the repetitive work required to do things like:

  • conform to new definitions and requirements
  • analyze differences between the multiple environments a company might run
  • streamline migration paths
  • and run regression and non-regression testing.

In this, Rapid4Cloud is part of a broad trend towards AI and RPA augmenting humans to create value that previously had been done without the aid of robots.

According to McKinsey, AI can drive more than $200 billion in value in the high tech sector.

A 2020 survey by Cognilytica showed that 40 percent of business decision-makers already have one or more AI projects in place, and fully 90 percent plan to have an in-progress AI implementation within two years.

Major technology players are investing in AI to automate work that had been performed by consultants, including IBM’s recent acquisition of MyInvenio whose product identifies business processes that can be automated and application performance monitoring (APM) vendor Instana.

Redefining the “weekend warrior”

This rise of the robots does not mean we will wind up with Skynet, but rather will get our weekends back. I’m just reflecting on a weekend that represented a turning point for us at Rapid4Cloud.

In 2019, Thursdays through Sundays accounted for 42 percent of all activity on our platform. In 2021 so far, Thursdays through Sundays accounts for 47 percent of activity, and that notable week in September was 58 percent.  Mondays used to account for 20 percent of all jobs run on our platform for the week.  That has fallen to 13 percent.  Our customers are now coming in at the beginning of the week, getting some jobs running, watching them unfold, discussing the results, testing the output, making decisions and going home for the weekend while the robots work.  The alternative is working through the weekend to implement those decisions.  So, at best you’ve lost time on the project due to the weekend, at worst you’ve lost your weekend.

On the whole, our bots are busiest on the weekend. It used to be the case that weekends were the quietest times on our servers.  Now our customers have gone through the mental paradigm shift, realizing that our bots are just another member of their team – one who will work days, nights, even weekends without even a coffee break.

In one respect, this enables our customers to be that weekend warrior, pursuing a sport or a passion in their free time. In another respect, our bots are the weekend warriors—fighting the battles that our customers would otherwise be struggling with during what is supposed to be their personal time.

So, while hundreds of Oracle consultants around the world get some well-earned rest, our bots were are working away on their behalf—running reports, loading setups, synchronizing environments, configuring new business units.

That makes us feel like our intelligent cloud automation software is doing more than helping meet business deliverables—we are also improving the quality of life for our customers. Thank you to all our customers for your support, and I hope you are looking forward to seeing what our “weekend warrior” robots will have done for you over the next two days.  I hope you have a relaxing weekend.

Read more about our advanced approach to automated automation here.