RP Sanjiv Goenka Group

Democratizing automation at Firstsource with citizen development

The challenge: The need for a digital-first mindset

Firstsource embarked on their ‘Digital First, Digital Now’ journey some time back, and needed to speed it up with a step-change in productivity and innovation. The company aspired for every Firstsourcer to manifest the digital-first mindset and make the cultural shift.

Some major issues companies face are the lack of software development talent and the need to mix subject matter expertise and tech experience. Firstsource was looking for ways to empower our non-IT employees on the frontline.

The solution: Power to our people by bringing citizen development to life

The Firstsource Automation League. was launched — a pilot for citizen development to the test across two of our largest business units, to encourage people on the frontline doing the work to identify pain points automation opportunities based on the challenges they face, and then design and build their own solutions using low-code and no-code (LCNC) tools.

Automation League changed the rules of the game. Rather than having one Centre of Excellence (CoE) rolling out RPA across the organization, our approach was to create smaller CoEs within each business unit. We put the route to a solution in the hands of the people who best understand the challenge—the workforce. The ideology was based on:

  • Bots get used because they work, not because people are told to use them
  • Bots are shared across teams and become best practice
  • IT Professionals provide guidelines and governance only, and have more time to focus on putting innovative new technologies to work for your business.
    Productivity and morale soar, making it easier to attract and retain the best talent

Our project planning research highlighted the importance of training in both the mindset and method of automation skilling supported by rigorous mentoring. In collaboration with leading digital transformation trainers, Tiny Magiq, we developed a curriculum to help with this. It harnesses motivational techniques around the cumulative power of small changes based on Stanford behavioral scientist B.J. Fogg’s model of creating tiny habits. Participants used the Magiq Spark mobile journaling app to identify and prioritize bottlenecks in their process, develop positive ideation habits, get quick and constructive support from mentors and develop storytelling skills to present ideas.

Gamification techniques also encouraged and rewarded people as they were trained on UiPath’s outstanding Studio X platform which made it easy to — identify tasks perfect for automation and — build, publish and run their own automations

Our citizen developers worked together in small teams—the 100 in our pilot were divided into 5 groups of 20 each. Individuals within teams supported and encouraged each other, and each group was assigned three experienced mentors: an Automation Champion (to advise on the technical side of things) and a Process Owner (to advise on the business application of bots) and a Tiny Magiq mentor (to identify and overcome roadblocks). The virtual classroom sessions were led by UiPath trainers and experts helping participants get their bearings in place from basic coding perspective.

You won’t be surprised to learn that 84% of companies say digital skills are more important to their business in 2021 than two years ago. But you might (and should) be alarmed to discover that in the last six years, the UK saw a 40% drop in young people leaving education with relevant skills. No wonder 76% of businesses think that the digital skills gap could further hit their profitability.
Sundara Sukavanam, Chief Digital Officer, Firstsource
It’s heartening to see the impact Firstsource citizen developers have created in a short period of time.
Sukumar Rajagopal, Founder & CEO, TinyMagiq
Firstsource is embracing the power and potential of citizen developers with StudioX. It’s a pleasure to partner with an organization as committed to unlocking human potential through automation as we are.
Brandon Nott, SVP – Product Management at UiPath
Pulling together summary reports used to take ages. Now the bot chases the team for me and collates all their data in one spreadsheet. All I need to do is check it and push send to my line manager. The bot saves me 460 days a year, and it’s saved the business $56,355.
Poonam – Team Leader, Firstsource
The first bot I developed automated Reward and Recognition certificates. Each batch used to take me about 4 hours to personalize, now they’re done in 10 minutes! I’ve now created 6 other bots to help the team save time and money.
Lavanya – HR admin executive, Firstsource
I now take 5 mins out of each day to jot down process pressure points in a journal. This gives me ideas for future bots I can create and reminds me that I need to create them!
Jane – Telesales Executive, Firstsource
I don’t know the first thing about coding, but I’ve created a software assistant that automates 90% of the holiday hours I used to have to enter manually. Now I can focus on the best bits of my job and my bot saves $2,400 a year.
Laura – Team Assistance, Firstsource

The result: Automation skilling in a league of its own

Citizen developed bots are already adding value to our internal processes, and to our clients’ businesses. 100+ bots developed and being used by 1,000+ Firstsourcers resulting in a 95% hike in efficiency.

The Automation League has saved our business time and money. It’s made our people even happier and boosted our service to clients. We’re now putting our first-hand experience to work for our customers. We’re helping them to establish and run efficient and effective citizen development programs that realize their digital transformation ambitions. The Automation League adds value to their organizations by improving productivity and both employee and customer satisfaction.

To find out more about how the Firstsource Automation League framework can help take your business to the next level, please click here.

Business impact


employee-days saved a year


accuracy in processes


hike in efficiency on some bots


bots deployed in production

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