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Maximizing the Benefits of AI: Ankur Kothari ’01 and Rushabh Parmani ’01 Join The UW Now Livestream

Two computer sciences grads from the UW are optimizing automation with artificial intelligence (AI).

Business partners Ankur Kothari ’01 and Rushabh Parmani ’01 met as schoolchildren in Mumbai long before they attended the UW together. “There are many things we’ve done together as we were growing up,” Parmani says. So, cofounding a business after they both earned degrees in computer sciences was an easy decision to make. “There was always this notion that if we started something together,” Parmani explains, “it’d be nice, because there is a blind trust between both of us.” In 2003, they helped launch Automation Anywhere, a global automation company that is now leveraging AI to improve efficiency and increase efficacy for businesses such as Hertz and even in industries like health care.

Today, Kothari serves as Automation Anywhere’s chief operating officer, and Parmani is the company’s executive vice president of customer success and operations. Together, these Badgers are working to improve business processes with automation, so people can spend less time on mundane tasks and focus more on creative problem-solving. Kothari and Parmani will join The UW Now Livestream on April 16 to discuss how AI aids these efforts.

Chief Area of Expertise:


I studied computer science, so obviously that is one. And since we started Automation Anywhere, I’ve played different roles from head of products, then head of revenue, to head of customer success strategy these days. My role is that of a chief operating officer and I’m also a board member.


I’m chief customer officer of Automation Anywhere. I’m always interested in identifying customer problems and helping them solve them through our solutions at Automation Anywhere. And given how versatile the Automation Anywhere product portfolio is in terms of what it can solve, the problems are pretty unique. So, it keeps us all pretty motivated and it keeps things interesting.

On The UW Now, We’ll Discuss:


I was going to just discuss how much I learned from UW–Madison. It was one of the best times that I had in life, and [I’ll discuss] how I was able to apply that learning in my career. [I’ll also discuss] how we are the leading forefront of the whole AI plus automation wave, and how we were able to pioneer RPA — robotic process automation — as a category, and how we are evolving that into an AI-led automation category.


Automation is not a new concept. It has been here for many, many decades now, and it’s evolving as the technology transformation is evolving. And then from a second angle, the whole AI wave is coming. So, what I would like to discuss more, and also get more perspective from others wherever possible, is how automation and AI are coming together and truly transforming some of the business processes in enterprise landscape, which has never been done before. We would love to share some examples from customers’ perspectives, what we are seeing in the market, where the needs are, and things like that.

The One Thing We Want Viewers to Remember Is:


Madison is one of the best places and the best education you can get. It’s one of the best places to learn how to learn, which helps you throughout your life.


We are all used to seeing transformation, and we’ve seen so many industrial revolutions as well. But the type of revolution or transformation that we are in right now is almost unprecedented. What used to take 20–30 years to happen is literally happening in less than a year. Some of the examples we are seeing in front of our own eyes are just mind-boggling. This transformation is not something that [people are] going to wait out. It’s either you’ll be part of it and enjoy the ride and make the most of it and do something about it, or you’ll be rolled over and you won’t know where it all went. I think that’s one thing that, especially from where we come from of the world of automation and AI, some massive things are happening: companies are transforming their entire functions and entire operations. But forward-thinking viewers are definitely taking it on and making some really bold moves.

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Quite a lot of news articles — we keep getting covered a lot. They all talk about different roles of AI and automation, primarily leveraged in enterprise currently. There are quite a lot of articles and YouTube videos. [There’s] not any particular one, but all of them kind of touched on the same thing.


We have a link on our website which actually talks about a lot of use cases from a business perspective where automation and [generative] AI are used together. Because often people use [GenAI] in their personal productivity and things like that, but how do you apply that in an enterprise landscape for a large organization with automation? That area is still untapped. We are taking a leadership [role] in that, and if you see those examples, a lot of ideas and thoughts come to your mind in terms of what you can do in organizations.

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