UK robotic process automation (RPA) company Blue Prism has hired a CEO to set up its new Nordic office in Stockholm as it prepares to offer a more personal service to customers in the region.
The Nordics are Blue Prism’s third-biggest market after the US and the UK, and its customers in the region now have local support.
“Within EMEA [Europe, Middle East and Africa], we are seeing strong traction in the Nordics, the Middle East and the DACH [Germany, Austria and Switzerland] region, so we have now opened offices and invested in local presence,” said CFO Ijoma Maluza at the release of half-year figures in June.
IDC figures confirm that Nordic business is growing for automation technology suppliers. In a report from January this year, it said automation is a market in very high growth in the Nordics, with software and services spending growing by more than 35%.
Martin Sundblad, research manager at IDC, said spending on intelligent automation in the Nordics could account for more than 2% of IT budgets for software and services over the next four years.
Blue Prism has set up its new local Nordic office in Kista, northern Stockholm’s tech hub. The company has 150-200 customers in the Nordics and its growth rate there is 100%, higher than anywhere else in EMEA. By comparison, it has about 350 customers in the US.
Computer Weekly met Blue Prism’s new Swedish local CEO, Robert Ekström, who heads up the Nordic market from its new office. Ekström joined BluePrism in January and has since hired a number of new local staff, whose work tasks include sales, customer support and marketing.
The Stockholm office is part of the company’s global expansion plans.
Ekström, who came to Blue Prism from EMC, has a lot of Nordic experience and was handpicked for the job by the company’s UK management.
“From the office in the UK, Blue Prism staffers had identified, sold to and started working with a very big number of customers and partners in the Nordics,” said Ekström. But this was without the local Nordic touch, he added.
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One of Blue Prism’s customers in the Nordics is Nordea, the region’s biggest bank, and other well-known users are Ericsson and Volvo.
Blue Prism’s organisation is entirely channel-driven, which means it does not sell directly to customers. It has a lot of sales channel partners, including in the Nordic countries. Its UK head office had been very successful in finding and signing up local partners to work with in the Nordics before Ekström arrived.
Its customers and partners in the Nordics are in the process of waving off Blue Prism’s staff in the UK, who will stop handling daily affairs in the Nordics. Instead, it will be Ekström’s new team inheriting the ecosystem, which he continues to expand.
An official opening ceremony for the company’s new office was held in June. “People are very happy that there is now a local organisation at Blue Prism,” he said.
Ekström’s new office will give support to channel partners, and there are also sales and pre-sales staff.
A number of Blue Prism’s customers are large global strategic partners with worldwide contracts, so Blue Prism has the right to sell RPA to them in every country where they operate. Contact with such companies is now also handled by Nordic staff dedicated to the job. It is important to handle these important customers in a needed way, said Ekström.
Partners are also an extension to Blue Prism’s Nordic team. One partner that sells Blue Prism’s platform is AVO Consulting, a software consultant from Stockholm. Partner consultants not only sell the Blue Prism platform as it is, but also often add specific services, bundle them and offer them to clients.
“There is a video on YouTube about how a payroll office at Södertälje Kommun in south Stockholm uses RPA from Blue Prism, put there by one of our Swedish partners,” said Ekström.
A robot called Ragnhild moves data between two fields in the system at the payroll office. “Robots are becoming popular in Sweden and elsewhere,” added Ekström.
The company also has European offices in Munich and Paris and plans to open at least three more in other European countries by 2020.