Aman Sandhu is a specialist in Intelligent Automation and process improvement and he, along with his young family, recently moved to Perth to lead Procensol’s expansion into Western Australia. Despite his move coinciding first with the 2019/20 bushfires and floods across Australia and now, the COVID-19 pandemic, Aman is optimistic about the opportunities to help local industries. He’ll be working with government clients, universities and the private sector to develop Intelligent Automation solutions that will not only digitise and automate existing business processes but provide the means to innovate their ways of working altogether.
Since 2016 Aman has played a key role in Procensol’s government projects in Queensland and for 15 years has worked in Australia and around the world on major financial services and public sector projects. He’s Appian Level 2 Certified, UiPath Advanced Developer, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, and an experienced facilitator of major technology change and transformation projects. In this interview he talks about what compelled him to move from big corporate life to join Procensol, his love of digital technology from a young age, his continuous desire to learn, his career experiences around the world that have brought him to where he is today and the opportunities he sees for Intelligent Automation, in particular in Western Australia.
You recently moved to Perth to set up the Procensol Australia office in Western Australia. Can you tell us a little about why Procensol is expanding to this part of the country?
We see Perth as an important base for Procensol as we continue our growth around Australia and potentially into other countries in the Asia Pacific region. We’re seeing opportunities in the government and corporate sector here, and possibly with universities too. As with other parts of the country we see a need for Intelligent Automation and low code application development as organisations look to automate repetitive processes, adopt a digital workforce or tackle digital transformation differently to how it has been done before.
We’re also keen to build relationships with the universities in Western Australia. We want to foster opportunities for local graduates looking to pursue a career in digital, information technology or business transformation; particularly Intelligent Automation. One of the most common pieces of feedback we hear from our clients is that they really value how Procensol invests locally and provides highly skilled, local specialists for projects, particularly for projects using Appian or RPA tools such as Automation Anywhere or UiPath. This local investment in people is one of the things that makes us different from other larger consulting and systems integration houses and why we have such long-term, trusted relationships with our clients. It’s also one of the things that I love about working at Procensol – they have such a big focus on their people, encouraging us to learn and providing many professional development opportunities.
What are the needs or opportunities for customers in this part of Australia? Do they differ to the other states?
So far in WA we are working on some opportunities in the public sector and with some mining/resources companies which is probably not surprising given the prominence of that industry here. Like other parts of the country though there are opportunities to help organisations delivering healthcare or community services; transport and logistics; government related services; and we shouldn’t overlook the SME segment. Particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations of all shapes and sizes will be looking for ways to save money or make their operations more efficient and we’ve got some great solutions and experience to help them with that.
What interested you in taking this role, especially considering you were moving your whole family to Perth?
I took this role to contribute towards the expansion of Procensol. I have moved countries and cities several times over the past 15 years to pursue new opportunities and learnings and it will be a great experience building Procensol’s business here and working with new clients and partners. And now that the COVID-19 restrictions are being eased I’ll be able to go out and meet more people face to face as well as enjoy the sights that Perth and the rest of the state has to offer. I’m a keen amateur photographer and have already had some fun getting drone footage of some of the beautiful natural sights around here. [You can check out Aman’s photography on his YouTube channel].
You mention the COVID-19 restrictions. How have the restrictions affected your move and launching the business in WA?
Whilst our move itself was uneventful, right afterwards there were fires across Australia and then floods in some places. So prior to the COVID-19 pandemic there were already a lot of economic changes across the country that impacted the business. Clients were focused on managing the immediate effects to their own finances, operations and people because of the natural disasters. As a result, many plans for IT investments were being postponed around that time. And then all of a sudden come 2020 there was a bigger pandemic heading for us. From an individual standpoint COVID-19 initially made it difficult for me to build a network in WA and from a business standpoint we were prevented from doing things like conducting seminars, attending events or meeting clients because everyone was now working from home. So yes, COVID-19 has impacted us in the early stages of establishing our presence here. However, I think there’s a more positive side to that, and that is the way in which our whole team across the country embraced the technologies available to us to continue working effectively from home; and that includes our client project teams as well. In fact, I feel even more connected a lot of the time despite the fact I’ve been working from home for the better part of the year.
As the restrictions ease I’ll be able to meet with more clients in person and as far as the business goes, the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted so much more attention onto areas of business process and ways of working that can be improved through digital technologies, particularly Intelligent Automation and low code enterprise applications so we’re in a great position to be able to help clients to get their investment in digital right.
What attracted you to join Procensol and compelled you to transition to a mid-sized consultancy?
I started working for Procensol in 2016 with clients in the public sector in Queensland and was attracted by a number of factors, including the opportunity to learn Appian, the latest low code enterprise application technology. I straight away worked on some really interesting Appian implementations one of which ended up winning an international award for Process Excellence. Before I came to Procensol I was with larger corporations and so I liked the idea of working with a smaller organisation where I have more opportunity to effect change with the client projects we do. With Procensol I’m encouraged to experiment with new ideas and ways of doing things and we have shorter cycles for decisions.
Procensol has very strong values that are practiced by all individuals in the organisation. We all agree with and share in the values and we’ve formed a team with a really strong bond. Everyone always strives to deliver the best. One of the things that really stands out for me is the learning opportunities. They have encouraged me to learn more and more technologies. We have a healthy working and learning environment which makes us better as individuals and as a team – we not only deliver the best for our clients, but also for the broader society.
What drove your interest in pursuing a career in information technology and then moving into business process management; was it something you always wanted to do?
Basically I was always pretty technical and was always working on a computer or doing something on a computer – mostly gaming when I was younger. I was spending at least 12-15 hours a day sitting on a computer. I started working at a really young age and like many of us when we’re younger, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but over a period I learned that I really liked roles that are not subjective. I also learned I liked working in a dynamic environment. All my early roles involved management reporting using data and working with management information systems (MIS) and so I took it upon myself to start learning computer languages so that I could make my own job easier. I was able to automate a lot of the repetitive tasks I had to do. I guess you could say I’ve been doing some form of automation from the earliest days of my career in IT and MIS. Over the years I progressed to work on several major system migrations, implementations and digital transformation projects around the world. Now I get to do what I love every day for Procensol and our clients and it really is like I’m getting paid to do something fun that I really enjoy – so much more than just having a job.
You’re no stranger to moving. Tell us about what you did before joining Procensol and some of the places you’ve lived.
Yes, I’ve worked and lived in the United Kingdom, in the West Coast of the USA and most recently in Australia. And India of course as that is where I’m from originally. I worked with large financial services firms including GE Capital International, First Allied Advisory Services in the USA, Banco Santander and Nationwide Building Society in the UK and then Suncorp in Australia before joining Procensol. I started out in contact centres and quickly took on training and mentoring roles as well as several management reporting activities. I trained in Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and then Black Belt; I worked on some major application migration projects and BPM improvement projects for banking operations as well as AGILE transformations and more. I was continuously learning on these projects and also enjoyed the experience of living in different places. The countries I lived in are all pretty similar culture-wise but there were a few different highlights for me in each place. Believe it or not, the highlight for me in the UK was the weather. I come from Jaipur in India, which is a dry state. I mean, it’s a desert. I’ve seen very little rain in my life so I loved the experience in the UK with rain and cool breezes. In the West Coast of the USA I really noticed the liberty in terms of technology. I’m an automotive enthusiast as well so the big vehicles and high-tech cars excited me there. I really liked being somewhere that is so progressive with technology. And then with Australia it’s a pretty relaxed place. Very multi-cultural and a very healthy working environment so we love it here too. And since being in Australia and working with Procensol I’ve had the opportunity to become a Level 2 Appian Practitioner, as well as be certified on the latest RPA tools from Automation Anywhere and UiPath. I’ve worked on a major government transformation project and am now spearheading our growth into WA. It’s been a pretty exciting time and I’m looking forward to building our business here.
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