Adrian Jones has been running sales organizations for large IT organizations for close to 30 years. He has worked with big companies like Oracle, HP, and Symantec. Mr. Jones was always interested in technology from his early childhood. Studying Engineering at Oxford in England Adrian decided to go into business after University instead of engineering. He worked for Panasonic early in his career where his passion for technology grew. While at Panasonic he learned all about technology.
Adrian currently runs the Asia Pacific & Japan business of Automation Anywhere. The company is growing rapidly in the space of robot process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI). Automation Anywhere had a 200% growth last year just in Asia alone. Automation Anywhere creates what are classified as digital workers. What humans do in business such as the daily processing of data or other mundane repetitive functions, can now be done from a digital workforce perspective using software bots, not physical robots. These bots can process higher volumes faster and more accurately than humans when sorting, delivering and assessing data.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
The founders started Automation Anywhere about 16 years ago. It was an idea that they believed that humans shouldn’t do mundane tasks. We all do a lot of work like moving stuff on your computer from A to B, or B to A, so the idea for the company came from trying to help humans to be more productive in the workplace using robot process automation technology and artificial intelligence technology.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day is not easy. I get up at 6 am every day. I am in the office by 7:00 or 7:30 most days of the week. I start by looking at our sales numbers across each of the regions I represent. I have many one-on-one calls with employees, my sales management team. I run sales so I have to make sure we are doing everything we can to make customers productive and selling our product. Most of my day, about 70% of it, I spend talking with customers and partners about the technology we have. In the evening I am always on the phone to the US or other parts of the globe that we interact with, so it is a pretty long day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
For me, I like to hear from other people. I don’t think it’s all an idea from me. I like to get a viewpoint from everyone in the room about what ideas we can bring to the table with the strategic decisions. I don’t look at bringing ideas to life singularly. I think you have a team that is as excited about it and can raise those ideas and bring them to life together. I am very much about collaboration.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am very excited about artificial intelligence and using it for good and to help the human race. For example, we have a technology that can read a document like a human can read a document, decide what’s important in the information, and email somebody with the information, all with no human intervention. That technology is growing rapidly. Artificial intelligence is going to continue to progress.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am a good listener. I like listening to all the ideas about how we grow, what we do as a company, and how we become more entrepreneurial in the way that we approach business. For me, one of my habits is that I will listen to everyone in the room, I will listen to many different customers, and then make a decision about what I think is going to help us be entrepreneurial in the business. I will suck up all of the ideas like a sponge and then decide which I think is going to be more productive for the business.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would probably say, don’t rush to get to the top. My younger self was more aggressive to get to the next level, the next title. I think in life you have to be balanced and you learn a lot as you go up the ladder. To my younger self, I would say: Don’t rush. You are going to get there anyway. Take a longer time to get there.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I believe in living your personal values at work. I believe that companies don’t have any values. People have values. It’s important as an entrepreneur that you recognize other people’s values and that you are humble in everything you do.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
The best thing to do over and over again is to be humble and listen to your customers and listen to your people. As a leader, and not just an entrepreneur, that’s the biggest thing you can do is to listen to someone, and I really recommend that people do that.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The easiest strategy for me in selling our technology is knowing and understanding customer pain points. How I’ve grown my business is really by understanding the customer’s challenges and how we can fit our technology into the strategies of the company that you are across the table from. We make sure that we have a strategy that it’s going to support the customer, not just what supports our business.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In life you have many failures, certainly as an entrepreneur and as a leader, and 9 times out of 10 you make the wrong decision. The key is how you learn from that. For me, it is all about learning from failure. Whether you are leading a team or selling to a customer, you can learn from all of those things. It goes back to understanding and owning the fact that you made mistakes, and that is how I would overcome it so that I learn from it. Failure hopefully leads to success.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Even though not every company today has adopted some kind of automation, every company we go to wants to automate. They want to save money. They want to have their employees be more productive. If anyone thinks today about how they can grow automation and AI technologies in their own business, they would benefit from that, not just from cost, but also from a customer experience perspective and how they sell to their customers. If they can get their information to their customers in a much quicker time frame using technology like we sell today, it is going to help their business grow.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I have three boys. I know my son recently had to have a simple thing for his computer that was about $100. It made him a very happy kid. For me, spending money on my kids has been the best.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use software called Salesforce. It is a CRM software, a customer relationship technology. Salesforce makes me productive because I can see at my fingertips what my sales team is doing. It is very useful.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recommend Bury My Heart at Conference Room B: The Unbeatable Impact of Truly Committed Managers by Stan Slap. I have been good friends with Stan for years. It is all about business values and how you can live your values at work and make sure that you create the right atmosphere and the right culture in a company.
What is your favorite quote?
“Some people dream of success while others wake up and work.”
● Embrace the new technology. It is going to change the word for the better.
● Be a strong listener for your people, customers, and partners.
● Continue to always be humble and live by your personal values in everything that you do.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.