Promoting a proactive approach to gender equality in the software and technology sector is something we take very seriously here at Blue Prism.
Women have had a foundational influence on the development of our robotic process automation (RPA) technology from the very beginning. But we know that more work is needed to redress the gender imbalance in tech. Our ‘Women in RPA’ (WIRPA) initiative provides a community and platform for tech’s ambitious and inspirational women.
In the final part of this 4-part series, we chat to Sam Shaw, Head of Customer Support (EMEA) at Blue Prism to find out how WIRPA is helping to empower women in tech.
Leading the way for women in tech
Sam Shaw has forged her own path in the tech world and currently leads the technical support team for Blue Prism’s customers based across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
Having left school at seventeen years old, she gained her education from the school of hard knocks and with real-world experience, working in technical support for both computer hardware and software throughout her career. Then, in 2013, Sam joined Blue Prism, as she explains:
“Blue Prism was still a start-up when I first joined. I created our Customer Support organization from scratch and today we provide support to more than 2,000 customers in over six languages across all time zones – and that’s something I’m exceptionally proud of.”
“As well as leading the EMEA Support operation directly, I also represent the support organization on global projects, so I feel I’m having a real impact on how the company focuses on our customers and customer service levels across the business”.
Representing Blue Prism at the Women of Silicon Roundabout event
Sam will hopefully be speaking at the rescheduled Women of Silicon Roundabout conference in December. This annual event is Europe’s biggest celebration of the successes and innovations being engineered by women from across the tech sector – and Blue Prism are delighted to be taking part and highlighting the part that women play in RPA.
Our connected-RPA solution is enabling people to mix, match, and combine legacy back-office data and systems to create new emerging tech stacks. like machine learning, optical character resolution (OCR), sentiment analysis and more. And, as Sam highlights, there are plenty of ways that these tools can benefit women in tech and support their cause.
“With the rise of connected-RPA and Intelligent Automation, it might be easy to feel intimidated – but don’t, it’s not as scary as you may think. No superwoman-powers are needed; the skills you already have are the skills needed to make the most of this fast-rising industry. When I’m talking to a female audience, I always aim to give my personal perspective on Intelligent Automation and how to transform the role you’re in today into an evolved job of the future.”
“My Women of Silicon Roundabout talk will explain what RPA and Intelligent Automation are, and how they’re both already impacting you and your job today. This isn’t space-age tech – it’s here right now. I’ll also be giving lots of practical advice on the skills needed in Intelligent Automation and how to leverage your existing skills to jump into a role in this booming field.”
How Blue Prism and WIRPA support women in tech
Blue Prism’s Women in RPA’ (WIRPA) initiative aims to provide a community for women working in the automation and technology space – running events, providing a platform and getting involved in pushing the equality agenda wherever possible. For Sam, WIRPA plays an important role in helping women to help themselves.
“There are challenges for ambitious women in the tech sector – I’ve seen that myself. But I think one of the significant challenges is unconscious bias, both that others have, but also that we have ourselves as women. That’s something we need to overcome.”
“Initiatives like ‘Women in RPA’ help to redress the gender balance and promote highly skilled female professionals. But I believe that the most important thing these initiatives can do is help women once they are in roles. There’s a high level of focus on the numbers, and attracting more women into technology, but more needs to be done to keep them there – retaining women in high-powered tech roles is vital.”
How Intelligent Automation drives empowerment
Intelligent Automation has the potential to help women develop their skills and take on new, higher-value roles within the technology infrastructure of an organization – but can RPA be used to drive both efficiency AND the gender equality agenda? Sam certainly believes that this is a realistic possibility:
“I believe the nature of Intelligent Automation opens up new opportunities for both efficiency and equality, as the skill set required to make the most of these new and emerging technologies is different to those needed for traditional technology roles.”
“One of the most relevant Blue Prism values is ‘empowerment’, and I believe not only does the technology empower individuals to make a significant difference in their organizations, it also means that you don’t need to be a ‘super woman’ to be successful. As women, we all have the skills, capabilities and ambition to get involved in the world of automation and the wider digital transformation process.”
“Will we move closer to equality in the future? The short answer is that I don’t know. Until we treat women equally once they are here, things won’t improve. Part of the problem is not getting ambitious female professionals into tech, but keeping them there – and it’s this retention problem that I want to see improved over time”.
You can catch Sam Shaw’s presentation ‘Boost your Future Intelligently with Automation’ at the rescheduled Women of Silicon Roundabout conference on December 7-8 at the ExCeL London.
If you’d like to know more about WIRPA and how we’re empowering women to follow new and exciting career paths in RPA, please do get in touch.