The rapid growth of robotic process automation specialist, UiPath, required a new approach to the purchase and supply of IT equipment for an increasing number of offices around the world.
UiPath appointed CDW to develop a standard global process through its own ServiceTrack portal for the procurement and delivery of Lenovo devices.
UiPath is now benefitting from a consolidated supply chain that provides employees with fast delivery turnaround times, administrative efficiencies, reduced unit costs and greater procurement reporting capabilities.
- Founded in 2015 by Romanian entrepreneurs Daniel Dines and Marius Tirca, UiPath is a global software company specialising in the provision of robotic process automation (RPA).
- After securing seed funding, the technology start-up expanded rapidly with the launch of offices in London and New York.
- Hundreds of enterprise and public sector organisations now use UiPath’s RPA platform to conduct repetitive processes including scanning, invoicing, reporting and database management.
- UiPath is headquartered in New York City, with offices in 14 countries throughout North America, Europe and Asia, and a workforce of more than 1,700.
- Listed 26th on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 ranking of US companies.
The exponential growth of UiPath has been recognised as an example of entrepreneurial success in a digital era. In just three years, the organisation grew from a Bucharest-based start-up, to a global corporation with a market value of over $3bn, more than 1,700 employees and an expanding portfolio of 30 offices in 16 countries.
UiPath launched its robotic process automation (RPA) platform to help businesses automate repetitive administrative tasks in an era when commercial organisations were accelerating their adoption of shared service centres, outsourcing and standardisation.
However, the organisation’s rapid expansion did create a number of scaling and coordination challenges. A key area of concern was the purchase of IT equipment.
As new teams established themselves quickly in new territories, they purchased equipment locally using credit cards. With little central oversight, the IT estate quickly became inconsistent and impossible to track.
Documentation was difficult to collate and there was no formal procedure for asset tracking. Without a standard policy in place, the diverse range of devices were frequently incompatible, and the implementation of software upgrades was challenging. This restricted the ability of the internal IT team to provide the support required by users whenever issues arose.
From a financial perspective, UiPath was paying premium costs for isolated equipment purchases rather than benefitting from high volume purchasing economies.
The issues of cost control and compliance were of particular concern to Catalin Lupu, Global VP Procurement & Real Estate who joined UiPath in 2017 with a mission to scale and automate all procurement processes.
“The situation was challenging for two reasons,” says Catalin. “Firstly, we were growing very quickly and, during peak periods, opening five new locations each month. Secondly, there was no standardisation of policies, which made it very hard for the procurement department to operate effectively. We were growing so fast that it was hard to gain a clear picture of spending and therefore it was hard to correct anomalies.”
To address these issues, UiPath needed to identify a partner that could provide consistent global support across an increasing diversity of offices and locations.
Having identified the need for consolidation, UiPath selected CDW as its international partner. “One of the challenges when growing globally is finding international partners who can meet this footprint and deliver what you need, whether it’s in Europe, the US or Asia,” says Catalin. “We found that CDW was one of the few in the market who could achieve this and help us manage the IT span and delivery. They helped us centralise all the hardware that we were buying individually in countries by creating synergies. They understood that we needed a global single point of contact which is hands-on. It was very important for us to have all countries covered by a single vendor.”
Benchmarking of devices from various technology partners led to the selection of Lenovo as the preferred due to the reliability, flexibility and diversity of its portfolio of products.
“We established good benchmarks and having started with four providers, we identified Lenovo as the leader and right fit for UiPath’s needs in terms of the technical capabilities and reliability of its hardware,” says Catalin.
CDW is one of only four partners in the UK to be recognised as a Lenovo Platinum Plus PC Partner. This elite position gives CDW priority access to Lenovo products, and the ability to buy from Lenovo direct.
CDW in partnership with Lenovo, helped to create a structured set of standards for deployment globally, coordinating local distribution channels, ensuring all employees followed this model and organising additional country-specific warranty support.
CDW’s ability to navigate between cultural differences and market characteristics was crucial in aligning and optimising the supply of IT equipment.
CDW also served as a fast acting escalation point when any issues arose with vendors. Alan James Brown, Senior Sales Manager at CDW says, “What UiPath needed was a global standard for procurement and delivery that could be replicated in a number of countries. Our international capabilities enabled us to do exactly that.”
To further streamline the supply chain, CDW also rolled out stock holding services, enabling UiPath to reduce typical delivery times from up to six weeks to no more than two days.
CDW’s end-to-end solution is wrapped up in its own ServiceTrack portal which provides a single multi-currency and multi-lingual tool. Through the portal, UiPath managers can request quotes and orders from a defined catalogue of products, track their assets and monitor the delivery process.
UiPath’s procurement team benefit from the ability to view and analyse purchasing patterns by region, supplier and asset information. These services are available in Romania, North America, India, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, the Netherlands and Dubai.
With a new set of SLAs in place, UiPath is now benefitting from a fast, reliable and efficient supply of IT equipment globally. Users are working with consistent systems, pressure on the IT helpdesk has been reduced and spend is more tightly controlled.
“There are clear administrative efficiencies in working with a single partner and with the help of CDW we have seen some real business benefits,” says Catalin. “The SLAs for delivery are very good and there has been no negative feedback at all.”
From a procurement perspective, the increased insight that is available from ServiceTrack has been a distinct advantage. “Reporting is like the holy grail for us,” says Catalin.
“Now, thanks to CDW, we have accurate data coming into the system and the ability to perform analytics, which is very important.” The services provided by CDW also provide UiPath with a solid foundation for the ongoing growth of the organisation.
Catalin says, “We have doubled our workforce year-on-year up to this point and we are expecting that to continue. Our estimate is that we and the other two main operators in this industry have reached only around 15% of the market so far and there is considerable scope for growth as the appetite for automation increases. What we have with CDW is a true partnership and that will be very important for us as the organisation grows.”
Dave Chapman, Vice President of Sales at CDW says, “We are proud to be supporting the tremendous growth of UiPath, which is benefitting from our end-to-end solutions, global scale and expertise in supply and logistics. Working closely with Lenovo, we have given UiPath the confidence to continue to grow without any concerns about the consistent and cost-effective supply of vital IT assets.”
There are clear administrative efficiencies in working with a single partner and with the help of CDW we have seen some real business benefits. The SLAs for delivery are very good and there has been no negative feedback at all.
Global VP Procurement & Real Estate