Conversation with Pipefy : Image credit PIxabay\TumisuEnterprise Times spoke to Leonardo Tomadon, executive Director for go-to-market strategy, at Pipefy recently. According to Tomadon, “Pipefy is the best low/no-code solution for building and automating any type of process or workflow. We drive time to value through faster implementation and help teams deploy their workflows more quickly. Pipefy lowers the total cost of ownership by helping IT teams consolidate their stack and conserve their resources.

“Pipefy gives business teams more autonomy, and IT teams more visibility and control, which is critical for those longtail, complex workflows that often fall outside the typical IT zone of influence. That’s where a lot of productivity and efficiency gains are just waiting to be captured.”

Pipefy explained

Leonardo Tomadon, executive Director for go-to-market strategy, at Pipefy (image credit - LinkedIn/Leonardo Tomadon)
Leonardo Tomadon, executive Director for go-to-market strategy, at Pipefy

Where Pipefy stands out is that it aims to support the doers in an organization, whether they’re in IT or business operations. Pipefy is for anyone aiming to optimize and automate their workflows, even if they’re in a non-technical role. Tomadon explained, “Pipefy understands that, for a solution to be cost-effective and fast, it needs to support mutually beneficial relationships between business teams and IT. Pipefy delivers benefits to both.”

Pipefy aims to achieve automation by empowering non-technical users so that the burden on IT is much less, alleviating the challenges they currently face with massive digital transformation projects and talent issues.

Tomadon added that Pipefy is especially relevant for SMBs, noting that, “we’re seeing that market leaders like Microsoft Power platform, ServiceNow, and Salesforce are all great solutions. But for smaller businesses, they can be expensive and difficult to maintain.”

I asked Tomadon what the Pipefy vision is. He answered, “We want to be the ServiceNow for the mid-market. Meaning we want to serve businesses that don’t have the big budgets to invest in expensive solutions or the IT resources needed to maintain them. Above all, we want to deliver the tools and value that can help these businesses spur growth, contain costs, and build better business-IT partnerships. We want to be the workflow for process automation, delivering the highest value for money and being the easiest solution to do so.”

Convergence of BPA, RPA and Process Mining

Pipefy fits in an interesting category that has been evolving rapidly in recent years, especially with the advent of AI and, more recently, generative AI. I asked Tomadon to define how he sees business process automation.

“Business Process Automation (BPA) is the digitization of workflows. Business process automation solutions are those that orchestrate humans, systems and bots in a single platform. They enable both orchestration and choreography of the different steps that a certain process requires. They automate all the handoffs between not only systems, but stages across people, in the resolution, or the execution processing of a certain issue, ticket or request.”

Where does data fit in?

“Data is a sub-product of the process. While I process data, I’m generating more data. This is important as it enables continuous improvement.”

How has BPA evolved recently?

That continuous improvement is enabled by collating and analyzing data points that measure things like lead times, internal SLAs, and customer NPS scores. These metrics enable users to identify bottlenecks to help rectify or improve the process.

Tomadon continued, “BPA solutions are expanding into robotic process automation and RPA solutions into process mining, but also the same movement is occurring from this solution. You see UiPath, for instance, investing more and more into BPA capabilities, and also into low code capabilities. What we’re seeing is a convergence among these categories, and the lines between them are becoming more and more blurred.

“Why? Because there’s a lot of synergies between these solutions. Process automation gains come from economies of scale. The more I can identify process improvements, the more I can orchestrate these different systems and even robotize some tasks, the higher the gain.”

Another trend Tomadon is seeing is composability. Tomadon sees this as counterintuitive. He explained. “On one side, CIOs want to consolidate their tech stack. On the other side, they’re opening their eyes to what Gartner and Forrester call composability. Meaning, I can use BPA to cover parts of my process or parts of my technology stack that is not currently covered by legacy or vertical solutions.

“We’re seeing a lot of CIOs using BPA solutions to modernize their tech stack and extend their legacy solutions without needing to customize or code on their monolithic platforms.”

Over the last two years, Tomadon has seen Gen AI impact the industry. There is a lot of hype with some vendors providing AI for the sake of providing AI. Tomadon sees the real challenge as being where to apply AI and where it can generate more value.

AI trends

Tomadon sees four trends emerging in AI, which Pipefy already offers, and other players are developing.

“The first is prompt-to-workflow, where a user briefly describes a workflow, and Pipefy generates the workflow automatically.

“The second one is text-to-insight: the ability to ask and get answers from AI in a conversational way. Examples include ‘What are the main offenders of my process lead time? Where are my opportunities to reduce my average SLA?’.

“The third one is text to automation. This leverages the no-code aspect of the solution. In the past, you could set up automation rules just by dragging and dropping elements. Now, you can create these automation rules based on a conversational description. For example, suppose I’m setting up an expense report process. In that case, I can just tell AI, ‘Every time Steve submits an expense report, sum up the value of all the items contained on the receipts, exclude alcoholic beverages, and submit it for approval’. I can do that without any technical knowledge, and that speeds up the process reduces opportunities for errors, and accelerates the time to value.

“The fourth one is co-pilots that assist all the stakeholders – the people processing issues, the process analysts, and the external customers. It enables users and customers to have a conversation with AI that leverages a knowledge database.”

What is next on the horizon?

I also asked Tomadon what the fifth and future trend will be.

He answered, “Predictive insights. For example, in the expense reimbursement example, I can come up to the finance and IT manager and say, the most common request you get is X. And the average for this is below X amount of dollars. Why don’t you go ahead and set up an automation here where approval is not even necessary, it can just go straight to the payment phase; by this, you can shorten your process by 25%. Do you want me to go ahead and deploy this automation? This is what we’re aiming for right now.”

This is proactive process improvement. The AI suggests automations for a human to approve based on what it does and the benefits it delivers. Keeping the human in the loop is critical for these changes. Pipefy is sensible with legislation and ethical guidance likely to enforce or recommend such an approach.

The challenge facing enterprises

Within enterprises, Tomadon sees several challenges. “For business teams, the obstacle is building, automating, and managing their processes and workflows in a way that is faster, consistent, and which gives IT teams the visibility they need. Business teams need a tool that invites them to become co-creators along with IT, and the tool must be intuitive and easy to use.

“For IT, the challenge is maintaining day-to-day operations while also finding the time and bandwidth to support strategy and stay innovative. Lines of business are managing workflows with spreadsheets and email or hiring their own solutions – leading to shadow IT or tech stack sprawl. Sometimes, these are solutions that weren’t even made for process management; these are task management, project management, and work management solutions.

“IT wants to help, but it’s limited by talent shortage and complex solutions that are expensive or require long implementation cycles – regardless of the workflow complexity. IT reputation is being damaged by the long backlog and low value delivered for internal customers. They need more control over the processes within the business but shouldn’t have to expend additional resources to get it.”

For those looking to deploy Pipefy, Tomadon recommends two strategies. He explained, “In some companies, they do it internally, centralized with IT, with junior resources. The more progressive IT leaders want to share this with lines of businesses. They create what industry calls ‘fusion teams’, which are hybrid teams composed of business and IT, to drive innovation at speed.”

Common issues

Are there any common inefficiencies that you’re seeing across different industries?

“What we’re seeing is what we call the ‘long tail’ of opportunities. Digital transformation has already occurred in their core processes, but the long tail opportunities are found further from the business core. Millions are spent with McKinsey, Accenture and so on, to improve CRM and ERP, which handle the core processes. This doesn’t address the errors and inefficiencies that take place elsewhere in the process architecture. More than half of the automation opportunities live there. These are different problems, although they share some of the same root causes.

“We see IT leaders trying to hire specific solutions for each one of those core processes. They cannot be scaled or replicated because they were for a specific use case.”

Tomadon argued that while enterprises can create workflows within Workday (for example) for HR processes, these can be expensive. Pipefy can deliver far better value for 80% of these processes.

The proof that the Pipefy platform can replace other BPA platforms

What differentiates Pipefy from the competition? Tomadon identified three things: ease of use, rapid implementation and a lower total cost of ownership.

In Telecoms

Tomadon gave an example of one of the largest Telecom companies in Brazil that has created 400 workflows, 85% of them created by non-technical users. Pipefy can implement its solution in 3-4 months on average, less than half the time of larger rivals like ServiceNow.

According to Tomadon, Pipefy is also able to spin up instances for pilots in as little as two weeks. Larger implementations that involve integration across the full tech stack may take longer, but Pipefy is still faster than legacy alternatives.


That implementation also applies to new use cases once the system is installed. Tomadon continued, “We work with a mining company that needed to quickly process and issue payments to more than 100,000 people. With Pipefy, they were able to do this in 14 days. According to the customer, one of the big legacy players estimated 4 months to complete the same work. “

If non-technical users can use Pipefy and do it faster, Tomadon argues that the lower total cost of ownership is easier to understand.


Where else has Pipefy made a difference?

“We work with an energy company that is replacing their current solution with Pipefy to automate and orchestrate more than 80 workflows. In this case, they already had a BPA solution in place. They were looking for something more intuitive for end users and something that reduced the time it takes to deploy these workflows so they can expand the number of processes. They’ve been with us for a year and already have sixty live processes across HR and finance.”

What kind of processes have they automated?

“They are increasing self-service for HR processes. A business leader submits a vacancy for approval to the finance team and then that kicks off the entire recruiting process. Also, they have benefits change, internal movements, promotions, and off-boarding. Pipefy also serves as the employee portal where they can find where to go to ask for whatever they need.

“They submit this request through a portal, but it can also be through email, Teams or Slack. It will flow into HR and be automatically routed to the specialist designated for that specific service. Pipefy will automate the communication, all the emails for the approval requests, et cetera. These can be triggered based on levels of approvals. At the end of this process, it will enter data in this specific example, into Oracle HCM.”

The Book question

What’s the latest book you read?

“I’m currently reading Loved: How to Rethink Marketing for Tech Products by Silicon Valley Product Group (written by Martina Lauchengco, Amazon Aus, UK, US). It’s part of a series on creating great products.”

What is your take away on business from Loved?

“Invest in product marketing early. That goes back to your question on how to build competitive products. You need to have a deep understanding of the customer’s perspective and then use that to connect the dots between the problems they are trying to solve and the value your product delivers. Whoever is tasked with this acts more or less like a chief customer officer, to be the voice of the customer internally.”


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