Embracing cloud automation and AI advancements to drive India's tech transformation: Munil Shah, CTO, UiPath

Munil Shah, chief technology officer, cloud at UiPath spoke to Dataquest at the DevCon 2024 conference held in Bangalore, India about their cloud automation offerings

Supriya Rai
New Update


As the country rapidly progresses towards digitization and technological innovation, leveraging cloud-automation and emerging technologies becomes imperative. Cloud automation streamlines processes, enhances efficiency, and reduces operational costs, empowering businesses to scale and adapt to evolving market demands swiftly. Concurrently, AI advancements offer unprecedented opportunities for intelligent decision-making, predictive analytics, and personalized user experiences. By integrating cloud automation and AI technologies, India can unlock new avenues for growth, innovation, and competitiveness in the global digital landscape, ultimately propelling the nation towards a brighter technological future.


Munil Shah has been a firsthand witness to the transformative power of cloud automation. With extensive experience garnered from various Head of Engineering positions at Microsoft, he brings a wealth of expertise to his current role as Chief Technology Officer at UiPath. His distinguished career is marked by a proven track record in constructing large-scale cloud solutions and navigating hypergrowth environments with adept leadership. Munil's profound understanding of cloud technologies, coupled with his strategic vision, positions him as a driving force behind UiPath's innovation and success in the realm of automation and artificial intelligence. Recently, at the DevCon 2024 - UiPath’s flagship developer conference held in Bangalore, Munil Shah spoke to Dataquest about what the company has in store as far as cloud automation is concerned, and the role played by AI in its offerings.

DQ: How do you perceive the current state of cloud automation adoption in India, and what trends are emerging in this space?

Munil Shah: The Indian market is primed for cloud adoption. Arun Balasubramanian, VP and MD India, UiPath, who oversees our operations in India, has been advocating for a dedicated cloud presence in the country. Consequently, I am pleased to announce the establishment of two data centers in India—one in central India and another in the south. These centers will not only enhance connectivity and performance but also ensure redundancy and failover capabilities, thus eliminating the need for customers in India to rely on data centers elsewhere. This underscores our commitment to India and our recognition of the growing demand for cloud migration among customers. India's rapid digitization, widespread mobile adoption, and advancements in technologies like AI indicate its readiness for cutting-edge solutions such as cloud computing. In many ways, India is outpacing some developing countries in embracing technological innovations. Having previously invested in Indian data centers during my tenure at Microsoft, I am confident in India's familiarity with and readiness for cloud technologies. Our decision to establish these data centers reflects our enthusiasm and confidence in India's tech landscape.


DQ: What are some key challenges organizations face when adopting cloud automation solutions, and how does UiPath help them overcome the hurdles associated with scalability and performance in a hypergrowth environment?

Munil Shah: To provide context, our journey spans over five years, with my own involvement beginning in 2018 when we initiated our cloud development efforts. When Daniel, our co-founder, sought to expand our global engineering teams, he strategically chose Seattle, renowned as the hub for cloud technology in the US, housing giants like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. Our decision to establish a presence there aimed to attract top-tier talent with profound expertise in cloud technologies. Consequently, our Seattle team comprises individuals with extensive experience in building large-scale distributed systems from companies such as Salesforce, Microsoft, and Google. Prioritizing talent acquisition underscores our commitment to delivering robust solutions tailored to the enterprise market's unique needs, where security, compliance, and reliability are paramount. Our cloud platform, conceived with a "shoot for the moon" mentality, has evolved over the years to outpace competitors, boasting a horizontally scalable architecture that enables rapid deployment of data centers globally. 

This agility allows us to cater to diverse customer demands efficiently, dynamically scaling our services to accommodate large-scale deployments seamlessly. Internally, we foster a "cloud-first" culture, emphasizing proactive monitoring and swift resolution of any disruptions to our services. Our relentless pursuit of customer satisfaction is ingrained in our culture, with senior members, including myself, actively engaging with customers to address concerns and drive continuous improvement. We prioritize enterprise readiness, aligning with industry standards and investing in top-tier security and compliance measures. Our emphasis on automation reflects not only our commitment to operational excellence but also our dedication to empowering our customers with efficient, error-resistant solutions. By leveraging the collective expertise of our team, embracing cutting-edge technologies, and nurturing a culture of innovation and customer-centricity, we position ourselves as a trusted leader in the cloud automation space.


DQ: How does UiPath envision the role of artificial intelligence and machine learning in enhancing cloud automation capabilities?

Munil Shah: We view AI and automation as complementary facets of a single concept, akin to two sides of a coin. When AI and automation converge, the results can be truly transformative. Currently, there's a pervasive discourse surrounding AI, with widespread enthusiasm for its adoption. However, translating this excitement into tangible, scalable implementations with precision and governance poses significant challenges. Automation serves as the enabler for effective AI deployment, bridging the gap between theory and practice. To illustrate, consider the analogy of AI as the brain and automation as the body executing its directives. Both components are indispensable. In an enterprise setting, leveraging AI alone, particularly generalized AI, may yield ambiguous outcomes without the necessary contextual information. For instance, in addressing customer service requests, AI must be furnished with pertinent details such as customer history, ticket status, and prior interactions to provide accurate responses.

Once AI formulates a course of action, automation steps in to execute tasks seamlessly. Our approach involves harnessing specialized AI models, developed using proprietary data, alongside generalized models like LLMs for diverse functionalities. By integrating contextual understanding with automated execution, we complete the narrative, leveraging AI as a powerful catalyst for automation. This synergy underscores our belief in the symbiotic relationship between AI and automation, driving transformative outcomes across various domains.


DQ: How does UiPath aim at helping organisations stay compliant with the newly passed DPDP Law in India in the age of cloud-based automation solutions?

Munil Shah: Ensuring compliance and security in cloud-based automation solutions is paramount. With over 15 years of experience in cloud computing, I've internalized the importance of safeguarding against data loss, leakage, and privacy breaches. These incidents can severely damage customer trust and must be addressed diligently. Our platform is meticulously designed to adhere to stringent regulations, particularly in regions like Europe with robust laws such as GDPR. We're also in the process of obtaining FedRAMP certification, a testament to our commitment to data protection, especially in partnership with the US government. Third-party auditors verify our certifications, adding an extra layer of assurance.

We've implemented rigorous controls overseen by a top-notch security team to safeguard data integrity. Our engineering leaders, including Gautam, bring invaluable expertise from managing enterprise services, understanding the criticality of data management. Our architecture ensures multi-tenancy while maintaining strict data segregation between tenants. Your data remains within your trust boundary, never shared or used for unintended purposes, in compliance with privacy regulations. We fulfill requests promptly, whether it's data deletion or regional storage preferences.


Regular failover testing ensures data resilience, mitigating the risk of data loss even in worst-case scenarios like data center failures. This proactive approach underscores our commitment to data protection and business continuity. Establishing multiple data centers in India, such as in South India alongside Pune, further enhances data redundancy, ensuring uninterrupted service and data recovery capabilities. Our relentless focus on compliance, security, and resilience demonstrates our dedication to safeguarding your data and maintaining your trust in our services.

DQ: Looking ahead, what advancements do you anticipate in the field of cloud automation, and how is UiPath positioned to innovate in this evolving landscape?

Munil Shah: We're thrilled to discuss both cloud and AI today, as we've made significant strides in AI development, highlighted by our major announcement of Autopilot. This innovative feature serves as your AI companion, catering to various user personas on our platform, including developers, testers, analysts, and end-users. Whether you're coding, testing, or completing everyday tasks, Autopilot is there to assist you every step of the way. In terms of our cloud offerings, we continue to enhance enterprise capabilities, expanding across multiple regions and pursuing prestigious certifications like FedRAMP to uphold the highest standards, especially within the US market. As our customer base grows, particularly with large enterprises, we're seeing increased demand for advanced features such as direct connectivity, enhanced encryption, and heightened security measures. Notably, we're proud to serve clients in sensitive sectors like banking, where our cloud platform plays a pivotal role in executing critical financial processes with utmost reliability and security, cementing our position as a trusted cornerstone of enterprise architecture.


I’d also like to speak about document understanding. It's a pivotal aspect of our AI portfolio and has been a standout product in the market. Document understanding holds particular relevance, not just in India, but globally. Consider the burdensome paperwork prevalent in doctor's offices or government institutions—our document understanding solution addresses precisely these challenges. With over 30 specialized models, we can adeptly analyze various documents, extracting vital information efficiently. What's more, we've recently introduced generative extractions and classification capabilities, enabling us to process even unstructured documents like warranties seamlessly. This advancement presents a significant opportunity for government agencies and enterprises alike, streamlining tedious paperwork processes and integrating them into automated workflows. The reception has been phenomenal, with widespread interest and deployments across various sectors. In fact, we're in talks with major US government agencies, albeit I can't disclose specifics yet, who are keen on implementing document understanding solutions at a massive scale, handling millions of documents efficiently.

DQ: As the CTO of UiPath, how do you prioritize innovation while also addressing the practical needs and challenges faced by developers and businesses in today's dynamic marketplace?

Munil Shah: Our company's foundation lies in its deep-rooted connection with developers—a legacy upheld by our founder, who remains an ardent developer at heart. With the largest community of developers and MVPs in India, our commitment to nurturing this community is unwavering. Today's conference, dedicated entirely to developers, underscores their central role in our mission. After all, as a platform company, our success hinges on building tools and solutions that developers love. Products like Studio and the plethora of announcements made today are a testament to our unwavering focus on developer-centric innovation.


We're not just investing in the present, but also in the future, forging partnerships with academic institutions to equip the next generation with automation skills. Our platform's popularity among developers is matched only by its trustworthiness among enterprises. This dual focus—loved by developers and trusted by enterprise—is our guiding principle. It's heartening to see the enthusiasm and energy of the developer community here in India, where we've deepened our roots over the years. From establishing our first development center in Bangalore to expanding to Hyderabad, our commitment to India's vibrant tech ecosystem is unwavering.

The energy and momentum in India are palpable, reflecting the country's remarkable growth trajectory as the fifth-largest economy. We're excited to be part of this journey, leveraging our newly announced data centers to further contribute to India's growth story. With a dedicated go-to-market team fueled by this momentum, we're poised to ride India's wave of progress while also playing our part in fostering its continued development.

The article has been written by Supriya Rai, Executive Editor, Dataquest. The author was hosted by UiPath in Bangalore.