AITech Interview with Alessio Alionco, Founder & CEO at Pipefy

With Pipefy’s genuine no-code automation platform, you can create, automate, and improve your process. Read the AITechPark interview to find out more.

Can you provide an overview of your background and experience in the tech industry?

My perspective has been primarily shaped by my experience as a business leader and entrepreneur. Prior to founding Pipefy, I served as a consultant to micro and small businesses and led M & A for national and international companies, many of which were in the tech industry. I also founded and led product development for a local e-commerce marketplace.

This is where the idea for Pipefy originated. I saw that many businesses — including my own — were struggling to solve a common problem: finding the right tools to capture efficiency gains and scale the business by standardizing, automating, and orchestrating disparate and fragmented processes. 

What motivated you to start Pipefy, and what is the mission and vision behind the company?

Our vision has always been to help people build better processes, because we know business success depends not just on what gets done, but how it gets done. Good processes deliver good results and create great user experiences.

Prior to developing Pipefy, I worked in companies where problems with processes and standards of execution were major liabilities, impeding growth and preventing teams from achieving their goals. For example, processes that are bogged down by manual work, or which rely too much on spreadsheets and email threads.

In these scenarios, the work takes too much time and effort to complete. Managers don’t have visibility or control over their processes. Data is fragmented and fragile, so that information remains decentralized and stuck in silos. We developed the Pipefy software solution in response to these kinds of problems, which I knew were common challenges for other companies as well.

A lot of businesses I knew were grappling with the problem of operational efficiency, which inhibited their ability to stay competitive and meet their goals. Some companies were aware that there was a goldmine of efficiency gains hiding in their workflows and processes, but the software tools available to them were too rigid to deliver efficiency across the organization, or they were cost prohibitive due to the endless customizations and add-ons needed to keep them relevant.

With Pipefy, I wanted to create a tool that offered all of the features and capabilities needed to achieve operational efficiency, and also flexible enough to accommodate any type of process or workflow, without burning through the company’s IT resources. The Pipefy solution meets both of these requirements because it gives business teams an adaptable no-code tool they can use to solve many inefficiencies themselves, no matter the department or process.

Pipefy is constantly evolving to help teams do even more with even less. Recently, we introduced Pipefy AI, a new feature that combines our process management capabilities with GPT-4 and OpenAI. These enhancements give users new insights into their data and enable them to build more efficient processes, faster than ever before.

How would you describe Pipefy’s core product or service? What problems does it solve for its customers?

Pipefy gives teams a true no-code process automation platform that they can use to build, automate, and optimize any type of process or workflow. Think of the different types of processes that HR, Finance, and IT teams depend on: Pipefy can handle all of them.

That includes the unstructured, ad hoc, and longtail processes that the components of the existing tech stack can’t touch, so teams have to manage them manually, usually with an array of spreadsheets, email threads, and messaging apps. That just isn’t sustainable, nor is it a good use of a company’s most valuable resource: its employees’ time.

Pipefy solves three key problems for our customers. First, Pipefy accelerates digitalization by transforming previously unstructured and inefficient processes and making them more efficient through automation. Second, we help businesses conserve their IT resources by giving business users a secure, IT-sanctioned toolbox they can use to build and automate many processes themselves. Third, Pipefy breaks the endless cycle of endless customization and add-ons because it’s adaptable for any team, in any department. Pipefy integrates with the existing tech stack to create a unified ecosystem.

How do you envision the future growth and expansion of Pipefy? Are there any specific areas or markets you are targeting?

Pipefy continues to grow globally, and we already have customers in 70 countries around the world. Our long-term growth strategy is ambitious, and currently our focus is on the U.S. and Brazil. On a more granular level, Pipefy is highly adaptable and can be used for any type of process, so we have a lot of opportunities to expand not just in new markets, but also horizontally as businesses realize they can use one tool to manage many different types of processes.  We are really proud of the growth Pipefy has achieved, and was named to the Deloitte Technology Fast 500™, a ranking of the 500 fastest-growing companies in North America.

What role does AI technology play in Pipefy’s products or services? How do you leverage AI to enhance your offerings?

AI is the new frontier for digital transformation in general, and no-code in particular.  It holds enormous potential for both process automation and operational efficiency. Where these two intersect, that’s where Pipefy really shines.

Pipefy AI enhances our existing platform by helping teams solve some of their most complex and time-consuming challenges, such as pulling critical insights from their data, or building more efficient processes. By simply telling Pipefy AI what is needed, users can access complex data analysis and create the best version of their process in mere seconds.

We also partner with technologies that are using AI in other ways. For example, our partner ABBYY uses AI to enhance their document processing capabilities. Partnerships like these allow our customers to get even more benefits from AI to drive efficiency and deliver optimization to an extent only dreamed of just a few years or even months ago.

Security and data privacy are crucial in today’s digital landscape. How does Pipefy ensure the protection of customer data?

We know that businesses and IT teams need solutions they can trust, as much as they need processes they can trust. To us, being worthy of that trust means fortifying our software against known and emerging threats. Pipefy adheres to industry standards and best practices, including SOC2, ISO, GDPR, and LGPD.

But we also want teams that use Pipefy to have the control and features they need to uphold internal governance and compliance standards. So we built additional measures into our software, features like multi-level permission management, SSO, and MFA. Pipefy uses 256-bit encryption during transit and conducts regular pen testing and audits.

Process standardization and structure also play critical roles in security and privacy. That’s because standardized, consistent processes provide better visibility and oversight, which make it easier to enforce governance and compliance standards. Pipefy helps businesses stay secure by helping them standardize and structure their processes and workflows.

Since Pipefy is a no-code platform, business users without a tech background can use it to build and automate workflows and processes, rather than resorting to unsanctioned workarounds or shadow IT.

Can you share any success stories or use cases where Pipefy has made a significant impact on a customer’s operations or outcomes?

At Pipefy, we achieve our goal when we see our customers reaping the benefits of process automation and deeper operational efficiency. For example, one of our customers (NEX Energy) was able to double their customer base by using Pipefy to customize, automate, and scale their processes. This reduced the amount of manual work and process friction, giving their teams more time to build relationships and onboard new customers.

In another instance, one of our customers (BASF) saved 2400 employee hours in one year. Another customer (Capgemini) was able to cut their approval processing time down from three weeks to less than 48 hours. That’s what the power of digitizing and automating a process looks like.

Another great example of how Pipefy can make a difference is in our speed of implementation. One of our clients — a global mining company — chose Pipefy because we were able to deploy a mission-critical workflow for them in a matter of weeks, rather than the usual 3 to 6 month timeframe.

The real story is what these companies are able to do with the efficiency gains we help them achieve. The time and effort they used to put into manual, unstructured processes is recaptured and redirected towards value-driving activities like innovation, analysis, and building better relationships with customers or employees. That’s always the point: to give businesses more time and resources for the things that truly matter.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking to start their own tech companies?

I think it’s critically important to clearly define the vision that’s guiding you. Know the problem you’re setting out to solve. That’s the foundation for everything you’ll accomplish and it’s what will attract caliber employees and investors, when the time is right.

You’ll also be doing yourself a favor by getting as much hands-on experience as you can. Figure out what skills are going to be most valuable for you as an entrepreneur, and spend most of your effort and time on those. But complement those skills by learning other areas as well. Things like finance, product marketing, and operations. Develop your soft skills: you’ll need to know how to work with others, and how to negotiate, in order to bring your vision to life.

That will put you in a much stronger position as a leader, and give you a broader perspective that can help you make better decisions. You don’t have to be an expert in everything, but try to become competent in as many areas as you can.

How do you see the future of business process management and workflow automation evolving in the coming years?

On the immediate horizon, we know that AI will be a game changer for process management and workflow automation. AI actualizes the full potential of no-code technology, by helping everyone in the business make better decisions and work both smarter and faster than before.

AI gives business leaders deeper access to insights about their data, which helps them identify trends, uncover root causes, and more accurately assess process and team performance. Process managers and practitioners will also benefit from AI. In addition to eliminating manual work and speeding up processes, this technology democratizes process management by empowering team members with deeper insights, faster responses, and levels of scalability they haven’t had before.

Is there anything else you would like to share about Pipefy or your vision for the future?

With the availability of generative AI tools, we really are entering a new epoch in the history of technology and society. As with any big change, there will be questions that can only be answered by moving forward and getting in the weeds to understand what’s working, what isn’t, and figuring out what comes next. When it comes to AI, I’m one of the optimists. I see its potential for making work (and life) better for people. It will also make things better for businesses. AI collapses much of the distance between skills and data, enabling everyone to make better decisions every day. That’s in perfect harmony with our guiding vision, which is to focus first on people, then on processes. As Pipefy brings AI capabilities to our customers, that’s exactly what we’re doing: helping people and businesses build better processes through speed, scalability, and data-driven decision-making.

Alessio Alionco

Founder & CEO at Pipefy

Alessio Alionço is the founder and chief executive officer of Pipefy, a global leader in no code workflow automation solutions. Brazilian-born Alionco is a high-impact global leader, and has grown Pipefy from its founding in 2015 to a company with more than 400 employees and customers in 70 countries around the world, including Visa, IBM, Volvo, Santander, and Kraft Heinz.  A veteran business consultant and entrepreneur, Alionço has a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt along with a certificate from the Stanford LEAD: Personal Leadership program of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

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