The FORA Council

Announcing the FORA (the Future of Operations in the Robotic Age) Council, to shape the future of business operations and services


HfS Research is establishing FORA, a select international executive leadership council of key industry stakeholders, focused on the Future of Operations in the Robotic Age. The aim of the initiative is to bring together the leadership from senior buyside operations leaders, service provider leadership, expert advisers, and technology developers, with the mission to set the agenda for the transition to the Digital OneOffice, and to develop an industry mandate for navigating and managing the creative destruction that looms.


The way we get work done is being completely redefined before our very eyes. The rapid onset and maturity of smart automation and cognitive technologies is completely changing how organizations operate and interact with their customer, partners, and employees. This irrevocable secular shift in business operations is unstoppable and the only way to compete effectively is to confront these impacts head on and work with our partners up and down our supply chains to establish effective ecosystems in this robotic age. 


As new technologies – Robotic Process Automation (RPA), machine learning, artificial intelligence, digital labor – are rapidly reshaping the operations landscape, faster than many might wish, we have no choice but to venture outside our comfort zones to survive. Many organizations are left with little choice but to write off expensive legacy systems, obsolete processes and ways of working – these add negative value in the digital workplace and render many companies uncompetitive.


In order to communicate the learnings from the FORA meetings, the group will produce a quarterly “FORA Mandate” that communicates core recommendations to the industry from the group meetings that will be held at quarterly HfS Summits.


FORA will be chaired for its inaugural year, by Phil Fersht, CEO and Chief Analyst of HfS Research, the first research analyst to introduce the emergence of RPA to the global operations and services industry.  


- Commenting on the new initiative, Phil Fersht stated: “Our goal at FORA is simple: We’re bringing together the key stakeholders impacting the future of services and operations to develop our collective learnings and communicate them to industry, using our global HfS platform, with an actionable, measurable focus and mandate.”

- Lee Coulter, Chair for the IEEE Working Group on Standards in Intelligent Process Automation added, "No one brings together the key stakeholders in the automation industry as well as HfS and I am very excited, on behalf of the IEEE and the Working Group, to share our experiences developing the emerging standards for automation at the FORA session."



FORA Sessions


The inaugural FORA convention will be held in Chicago on 19th September, where a selective group of 50 leading industry stakeholders will be invited to participate (more information). The sequential session will be held in London on 7th December, with four sessions to be announced shortly for 2018 across several global locations.


Key industry stakeholders participating:


- Alastair Bathgate, CEO, Blue Prism
- Andrew Anderson, CEO, Celaton
- Chetan Dude, CEO, IPsoft
- Chip Wagner, President, Emerging Business Services, ISG
- Cliff Justice, Partner, US Leader, Cognitive Automation and Digital Labor, KPMG
- David Poole, CEO, Symphony Ventures
- Jesus Mantas, Managing Partner and General Manager, IBM Business Consulting, IBM US
- Lee Coulter, Chair for the IEEE Working Group on Standards in Intelligent Process Automation
- Dr. Mary C. Lacity, Curators' Distinguished Professor of Information Systems, UMSL, and Visiting Scholar MIT
- Max Yankelevich, CEO, WorkFusion
- Mihir Shukla, CEO, Automation Anywhere
- Peter Lowes, Partner, and Head of Robotics & Cognitive Automation, Deloitte US
- Thomas Torlone, U.S. Leader of Enterprise Business Services, PwC
- Tijl Vuyk, CEO and Founder, Redwood Software
- Weston Jones, Global RPA Leader, EY


Council Membership


HfS will consider applications to the FORA Council based on seniority and relevance. The council consists of people who directly involved in shaping the future of business operations through robotics and artificial intelligence, whether that is within their own company (buyside), helping other companies (providers and advisors) or building the technology (developers). Are you interested in participating? Reach out to HfS Research and share your interest, and we will be in touch.

The Five Fundamentals of The Digital OneOffice FORA will address: 

1) Fostering genuine Digital Customer, Partner and Employee Engagement

2) Embedding Design Thinking techniques to achieve Continuous Digital Outcomes

3) Building a Scalable Digital Underbelly that Automates and Digitizes

4) Achieving an Intelligent Digital Support Function without Hierarchies and Silos

5) Establishing Intelligent, Cognitive Processes that promote Predictive Decision Making


FORA Statement of Principles

- Active participation

- Open and honest discussion

- Respect for needs and interests of others

- Investment of time, energy, and resources

- Commitment to finding solutions v. just raising problems

- Determination to message clear, concise recommendations to industry based on the collective learnings of the group




Interested in learning more about FORA? Email HfS with any questions!