How automation changed my career: Vasu Jain, Lead Software Engineer at Slack

Vasu Jain Humans of Automation

Time and again, we’ve seen how automation makes our customers’ lives easier. But in many cases, it does much more than that—our champions have earned promotions, company-wide recognition, and newfound influence over strategic decision-making all because of their role in automation strategy. Of its many benefits, automation is undoubtedly a springboard for career success.

In this post, we sat down with Vasu Jain, Lead Software Engineer at Slack, to learn how automation has transformed his career.

Leveraging automation tools & techniques to build a bot to help communities in distress

Vasu Jain solves various business problems through applications and bots. His team, a subset of the applications engineering team, is called Slack on Slack—aptly named for their use of Slack in solving company problems.

Slack may be the user-facing platform for the solutions built by Jain’s team, but automation does a lot of the heavy lifting to make them come to life.

In this post, Jain explains how his experience with automation—both in and out of the office—has led to one of his proudest automation use cases yet: an SOS bot for the Ukraine crisis.

From automating Amazon Dash buttons to employee referrals

Jain has long been a proponent of automation. For example, a few years ago, in his spare time, he automated Amazon Dash buttons to correlate with his Slack statuses. A single press of the button = “I’m working from the office,” a double press = “I’m out,” and a triple press = “I’m busy.”

For a skilled developer like him, those kinds of fun automations are easy to code. To carry out more complex use cases in the workplace, however, he found a new automation partner in Workato.

Using Workato’s low-code UX, he has accelerated the process of automation building. Moreover, he no longer needs to spend hours maintaining code; instead, Workato offers easy-to-build recipes that do the heavy lifting for him.

As a result, Jain and his team have been able to push forward innovative automation use cases at a faster pace, such as automating the tool authentication process, automating employee referrals through easy-to-fill Slack forms, and automating the sales lead approval process, which allows for more immediate action to be taken on leads.

Adopting a new approach to problem solving

In addition to automation success, Jain considers a new approach to problem solving as one of the biggest benefits that he’s gained from Workato.

“One of the good things about Workato is that it abstracts away the need for a second infrastructure so you can spend time on the actual problem solving,” says Jain. “I used to start with technology to solve a problem. Now, the approach has changed to considering how I would solve the problem, and technology comes second.”

That sort of thinking has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for him, which are now making a global impact.

Applying automation skills to the Ukraine crisis

When Russia invaded Ukraine, Jain looked for ways to help. He knew that being on the other side of the world would limit his options to support Ukrainians. So he put his problem solving—and automation—skills to work.

First, he partnered with a friend to answer the call of a hackathon crowdfunding ideas, which promised to fund the best submission through public grants.

He started with his Workato-gained wisdom: put the problem first, and the technology second. And he thought deeply about what Ukrainians might need, and how someone on the other side of the world could respond to that need.

The SOS bot creates unique QR codes that Ukrainians could use when in distress. All they have to do is scan the QR code, which automatically opens up a meeting and posts the meeting in Slack to responders on the other side. When the meeting has wrapped, a post-meeting follow-up will be posted in the Slack chat with clear actions items as to what can be done.

Since the bot is automated, gathering requests from Ukrainians can be done easily and can scale fast. Plus, post-follow-up details ensure that all information is automatically recorded and that Ukranians get the help they need.

A go-live date for the SOS bot and plans for future use cases

The hackathon committee loved this idea. There are already plans for it to go live in about three weeks, with Jain taking on the role of architect/technical advisor while one of his friends heads up development.

What’s more, the SOS bot will be useful far beyond the Ukraine crisis.

Jain imagines that anyone in distress, such as those suffering through a natural disaster, would be a good candidate for the tool. Even the need for medical services would be a good fit for the SOS bot; he imagines that it could’ve been a great resource for COVID-19 vaccine rollouts, for example.

Jain is particularly proud of this solution for the undeniable impact it’ll have. It’s also one more reason why he will continue to be a proponent of using automation for creative problem solving, putting the problem first and the tools second when addressing any issues.