Center of Excellence

Why RPA with COE?

RPA Center of Excellence (CoE) helps embed automation effectively into an organization, and redistribute accumulated knowledge and resources across various business units for future deployments. While starting your RPA center of excellence, here is the information your team needs to know.

Establishing a CoE

Regardless of its task, a robot’s essential job is to make the company vision come true. To realize this vision, businesses should establish an internal, self-sustaining and scalable RPA expertise to build, run and maintain the robots. Businesses must treat RPA as an enterprise capability, and resist temptation to make quick wins by implementing automation silos that only bring short-term benefits. Developing an RPA CoE is an important step in establishing a foundation for automation in your business. There are five core focuses in the process that must be assessed and established while making this development.

Opportunity Assessment

an organization needs to assess the opportunities of automation within their business processes. Asking the right questions among team members in this step of CoE development is important to assess what processes are fit for automation. not every process in the business is right for RPA. To ensure your team isn’t “spinning their wheels” in this area, here are some practical guidelines to abide by:

Build an opportunity assessment framework

Build a framework of your business processes, and note those you wish to automate. Examine different use cases where RPA is currently making a sizable impact, and gauge your automation goals accordingly.

Engage your business partners

An important step in establishing your CoE is understanding you cannot do this alone. Automation requires a team effort, frequent communication, and a desire to learn from mistakes. Engage your partners on a frequent basis during the development process, and ensure every member understands their role and the designated RPA ‘champions’.

Measure the ROI

What is the return of an RPA implementation, and is the process worth it? This step is especially crucial when evaluating what processes need to be automated, and which ones may just need a modernized system implementation.

Understand that mistakes WILL occur

No automation process starts off turning on all cylinders. The ability to “fail fast”, as we say needs to be the mindset of your RPA team in order to learn from shortcomings. This is also where post maintenance responsibilities need to be addressed among your team members.

What to consider before implementing an RPA CoE?

Before implementing an RPA CoE, it is crucial to understand the basics so that enterprise-wide adoption is smooth and effective. While identifying potential opportunities for RPA CoE setup, certain principles have to be kept in mind:

  1. 1- If there is a step in the business process that is excess to requirements or does not add value, then it must be terminated or removed before automation.
  2. 2- If a core system can be altered to implement automation cost-effectively, then executing this process is more of a priority for an effective RPA implementation.
  3. 3- The client’s permission must be taken before automating any process that involves personally identifiable information and confidential data. RPA CoE setup should not be done at the cost of reduced data integrity or security. No sensitive information should be stored in the robotics database or work queues.
  4. 4- If processes are currently outsourced to third-party providers, then the automation CoE must use the appropriate delivery methodology to provide robotics within the outsourced operation. In addition, the CoE must thoroughly evaluate the RPA vendors and, if suitable, enroll them as an implementation partner.

Building the RPA CoE

Planning

If you want your RPA CoE to be an actual driver of innovation and digital transformation, then adequate planning is critical. Implementing RPA throughout an organization could lead to profound structural changes. However, prosperous businesses must remember that these employees have valuable experience and expertise at their disposal. As such, there should be a plan to reassign employee tasks or departments rather than letting them go.
Planning for structural changes allows you to differentiate between the tasks that are to be performed by a human workforce and tasks that are to be completed by automation. It also includes a clear communication strategy to clear employees’ worries and fuel innovation. The plan must also include a full description of where the digital workforce will operate such that employees know how and when to use it.

Explore New Opportunities

While many businesses might want to implement an RPA CoE set up, they do not know where and how to start. Questions about various factors like infrastructure, vendors, processes, documentation, and other considerations will likely be floating around. The solution to these questions is to use a guide, either a consultant or an external firm, to help you explore and understand an automation CoE. A guide will make it easier to understand how a CoE will work within an organization.

On-Site or On The Cloud

Another significant consideration is whether your business should host the digital workforce on local data servers or on the cloud. While large, well-established companies might have the resources to host the RPA CoE at local data centers while other companies would prefer to host it on the cloud. Both options have their benefits and drawbacks, which is why many companies choose to use a hybrid model that is customized to suit their needs. The hybrid option could have some digital workers operating from local data centers while others operate in the cloud.

Analyzing Results

The digital workforce’s success can be measured through various metrics other than just merely settling for cost reduction. Determining success metrics early in the RPA program is crucial for successful companies. Cost reduction, increased efficiency, and accuracy are some of the most apparent success metrics but, depending on what the automation CoE is being used for, several other factors will be involved. These could include innovation, customer satisfaction, scaling, and more.

Setting up the RPA CoE

Big goals, small start

When setting up and implementing an automation CoE, it is crucial to have the big picture in mind, but take small steps. A small start will help you understand the technology so you can then decide the organizational changes needed, where automation can be used, costs, and necessary tweaks or adjustments. Thinking big is still as important as businesses that view automation CoE as just another tool often fail to reap its real benefits. Looking at the big picture helps empower employees to innovate and makes them eager to work with their digital counterparts. It also helps in planning future scaling.

Driving innovation

Human workers and digital workers can both complete transactional workflow tasks, but only the first can use their creativity and intuition to grow the business. Setting up a CoE that encourages employees to create rather than stagnate is vital to a successful program. A functional automation CoE setup frees up human time spent on routine tasks, allowing ground-level employees to innovate while subject matter experts can further use automation to help their creative endeavors.

Choosing the right resources

Since hiring trends have changed drastically in favor of the employee, selecting the right people and technology has become more significant. Setting up an automation CoE that can handle the important yet transactional tasks can allow organizations to then hire employees who bring a multitude of skills and ideas with them.

Customers first

An RPA CoE that does not allow you to better your service towards customers or clients is not fulfilling its potential. With the right automation CoE tools and implementation, a business can open up new opportunities to interact with customers, gain more potential leads and close more deals. Investing in customer experience is essential, and a CoE must be used in a way that simplifies processes and makes them faster. Customer service related tasks, which used to take days to complete, can be fast-tracked while employees can also have more personal interactions with customers.

Analyzing Results

The digital workforce’s success can be measured through various metrics other than just merely settling for cost reduction. Determining success metrics early in the RPA program is crucial for successful companies. Cost reduction, increased efficiency, and accuracy are some of the most apparent success metrics but, depending on what the automation CoE is being used for, several other factors will be involved. These could include innovation, customer satisfaction, scaling, and more.

Scaling

Your business’ needs will change as it grows, and your CoE should be equipped to evolve with it. A complete RPA CoE setup can make scaling easier as you can initialize more machines or software to do the work in a shorter time compared to the long hours it takes to hire and train new employees. Essentially, adding more digital “clones” to the workforce is a lot easier than integrating new people into it, but this only works if the CoE has the capabilities to handle the demand.

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