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How to Build an Scalable RPA Center of Excellence

RPA Center of Excellence, Robotic Operations Center or Automation Program – this is how you scale to a much larger number of RPA deployed

Back in the day, I first started conceptualizing the idea of a larger centralized program of management for RPA once Excel spreadsheets and sticky notes became unscalable to manage the list of automation candidates or the development efforts of the team. Sure, I could build one to five automations at a time, but how could I ensure what was in front of me was great for the organization, and how could I determine if it was built and deployed properly? How could I assure stakeholders that everyone had been notified and supporting documentation was in place? How could I make sure that new employees and team members were brought up to speed on what was deployed? This is where an RPA center of excellence (CoE) streamlines RPA output, provides structure and helps plan for scalability.

RPA COE GOVERNANCE

An RPA CoE ties elements of success together in a centralized programmatic fashion to ensure the people, process and tools within the structure are all moving in the same direction and generating impact in a scalable manner. Checks and balances for the scoping, designing, development, testing and deployment can be deployed to ensure communication is seamless within the business unit or organization. For instance, every house begins with a solid foundation. Process and Tools within RPA are common denominators for any RPA program. There must be an overarching process to take ideas for automation and turn them into reality. There must also be tools used to do so – in this instance, we recommend the UiPath platform due to its ease of use, community of support and industry leading best practice capabilities. A well documented and understood process for the RPA delivery lifecycle coupled with a powerful and easy to use RPA platform becomes the solid foundation for any CoE.

The ceiling of the house RPA built are the stakeholders, the users and the RPA development team within the CoE structure. These are the executives expecting impact, the developers and testers delivering automation and all the human glue in between ensuring that the CoE is capable of delivering against any level of complexity or volume of output. Think of the People within the CoE as forming the umbrella that protects the structure of the CoE. If everyone has a stake in the game and works together, the CoE runs smoothly with continual impact being generated – like a factory.

The people within the CoE should be supported by pillars of success within the CoE. These pillars provide the procedures, expectations and operating model to ensure the RPA process and tools are used within corporate boundaries and guidelines to ensure the impact is driven for the stakeholders and RPA team. These pillars of success can be based on function as seen in a centralized model, and can also be based on region, support group or operating unit as seen in a federated or segmented model.

The pillars for a CoE are driven by the CoE program lead and usually consist of the following:

Strategy

Establishes goals and delivery expectations for any external and internal providers of operational delivery to the CoE. This pillar should include a listing of expectations in delivery toward goals set by the stakeholders. The CoE strategy pillar can also be created to provide guidance to another organization through a federated operating model.

Operating Model 

Determines the structure of the team positioned to scope, design, develop, test and deploy automation within the business unit or organization.

Governance Model 

Determines how the CoE will be governed and establishes communication methods and the RPA delivery lifecycle. This pillar also creates, measures and drives performance criteria for the output of automation.

Enablement 

Determines how impact will be measured and shared throughout the business unit or organization. Also, ensures all resources are certified and qualified to perform their duties as outlined within the roles of the Operating Model.

Support

Provides ongoing training, staffing, performance measurement, pipeline management and quality assurance within any RPA project.

In conclusion, a solid center of excellence with a foundation of Process and Tools and strong pillars of success will hold the weight of RPA stakeholders expectations, timeline and desired ROI as the RPA team deploys automation. The CoE structure provides the method to guarantee an ongoing output of automation based on RPA candidates, development capabilities and future scalability. The most difficult part of establishing a CoE is getting started. If you have 1 or 100 RPA deployed, it’s never too late to put in the structure to ensure future scalability within your RPA deployment.

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Are you having trouble scaling your RPA program or facing roadblocks around your CoE strategy? JOLT is a specialized Robotic Process Automation (RPA) services provider, we can help you, and your company navigate the nuances of setting up a digital-first enterprise.

Contact us to talk to a specialist today about your automation questions and goals, book a free consultation here.

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