Starting Your RPA
Center of Excellence
RPA for an Innovative Workforce
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.
Off the bat, 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. As previously stated in our article regarding RPA and Business Process Analysis, 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. Learn more about RPA use cases HERE.
- 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.
Ample time needs to be spent preparing your organization for the incoming bots. Developing an understanding that these digital helpers are not here to take their jobs will further establish a mindset of innovation. At the same time, the bots themselves need to be adequately trained. So how do you on-board the virtual workforce?
- Drop the short term mentality
There is certainly no “quick start-up” method for on-boarding RPA. Communication internally and externally needs to serve as the base for your implementation. Understand that this is a long term project with a long term rate of return.
- Develop through agile methodology
When it comes to development, deployment and support, the agile methodology is crucial. Flexibility and learning on your feet will need to be the mindset of your team and partners.
- Set tangible goals and stick to them
Setting goals is important when getting your organization ready for RPA. Set a timeline, be agile through the process, and negotiate plenty of time for error and maintenance.
Delivery and Support
Your agile team needs to anticipate unexpected occurrences during the development and implementation process. Developers who are proficient in lateral thinking play key roles in the process. While tech background is important, knowledge in the application being automated is also important. So how should your team manage changes, and who should be in charge of managing them?
- Implement an impact assessment
Through communication with your implementation team, see how changes will impact your RPA system ahead of time. Form a small group within your RPA team to oversee impacts the new integration is making, and assess them as they go. Again, agility is key here.
- 24-7 monitoring
If it can be implemented, and your team has the bandwidth to oversee your process during 24-hour intervals, around the clock monitoring is ideal. This is especially true during the start up phase.
- Anticipate the downstream impact
Bear in mind the downstream impact when implementing RPA. When choosing the process to implement, keep in mind mature processes are more stable. They will not change as much or bring about unexpected surprises. Changes usually are not significant if the entire process isn’t changed, so having a team of trained users is useful.
Governance ties in with support, and is the encompassing lifeline throughout your RPA journey. Governance in practice stays within an organization, and consists of champions that oversee the entire process. These team members do not have to be IT specialists, but must stay informed of all RPA implementations in the business.
- Keep the core team engaged
Keep the core team engaged with changes that may occur down the line. As more automation emerges in the workplace and more people in the organization obtain responsibility, keep your team of “champions” at the front end.
- Frequently engage the IT team
Keep application specific expertise involved in the IT developments of your RPA integration.
Most successful RPA implementations (in various industries) establish teams consisting of strong leads. These may include business analysts who can map and analyze processes to identify automation opportunities, and developers who are proficient in RPA integrations. The big question at the end of the day is how can RPA be enabled in a business process? Rather, when your team is moving into the implementation phase, what is the best way to begin?
- Start small in the beginning
Start small when undergoing your first implementation. Understand that while aspirations may be high, not all of the business needs to be automated at once.
- Implement holistically
Take the holistic approach when implementing RPA into a business process. Don’t just automate one part of the process if you are bringing automation to the entire process itself. As previously stated, place a focus on implementing mature processes as well.
- Brace your team members
Individuals in the business may feel threatened with bots coming into your organization. Taking the approach of “taking the robot out of the human”, will help personnel to understand that bots are assisting, not innovating.
Where to Go From Here
Smartbridge digital transformation and RPA specialists have extensive experience in building CoEs for businesses to scale up their RPA capabilities. We help seed the CoE within the processes and practices being automated, and assist in ramping up skills and people through education. We will assist your organization with the following:
- Build the essential skills and capacity for RPA
- Establish an effective governance model
- Best practices
- Tools and standards
- Train, prepare and scale up
Our RPA workforce with expertise in tools like UiPath, Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere, Oracle Orchestrator and Microsoft technologies are ready to transform your organization into a digitally automated enterprise.
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