Introduction: What is a Robotic Process Automation Centre of Excellence?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is an invaluable tool that can help companies progress on their digital transformation journeys; allowing the streamlining of operations, boosting efficiency, productivity, saving time and reducing costs.
For RPA technology to work successfully for any business, it must be structured and managed effectively. The Centre of Excellence (CoE) plays a vital role here. It serves as a guiding light for the RPA project(s). It serves to define common goals and strategy between different departments, and a solid methodology. Without a CoE, your RPA project(s) could be doomed to fail.
An automation CoE takes input from stakeholders and departments, ranking tasks by numerous factors such as systems used, volume and time to perform. With the right tools, they can then identify and prioritise costly tasks that are performed frequently as they offer the largest ROI once automated.
We have done our research and have gathered together the best implementation practices for Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which is quickly becoming one of the most sought after technologies in modern businesses. Our experience working with consultancies and MSPs, as well as SMEs and Enterprises, has shown that RPA can provide an enormous amount of operational efficiency to any business – especially when governed by an effective CoE.
In this article, we will talk about the “Centre of Excellence” (CoE). It allows business leaders to establish a solid foundation from which to grow and develop. We believe it’s a great starting point for any company’s automation journey.
Four Benefits of a CoE
1. Efficient bot development lifecycle
In the initial stages of an RPA journey, business units usually take control of automating processes themselves. They’ll select one of the many RPA platforms from the market, and then get started. Each individual business unit – Sales, HR, logistics – may start choosing which processes to automate and which RPA platform to implement because of the wide and increasing marketing of RPA platforms, and the ease of use of RPA tools. But that means each business unit that decides to build bots is reinventing the wheel each time—researching options, choosing RPA platforms and learning from scratch how best to automate processes—and, ultimately, how to maintain and support the bots. You can imagine the mess that this can create
This is where a CoE comes in. A great CoE makes it possible for businesses to accumulate and gather all the learning and knowledge-based data in a centralised place. Moreover, it can allow businesses to access information concerning best practices (shared among other business units) focusing on researching RPA platforms and automation processes.
Through this information sharing, businesses can economise on time, accelerate and streamline RPA deployment and the management of RPA initiatives.
2. IT and RPA integration
Usually, and to their detriment, businesses do not involve IT with their RPA efforts. RPA platforms are chosen by the business, without the go-ahead from IT. With the promise of no-code/low-code automation in the hands of employees, they start automating and only turn to IT when things go wrong. Although RPA may work for some basic tasks, it may not work with complex and complicated setups.
With a well-designed CoE, IT is made part of the team, not just an optional addition. Infrastructure, security, data privacy, and other considerations that IT oversees are factored in from the very beginning of a project, not as an afterthought. Legacy IT systems are constantly being upgraded and patched. Such upgrades can break user interface (UI) level automation, making it difficult to maintain automation over time. IT can help prepare and forewarn these changes, lessening the chance of automations breaking.
IT might also notice a particular user (in this case, a robot) performing an inhumane number of actions, and temporarily block the account, causing whole processes to halt in an instant. Involving IT from the beginning can be essential for the proper selection, governance and security of RPA usage.
A well-formed CoE will ensure the need for governance, security and compliance by aligning the IT and business departments from the get-go.
3. Ease of Scalability
Businesses can be at fault for proceeding with uncoordinated RPA projects; choosing different products, engaging with RPA systems differently, as well as utilising and deploying them in a variety of ways. They may fail to establish standards and effective communication between different RPA projects. This lack of structure can pave the way to the failure of RPA initiatives and prevent the automation journey of the business from growing at a scale to meet desired organisational goals.
A CoE is essential for preventing these kinds of disconnects and for seeking to establish a business-wide vision that allows RPA to scale effortlessly. If the goal is to implement automation across the entire organisation, an automation CoE is essential for the successful adoption and evangelism of RPA – or any other automation software!
4. Improved ROI
The costs associated with RPA technology integration can be quite substantial without a designated CoE. The absence of CoE can result in inefficiencies that become quite difficult to identify and hinder automation, RPA procurement, and support.
In evaluating a process’s potential for automation, there are many aspects to consider. There may even be cases in which RPA is not the best option for process improvement. Careful assessment can help to avoid a negative ROI when investing in a project.
Just because automating a process theoretically makes sense does not mean that it necessarily adds value for the company from a commercial point of view. It is crucial to analyze the opportunities of RPA automation by examining use cases where companies were able to achieve the desired results. When preparing for RPA adoption, it is important to identify which processes are the best to automate.
The suitability of a process for automation can be verified by taking into account these key factors:
- The process is manual and repetitive.
- The process involves many personnel.
- time-consuming and high-volume – crucial for ROI!
- Process Input data needs to be digital, not physical.
- There should be a clear trigger for the process.
- The process is rule-based.
- The process steps and paths are well-documented.
Are you looking to establish a framework that will maximise RPA-driven value creation? Would you like to de-risk your Automation projects and understand their true Total Cost of Ownership?
An RPA CoE offers many benefits that can drastically improve the success of your automation initiatives However, creating a CoE that exactly matches your expectations is almost always a challenge.
SilkFlo helps MSPs and internal automation teams get CoEs up and running in no time. Our cloud platform qualifies opportunities, so you can manage and scale a successful RPA initiative for your end-clients or within your organisation, from idea to bot, every step of the way. Claim your spot today!