A Successful Automation CoE Begins with the Assembly of Your Team
Your human team is still the key to a successful transformation while transitioning to a robotic workforce.
When investing in an Automation Center of Excellence (CoE), it is essential to understand the Robotic Operating Team’s roles and ongoing involvement related to the business unit and the intelligent automation program’s initiatives.
RPA CoE Roles and Positions
There are some roles specific to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) that make up the talent required to ideate, assess, develop, test, and deploy a bot into production.
Below we identify roles that are crucial to enterprise-wide adoption and success of the intelligent automation initiatives.
While hyperautomation is an agile technology, make no mistake: this is still a technology implementation effort and has the potential to fatigue and stall along the way like any other enterprise-wide tech project. To keep the project moving forward, on time, and within budget, it is crucial to consider the following “cheerleader” roles within the program, typically comprised of executive sponsorship:
- RPA Sponsor: This is the person who establishes the technology as an enterprise-wide strategic initiative and will underwrite corporate resources and will typically manage the P&L for the project
- RPA Champions: This is the person who is responsible for ensuring a healthy automation pipeline, moves along the ideation process with the RPA Business Analysts, and ensures that aligns with the operational management of the rising virtual workforce internally
As with every project, there are the folks who are hands-on with the technology and are responsible for delivering the automations to the business units. It is vital to make sure this talent pool works closely and shares a methodology vision for the best results. The key roles that make up an RPA Center of Excellence include:
- RPA Business Analyst: This role is the Process SME (Subject Matter Expert) located in the operations of the business and is responsible for converting human-processes into robot-process maps to prime development efforts
- RPA Solution Architect: This is the unsung hero accountable for working closely with the RPA Business Analyst to understand the automation’s objective. They must also have the technical prowess to define the RPA solution’s architecture and oversee it end-to-end, assisting from development through implementation. They ensure the output of the robot’s functionality matches the intended business outcome from the RPA Business Analyst (BA) and corresponding business units.
- RPA Developer: Do not confuse “developer” with “RPA Developer,” as resource candidates may present to know both, but they are not synonymous. The RPA developer oversees automation design, develops and tests the automation workflows, and supports the RPA solution’s implementation efforts. The Developer also works closely with the RPA BA to document process details and test the solution during implementation and maintenance.
- RPA Infrastructure Engineer: This role is part of both the deployment and future operations teams responsible for the infrastructure support for the virtual workforce’s ongoing operation. The engineer leads installations and troubleshooting efforts and contributes to the RPA Solution Architecture related to the overall program.
As with any project, there must be a convergence point where the robotic workforce is managed and controlled. The other functional RPA roles can continue to source and develop new automations to scale the program and head toward self-sufficiency. Two key functions can be in-house or outsourced for continuous operational excellence:
- RPA Service Support: These seem almost too obvious, but when building a CoE, there must be a place where any of your CoE resources can reach out with a snag. Our co-founder, Steve LaValle, says, “Your automation program should never be stalled because you have to ask a question.” Identify and leverage a support role service for the first line of assistance if ever an RPA snag should arise.
- RPA Supervisor: The RPA supervisor will manage, orchestrate, and control the virtual workforce in the operational environment. Their focus is on continuously improving robotic operational performance and resource allocation. They typically use reporting and analytics tools with the RPA solution to benchmark progress and make recommendations for improvements.
Automation CoE Ongoing Tasks
Once you have identified these roles within your organization, continuously optimize your CoE by applying some of the following “scale mindsets” to your CoE:
- Evaluate bot utilization on a regular cadence (i.e., quarterly) to ensure the fixed cost of robot licenses is matching and on-pace for your design and development efforts
- Allow for team collaboration between roles, especially with remote workforces: there should never be a disconnect between development or design methodologies within a CoE
- Seek out “pre-built” automations to push along your program. This saves development time and design time, and by up-skilling a member of the CoE in applying existing automation patterns to your strategy, you can achieve material value much quicker
- Model out your development pipeline and ensure your license investment is as large as possible upfront to capitalize on cost-savings with multi-year terms
- Consider a failsafe solution to RPA Service Support by leveraging outside expertise for fresh eyes and a new perspective on your automation program
- Leverage your RPA salesperson to connect you to peers who are developing and ideating similar processes. There comes a convergence point in any automation program that can benefit from the “lessons learned” from veterans
Continuous Education for Automation CoE Resources
As we all continue down this digital journey of learning to incorporate a robotic workforce mindset into our day-to-day work, ideas and best practices will continue to change, as innovation takes place exponentially faster these days.
A timeless approach to continuous improvement in talent management is to provide education to your workforce over the long term. RPA changes so quickly, it has been named and renamed countless times.
It is important to equip your organization with the latest uses of hyperautomation and be willing to adjust your strategy as new ideas, like prebuilt solutions, become more and more available to your Automation CoE.