Mary Lou Joseph
3 minute read
By Mary Lou Joseph
Posted in Customer Engagement
Most Robotic Process Automation (RPA) deployments start out small as a pilot in a single business unit or even team. Once tested and proven, these deployments grow to include more groups and processes.
So when do you start building an RPA Center of Excellence?
From the beginning, start with the goal of building a company-wide RPA deployment at some point. As you set up your first pilot or deployment, start thinking of steps, controls and approaches you will need to expand beyond the current scope. Now is the time to start identifying individuals to fill the roles in an RPA Center of Excellence (CoE) -- see the recent blog: An RPA Center of Excellence: Who are the Actors?.
So, when do you start implementing a RPA CoE?
There are two leading indicators that it's time to formalize an RPA CoE:
As you get started, don't forget to keep your business units involved in your initiative.
In the 2019 Trends to Watch: Automation report, Ovum cautioned that when building a Robotic Process Automation Center of Excellence, organizations need to ensure "that (it) does not break the business case." 1 Keeping the business units integrally involved in the CoE will help ensure desired outcomes are achieved. For information on how an RPA CoE is structured, read the blog: How to Scale RPA Beyond a Pilot.
Once you are at the point of expanding beyond the current business unit, functional area or pilot, that will likely be the time to start forming your CoE.
When does RPA stop being someone's side job and become a full-time job?
In the beginning, the roles will likely only be part of a person's job. As your deployment of RPA grows and scales, these roles could develop into full-time positions, especially as the return on investment helps fund new roles and career paths.
Another indicator that it's time to establish an RPA CoE . . . when you hit a certain threshold of RPA robots. This threshold can differ depending on how you deploy your RPA robots -- and the volume and complexity of work being processed.
So how will you know if you've hit the RPA tipping point?
Some organizations deploy RPA robots for a specific process, while others deploy robots that are programed to perform multiple tasks or processes. When you need a full-time RPA manager to prioritize the scheduling of the RPA robots and track their different tasks, that's when you've hit the tipping point.
In addition, as you expand beyond a single business unit, or above 20-50 robots, you'll also start interacting with so many different applications that a closer collaboration with your central IT department will be needed. This connection point will help you understand planned upgrades and system changes.
So you know when to start, and we've given you detailed descriptions of how a CoE is structured and organized in previous blogs (as well as in the report, Creating an RPA Center of Excellence), but is that enough?
As we said earlier, in the beginning, RPA automations will likely only be part of someone's role until you grow to the point of needing an RPA CoE. As with anyone who "has a day job," it is difficult to give a special project the attention it deserves.
Or, RPA can be such a bright and shiny new object that it takes the focus away from the day-to-day business.
Most organizations lack the IT resources or expertise for managing an RPA deployment. RPA requires a mix of business acumen and process expertise along with technical skills.
Leveraging your RPA vendor and service provider can help you gain this expertise, whether it be technical, implementation, training or consulting. This outside help can keep your initiative moving forward and with best practice guideposts.
For more RPA Resources:
I hope you enjoyed this series of blogs on an RPA Center of Excellence. Got any of your own tips for scaling RPA across an organization? Have any other RPA topics you'd like to learn about? Share your ideas below.
1 2019 Trends to Watch: Automation, Ovum
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