Key Points
  • A well-structured and staffed Robotic Process Automation Center of Excellence (RPA CoE) is critical for an industrialized and institutionalized RPA organization

  • Evaluating the value of process steps, ensuring data security and choosing the right RPA implementation partner are important factors in identifying opportunities for RPA

  • Irrespective of the type of RPA CoE, it will need to be staffed right with the right governance models

A number of enterprises are attempting to transform their operations using a digital virtual workforce. One of the key steps in this journey is implementing Robotic Process Automation (RPA). To do so, a well-structured and staffed RPA Center of Excellence (CoE) is critical. Some of the key considerations for the design and setup of a well-staffed and organized RPA CoE are:

  • Organization Model and Accountability

While the CoE is central to an industrialized robotics capability, other areas of the business are key to a successful robotics program. The key organizations and their accountabilities for a successful RPA program are:

    • Operations

      • Target ownership set through a budgetary process

      • Staffing to assist the RPA CoE in the assessments, design and testing of the automated processes

      • Re-organization, change management or communications required for the realization of robotics benefits

    • RPA CoE

      • Identify new opportunities for automation

      • Agile teams that can be set up quickly to deliver robotics to operations within agreed budgets

      • Act as a single point of contact. All requests for robotics go through the same team that has a proven delivery methodology

      • Creation of policies, standards, processes and template materials relating to robotics within the business

      • Management of change requests in Business As Usual (BAU)

    • Information Technology (IT)

      • Delivery and maintenance of the required robotics infrastructure

      • Security of IT systems, data and robots

      • Investigation and resolution of incidents on IT Infrastructure, and system access when it is identified as an issue

    • Procurement

      • Engaging with suppliers to deliver the best value possible for the requirements supplied by the operational leads, CoE and IT. These mainly include robotics licenses, robotics infrastructure (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and servers), and robotics implementation costs (when provided by a third party)

  • Principles Governing RPA

A few key principles should be adhered to while identifying opportunities for RPA:

    • Where a process step does not add value, it should be eliminated before automation

    • Where a core system can be altered to automate the process in a cost-effective and timely manner, this is a preferred option to robotics

    • Explicit permission from the client before automating a process that involves Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and confidential data. Avoid storing any client confidential data in the robotics, database and robotics work queues. RPA of processes should not be performed in such a way that results in an increased risk to integrity or security of systems or data

    • If a process is currently outsourced to a third-party provider, the process should remain outsourced and the CoE must deliver the robotics within the outsourced operation using the delivery methodology for robotics. The CoE must evaluate the capabilities of the third-party provider for RPA, and if found suitable, enroll them as a robotics implementation partner

  • Staffing of the CoE

Regardless of whether the CoE is self-run, operated by a third party, or a hybrid model, it should have the following critical roles. This is a must to keep the momentum and drive bot velocity:

    • CoE Sponsor: An executive sponsor who is accountable for the robotics strategy

    • CoE Lead: A senior stakeholder accountable for CoE activities, engagement with operational leads and overall performance reporting

    • CoE Project Manager: Manages the delivery of robotics projects in accordance with the CoE delivery methodology to ensure benefits are delivered on time and within the budget

    • CoE RPA Business Analysts: Responsible for opportunity identification, producing high-level and detailed analysis of benefit potential and requirements gathering

    • CoE RPA Architect: Responsible for detailed design, infrastructure design and licensing needs

    • CoE Developers: Responsible for technical solution design and build, test prep and support, and in-life support

    • CoE Test Lead: Responsible for test execution and management of issue remediation

    • CoE Controller: Responsible for monitoring, scheduling and supporting BAU of automated processes

Once the CoE is staffed and set up, with the right governance model, reporting and well-defined guidelines, standards and templates, you should be on your way to an industrialized and institutionalized RPA organization.

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