in Processes, RPA

What is an RPA or Automation CoE ? Why do we need it?

We have probably come across this scenario.

Bob manages Accounts Payable for his Organization. The group always had an issue with the tedious work of processing Invoices.

The IT group after all the cajoling had come up with an Oracle custom solution to reduce the work. It was an incomplete solution and also failed all the time.

Seeing all this trouble, Lin the tech-savvy intern in Bob’s group downloaded an RPA solution and demoed what can be done. Bob was excited and showed it to his boss who was even more excited.

They reach out to an RPA vendor who is happy to put in a place a quick solution within a month. Bob is a hero. No one knows about Lin though he did everything 🙂

Bob’s peers are envious. Some are scared that this automation is going to take away their jobs. They come up with an idea to use Oracle upgrade to stonewall any rollout for their group.

And the upgrade did come! One screen changed drastically – the whole automation is failing. Lin is on the phone with the vendor who is having a tough time fixing this as he had moved on to a dozen other projects that he now has.

Bob is now a Zero and so is the Organization.

In hindsight, Bob’s boss and the management thinks a CoE would have helped.

What is an RPA CoE?

An Automation/RPA Centre of Excellence (CoE) is generally a unit within the organization that provides high-quality Automation services to meet the enterprise’s strategic objectives.

The unit provides a centralized structure for all aspects of automation including resources, messaging, assets and security standards, and best practices. Quality resources and messaging would have helped Bob roll-out and manage his automation more smoothly.

Why do you need an Automation/RPA CoE?

The Centralized structure that CoE provides creates a framework for smooth roll-out of RPA and other automation technologies. It enables:

  • Robotic Strategy & leadership – ensures maximum value is delivered
  • Demand management – Process identification and prioritization
  • Change Management – Involve key stakeholders like IT, Compliance, Security, Procurement etc.
  • RPA Tool management – Efficient use of automation vendors, Tools, and Licenses
  • RPA Capability development – A pool of quality resources across all phases
  • Consistent Implementation – Standards for Design, Implementation & Support
  • Organizational IP – Reuse of robot assets and code
  • Benefits Tracking – Establish, measure and report metrics
So an RPA CoE enables your automation journey right from Strategy to reporting.
Most organizations tend to try out RPA and evaluate it’s potential before rolling out a CoE. It is wise to lay the groundwork for your CoE as you do this though. You can then grow it out as you progress on the journey.  For eg. You can define your Strategy ahead and have a few team members focussed on the key aspects like Change Management,  Tool Management and capturing Best practices during the initial implementation.
That was a quick look at What and Why of RPA CoE. We will look at the structure of typical CoEs, when and how to set it up in a future post.

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