Learning Journey

What is a CoE?

  • 31 March 2021
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Objective

 

Define what a Center of Excellence (CoE) is and identify its core objectives. When large supply ships navigate ice-filled waters, they often follow smaller ships called icebreakers, which are designed to break up ice so that the larger, less nimble supply ship can follow safely. How’s that for an icebreaker to start this conversation? Terrible puns aside, the role of a Center of Excellence (CoE) is similar to that of the icebreaker ship. Let’s talk about the three core competencies of a CoE to successfully champion and scale Robotic Process Automation: Thought Leadership, Execution Guidance, and Bot Builder Enablement.

 

Thought Leadership

 

A successful CoE provides thought leadership about RPA to executives, business unit leaders, and other teams that the CoE relies on. As you establish RPA team processes, you will need to work with other operational groups, such as the IT helpdesk and release management teams, who will need help learning to support new requests from your team. Executives and other leaders will also rely on the CoE to understand how their investment in RPA is going and what their ROI is. It’s important to respond confidently to such requests. We designed this journey to help you ask and answer important questions about RPA’s impact before another leader in your organization even asked them.

 

Keys to Success

  • Establish and understand operational objectives for the automation program.

  • Learn dynamic communication styles to meet the needs of developers and leadership.

  • Build strong relationships with other change agents internally.

 

RPA Execution Guidance

 

The CoE needs to provide clear guidance to business and IT groups engaged with RPA. Your organization may ask you:

 

  • What are the QA or testing best practices that each bot must follow before going live?

  • What’s needed in the way of documentation?

  • When can I release to production?

  • How much money will a bot that does xyz save the organization?

  • How do I request a virtual machine?

 

A key role of the CoE is to help answer all of these questions consistently across different teams. By defining standards for these questions (plus many more), you position the RPA practice to scale efficiently and effectively. We’ll help you address many of these questions later in this training.

 

Keys to Success

  • Find a bot shell that is easy to use (see Establishing Development Standards).

  • Establish clear, standardized processes for how the RPA team will work with IT helpdesk, release management, cyber security, and other teams.

  • Publish testing and development standards for new and experienced developers.

 

Bot Builder Enablement

 

RPA is different from almost any other type of enterprise software. Typically, the IT team is the only one to use a new technology. RPA is the opposite of that. Everyone, from experienced software developers to business users, can be empowered to automate manual tasks using RPA. The CoE needs to enable users to build, run, schedule, and share bots and components. Part of this is being a teacher, jumping on a screen share to help a new RPA developer figure out a problem. Sometimes, it’s pointing people to Automation Anywhere University courses, YouTube videos, or Developer Portal tutorials. Other times, it’s sitting with experienced developers to brainstorm how to extract data from a specific application. Whatever the task, the role of a CoE is to enable bot builders to build more effectively and efficiently.

 

Keys to Success
 

  • Use RPA evangelism to help new departments learn about how they can benefit from automation.

  • Have the heart of a teacher. Patience will be a key ingredient in the automation journey.

  • Have an entrepreneurial mindset to make onboarding easy for new developers with reusable packages and bots.

 

Summary

 

CoEs play a crucial role in the expansion of RPA initiatives across an organization. By providing thought leadership, sharing guidance and best practices, and enabling developers and business users, your CoE drives the success of a scaled RPA practice. This entire journey prepares you to tackle each of these core areas of a CoE’s responsibility confidently and provides you with the leadership, guidance, and enablement that you need to lead others successfully.

 

Resources

 

Videos

RPA in the Delta: PeopleShores CoE
Digi’s Amazing RPA Journey | Telecom Automation Case Study
Tips for Scaling Automation: What is a CoE?

 

Blog Posts

RPA CoE Gives Mississippi Delta Residents New Skill and Hope

 


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