Automation Pathfinder Program

Blueprint: Achieve Hyperscale by Democratizing your Automation Program

  • 28 September 2022
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Blueprint: Achieve Hyperscale by Democratizing your Automation Program
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AKA: Can just anyone really do this?


Fact: Citizen Development is hot right now. It’s a buzzword, something stakeholders and sponsors are demanding we make happen and even something many of us may feel we’re behind on. After all, you have your automation program going strong, you’ve had some wins, you’re expanding across the business, it’s driving results…but you haven’t launched a Citizen Development program yet. Are you missing the boat?


What is Democratization?


Simply put, success at scale is about empowering more people through automation. And that’s NOT just Citizen Development. Democratization is about delivering opportunities around and the benefits of automation to a diverse group of employees at a variety of levels. It’s one of the effective ways to involve teams and talent in a system and a program and, ultimately, make automation a part of your culture that can grow as your organization does.


Consider Your Goals


What are you trying to get out of opening up automation to the larger organization? We’ve asked this question of so many customers charged with launching a Citizen Developer campaign. When we dug into what they were really trying to achieve—answers were surprising. When asked about Citizen Development goals we’ve heard a lot of them (including “I’m just trying to do what my boss wants me to.” Hey, we’ve all been there.). But one of the most common goals we hear is: “I want to go faster with Automation. I want to scale. I need Citizen Development to help me get there.“ Speed and scale are critical goals. After all, you’ve put time, money and resources into transforming your business—you want to expand that impact. But Citizen Development is just one route to scale.


The Community Says: Use the “Three Cs” Strategy


You can make automation scale a collaborative effort without necessarily launching a full scale investment in Citizen Development. Think of it in terms of sending a rocket into space. Not every astronaut makes it to space. In fact, the ones who DO are really a small part of a much bigger team. It takes SO many people to enable mission success. Some scientists are needed on the ground. There are also doctors, mission control specialists, engineers and other people who don’t sit in the rocket, as well as some astronauts who simply aren’t selected for the trip. Just as these much-needed roles can play a part in space exploration (while staying put on the ground), these “3 Cs” in your organization’s orbit can spread automation awareness.

Automation Consumers:
  • These are any employee enabled by a digital worker to assist with day-to-day tasks.
  • Example: The Automation Anywhere IT Help Desk team regularly uses automations to on-board/off-board employees, keep track of inventory across systems, etc.
  • Democratization action: Because they didn’t build the automation, these Consumers may not even be aware what they’re benefitting from. Consumers are a great audience for a “Did you know?” style communication to turn them into Automation Champions across the enterprise.
Automation Contributors:
  • These are champions of automation within their functional areas. They identify, contribute to and report on automation opportunities
  • Example: the Finance organization’s Business Analyst at a major medical device company drives the automation use case pipeline for her line of business. She works with the CFO’s leadership team to prioritize their needs and shares them with the Automation lead in the Global Services’s COE.
  • Democratization action: Automation Contributors are often the only people in their divisions or business units who are familiar with automation and its role in business transformation. Two of the most valuable things you can do to support the growth of your contributors are below. Both of these tactics work together to improve the quality and value of the automation use cases contributors identify to scale your program, as well as groom future automation contributors:
    • Connect them with other contributors so they can exchange best practices, learn from each other and build a sense of identity and community.
    • Recognize and reward your contributors for what they do to further the company’s automation transformation goals. Do it publicly at a company event, create an “Automation Hero” email series or nominate the contributor for an award as part of an existing recognition program.
Automation Creators:
  • These are your hands-on developers who build automations as an individual contributor, co-developer, and/or citizen developer
  • Example: A technically-savvy Operations Analyst at a large financial institution grew tired of the constant copying and pasting from one workflow app to another. They were looking for a workaround to this cumbersome process, which was required for processing customer transactions. After receiving some training and guidance from her CoE, she built an automation to help give her team a lift, leaving them with only exception transactions to review manually.
  • Democratization action: Automation Creators, just like their contributor cousins, need community and recognition to be successful. Consider launching the following to reward them:
    • An internal community of practice where it’s encouraged to questions, get help, and connect with others who are building automations to support their functional areas.
    • Empower them to take on new challenges - consider which custom packages or pre-built automations can make it easier for these creators to consume and leverage your organizations internal apps and services.
  • Find ways to celebrate these creators for stepping up to learn a new skill and delivering value for their business unit.


Back to Our Astronaut Analogy


Technically, an Astronaut is defined as someone who flies 76+ miles above earth (that’s where NASA defines “space”), which means astronauts of failed missions aren’t astronauts at all! Point being, if NASA can make room for this many “non-astronauts” to be involved in getting to space, can’t we open up our own efforts with the Three Cs? Maybe the analogy is a bit of a stretch but it’s a great way of saying that the answer to scale is: to create a seat at the automation table for everyone.




Congratulations! You’ve learned a LOT about the Democratization of Automation and are ready for more. Check out:

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