Discover how to future proof your Intelligent Automation Centre of Expertise | 31 Experts Guide to Happy Ever After – Part 4

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Discover how to future proof your Intelligent Automation Centre of Expertise | 31 Experts Guide to Happy Ever After – Part 4

Part 1 of our expert series looked ‘What does a Centre of Excellence do?’ Part 2 looked at the pros and cons of alternate CoE modelsPart 3 asked and answered ‘What business conditions must exist for a CoE to be successful?‘ Todays articles asks ‘Who works in a COE and what are their responsibilities?’ Let’s begin.

Who works in a COE and what are their responsibilities?

Whilst much is spoken about regarding low-code or no-code, graduates and ‘digital ninjas’ and citizen developers; like any specialist unit this team needs to be carefully selected, developed, mentored and lead. The right people need hired into the COE none more so that the person who will lead it.

The CoE has a team contains a multitude of roles including;

  • CoE Lead – This is a senior executive, that is accountable for the CoE activities, performance reporting, and operational leads. This person is responsible for the strategy and execution. 
  • IA | RPA Sponsor – You will need to hire a robotic process automation sponsor, who will oversee ensuring that the CoE is established as a priority enterprise-wide. This sponsor is accountable for the overall robotics strategy.

“Each role in the CoE doesn’t necessarily need to be a dedicated person, and in some cases can be shared across existing team members who contribute towards the CoE. This will bring existing organisational knowledge as well as resilience to the team. It is essential though that the CoE has a core of experienced members and that all members understand the organisational objectives and capability of the IA/RPA initiative.”

Mark Barrett, Founder and Lead Automation Consultant

  • IA | RPA Project Manager – Ensures that the robotics projects are delivered in accordance with the CoE strategy, thus enabling successful implementation, benefits to be reaped on time and within the designated budget.
  • IA | RPA Change Manager – create a stakeholder map, employee engagement change, rewards and communications plan, aligned to project deliverables, to encourage adoption of automation within the company. Crowd Source ideas for automation. 
  • IA | RPA Champions | Evangelists – These team members will drive the adoption process of automation throughout the organization.

“Understanding and communication across the organisation is a foundational component in success and scale for automation. Education on what is happening, why it’s happening, and giving potential stakeholders the opportunity to contribute, is proven to help drive the successful adoption of automation. Good champions come from within the business and are often the early beneficiaries. They are often as good at listening as they are enthusiastic about sharing their story. This role can be amplified using internal tools such as videos and success stories that are shared in regular organisational communications. In the early stages of the initiative, it helps to have someone who is responsible for creating, sharing and listening. Then, as the initiative grows, look for champions from within the organisation who can contribute and share their success stories.”

Mark Barrett, Founder and Lead Automation Consultant

  • IA | RPA and CoE Business Analysts – These analysts are subject matter experts that will create the process definitions and maps used for automation. CoE business analysts will also oversee identifying opportunities, providing a detailed analysis of the potential benefits and required resources.
  • IA | RPA Solution Architect – Oversee the infrastructure of the IA | RPA from beginning to end. They assist in both the development and implementation stages of the CoE setup. The Solution Architect oversees the detailed design and licensing needs of the automation CoE.

“The same way you cannot build an office without an Architect, you cannot build an entire robotics ecosystem without a Solution Designer watching over it.”

Balint Laszlo Papp, Automation and Business Analyst Expert.

  • CoE Developers – Developers are responsible for the technical design, development, and testing of the CoE automation workflows. They also provide support during the organization-wide implementation of the CoE setup.
  •  i’ve-now-met-150-rpa-developers-20-signs-truly exceptional developer (Author)
  • Infrastructure Engineers – Infrastructure Engineers provide support for teams involved in the deployment and future operations of the automation CoE. They mainly give infrastructure support for troubleshooting and server installations.
  • Controller & Supervisor – The controller oversees monitoring, scheduling, and supporting the implementation of the CoE while making sure that business goes on as usual.
  • Service and Support – This team is the first line of support in case of any queries or issues during CoE implementation.
  • Business Analysts to engage process and application owners, document and record processes into process design documentation to hand to the developers. As we all Process Instructions Documents to help business users understand and work with their digital colleagues.
  • CoE Test Lead: Responsible for test execution and management of issue remediation

“Qualified practitioners – from Business Analysts to Developers and Infrastructure Engineers – play a key role in enhancing the knowledge and credibility of an organisation’s Centre of Excellence. However, building the right capability requires more than qualifications alone. Exceptional practitioners also bring extensive real world experience and a true innate passion which drives them day in, day out to improve. Additionally, they realise, even the more technically inclined, that the ultimate purpose is to execute their role in a way that helps realise value for the organisation, its customers and society as a whole.”

Lewis Walker, Intelligent Automation Architect

An organisation’s needs will change as it grows, and a CoE should be equipped to evolve with those changes.

“Go beyond software. Do not make an RPA CoE or a ML CoE. Make a transformational hub that sells solutions to problems. Basically, no one is interested in a RPA workshop – but a problems and challenges workshop usually goes down well. ´

For this reason, first make sure to anchor your setup closely to your Enterprise Architect – know the tools already in your business and then, secondly, stay agnostic and open minded and work closely with information security to be allowed a sandbox approach to new technologies. This way you can deliver business remedies instead of purpose driven software. But is has to fit the culture of your IT landscape for you to be allowed to roam the lands with your new 16 legged horse.

Finally, going beyond software also requires you to ask software vendors for non-commitment scalable offers. Be gone with the large server deployments of orchestrators and control rooms and min. purchase of enough volume to digitalize an Ottoman Empire. Tell them frankly what your proposition is, and that you want low cost quick deployment up front to grow into the technology. If not, you will buy big on software and then, to justify that, buy big on people to manage the software and before you know it, you’ll be building houses with nothing but hammers – because you have now bought a large volume of hammers and carpenters to go with it.”

Lasse Rindom, Chief Digital Officer

Who do you think should work in a COE and what would be their responsibilities?

If you like this article then you may find these articles of use too.

  1. How to build a business case for Intelligent Automation and Robotic Process Automation
  2. If your RPA program is not making money then it has failed.
  3. i’ve-now-met-150-rpa-developers-20-signs-truly exceptional developer (Author)
  4. 30 ways to build a pipeline of processes suitable for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Intelligent Automation (IA)
  5. 8 questions to ask to ensure you select the ‘right’ processes to automate using RPA | IA.
  6. 14 rules for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Intelligent Automation (AI) success
  7. The A-Z of Robotic Process Automation, Intelligent Automation and Digital Transformation
  8. The biggest lie told to RPA customers – 50 robots equals success
  9. 40 essential selection criteria to choose an RPA platform

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Note: The views expressed above are our views and not those of my employer or the employers of the contributing experts.

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