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Today we will look at a typical roadmap for a Digital Automation Center of Excellence (CoE).

It has been found that CoE is the preferred mechanism for designing, developing, maintaining, and operating Digital Automation initiatives. So, if you like to lead a successful Automation program, you likely want to establish and operate a CoE to improve your odds of success.

Unfortunately, about half the Digital Automation programs fail as they do not follow the best practices. Many just jump in with a few initial use cases and do not go past it.

So, let’s see how you can establish a CoE right from the Proof of value (POV) stage and how you can grow it as your Automation program scales.

Let's dive in! Here are four steps to establishing and growing a Digital Automation CoE:

0. Map the current state

First, take stock of your current Tools, and Skills to accelerate the setup of your CoE:

  1. Identify and consolidate your Automation, and AI Tools
  2. Check existing expertise to nurture and grow
  3. Capture all current learnings with expert and user interviews

Once you have taken stock, let's build the initial CoE.

1. Build initial CoE

Next, we will build an initial CoE to explore, gain experience, and exhibit the CoE to the organization. In this phase, we will bring together the Tools and Expertise along with the initial collaboration and governance.

  1. Governance & Funding: Establish initial policies and create a Governance framework. Also, look to establish a budget for the CoE including a way to apportion and charge the costs to respective budget heads.
  2. Infrastructure & Tools: Work with your IT teams to establish the Infrastructure for the Automation CoE. Also, evaluate, shortlist and prioritize the Tools for the CoE. 
  3. Team & Skills: Build our core CoE team with a mix of business process and Technical skills. Build collaboration structures with different stakeholders including IT, Security, Compliance, HR, and external partners. Also, identify Automation champions to inspire, and start building an Automation mindset.
  4. Proof of Value: Select one to two processes and build your first automation(s). Test the infrastructure and tools, Governance, and best practices. Capture the lessons learned for the next step.

2. Run Initial CoE

Now that you have seen and demonstrated initial success, it is time to educate, create demand and expand the scope of implementation in the organization.

  1. Market and drive change: Communicate the ROI and benefits from the POV to inspire and boost demand. Look to drive adoption through training and user enablement sessions.
  2. Enhance Infrastructure, Tools & Skills: As you start to take on more demand, it is time to invest in new infrastructure, skills, and project management. Look to also try out new approaches to automation with a more advanced set of tools and technologies.
  3. Pipeline Management: Establish an automation pipeline where potential automation(s) can be identified, prioritized, and tracked through discovery, and approval phases to be ultimately implemented and maintained.
  4. Manage the automation: Establish processes, tools, and a team to manage the automation(s) developed. Work with IT to monitor, optimize and upgrade the infrastructure and tools as needed.

3. Scale CoE

Finally, it is time to assess, enhance, empower and expand the CoE. Much of the benefits come from scaling up and so is a key step in the journey.

  1. Assess: Assess your Infrastructure, and automation controls and build the capacity to scale. Boost your Infrastructure and tools as needed for you to scale. Also, keep up with the regulations, and risk policies.
  2. Prepare: Develop structured frameworks that enable business units to use Digital Automation on their own with centralized governance and support from the CoE. Look to empower your community with regular training, events, and best practices.
  3. Scale up: Look to deploy automation across departments, functions, and geographies. Monitor your automation(s), security, and resilience as you scale up and out. Also, keep reviewing your tool licenses and look to negotiate or move to different licensing models.

That was a summary of the typical CoE roadmap you can take. You can use this one from Everest or any such roadmap as a jumping point to developing a version that works for you.

This was part of the discussion in our Digital Automation Club. The Club is helping Automation leaders explore and accelerate what’s next. Look forward to having you join us!


  1. Map the current state: Take stock of your current Tools, and Skills to accelerate CoE setup.

  2. Build initial CoE: Explore, gain experience, and exhibit the CoE to the organization.

  3. Run Initial CoE: Educate, create demand, and expand the scope of implementation.

  4. Scale CoE: Finally, it is time to assess, enhance, empower and expand the CoE.

That's all for now. See you again soon.

Kind Regards, Nandan

P.S. We are also offering Club scholarships (discounts) if you need them.

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