An automation Center of Excellence (CoE) can help focus the attention, technology and processes required for successfully scaling automation initiatives.
What does a CoE consist of?
“CoEs are typically competency centers that lead the way in exploring and adopting new technology tools, techniques and methodologies,” said Prasanna Velayudham, IT transformation director of application management services at Capgemini North America.
Successful automation CoEs should have a cross-functional team comprised of change agents with key skills not only in digital technologies, but also in the areas of process, governance and organizational change to drive adoption in the enterprise.
Every organization has a different set of circumstances and they should structure the CoE in a way that works for them, said Ohad Barnoy, chief customer success officer at Kryon, an RPA vendor. At one end of the spectrum organizations adopt a centralized CoE, while at the other end, organizations adopt a more federated or distributed model.
Either way, these efforts generally start out small and then scale up as the automation CoE learns how to deliver success. A centralized model is more focused, while a decentralized approach can help to increase buy-in.
Deven Samant said some of the characteristics of CoE programs include:
- Best Practices: standardizing the approaches, processes, tools, methodologies and knowledge centers;
- Technology: identifying, innovating and accelerating reusable models;
- Experience: creating proofs of concept and marketing materials for organizational growth;
- Support: delivering the innovations and templates and providing continuous support and improvements to anticipate and prevent any challenges;
- Training: training the teams and mentoring the organization to apply the standards and processes set by the centers of excellence; and
- Governance: reviewing the deliverables and making sure they align with the organizational standards and best practices.
Manish Sharma said some of the things that have helped companies succeed in their CoE efforts include:
- Applying digital-first to the human-led operations and rigorously measuring outcomes such as productivity and utilization;
- Employing process mining and automation diagnostics tools to create a steady pipeline of transformation opportunities;
- Controlling automation scope with a smart 80:20 approach to help optimize return on investment by starting with an initial focus on productivity and expanding time to cover more complex scenarios; and
- Establishing clear accountability and benefit realization ownership, targeting top quartile performance and using benchmarks to drive process maturity.