What is a CoE?
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.
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 understanding how 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. This journey is designed to help you be able to ask and answer important questions about RPA’s impact before they are even asked by another leader in your organization.
Keys to Success
- Established and understood operational objectives for the automation program
- Dynamic communication styles to meet the needs of developers and leadership
- 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.
Common questions you may be asked:
- 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 in a consistent way across different teams. By defining standards for all of these questions (plus many more), you will 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
- A bot shell that is easy to use (see Establishing Development Standards)
- Clear, established processes for how the RPA team will work with IT helpdesk, release management, cyber security, and other teams
- Published testing and development standards for new and experienced developers
Bot Builder Enablement
RPA is different than 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 should 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 available 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 enablement role of a CoE means that you help bot builders build more effectively and efficiently.
Keys to Success
- RPA evangelism to help new departments learn about how they can benefit from automation
- The heart of a teacher, as patience will be a key ingredient on the automation journey
- Entrepreneurial mindset to make onboarding easy for new developers with reusable packages and bots
CoEs play a crucial role in the expansion of RPA initiatives across an organization. Through providing thought leadership, sharing guidance and best practices, and enabling developers and business users, your CoE drives the success of a scaled RPA practice. The purpose of this entire journey is to prepare you to confidently tackle each of these core areas of a CoE’s responsibility and provide you with the leadership, guidance, and enablement that you need to successfully lead others.