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Best Practices: The Role Your Center of Excellence (CoE) Plays in Your Automation Strategy

3 min read
Apr 24, 2023 8:30:00 AM

Implementing an automation Center of Excellence (CoE) to manage automation design, delivery, and maintenance has long been considered a best practice. Yet many organizations with sophisticated and mature RPA (robotic process automation) estates still haven’t adopted a dedicated, strategic team to manage their automation operations.  

The role an RPA Center of Excellence plays in a successful automation strategy is a vital one. Here’s why. 

What is an Automation or RPA Center of Excellence (CoE)? 

On the off-chance this is your first encounter with the idea of an automation center of excellence, here’s what it is in a nutshell: An automation CoE is a cross-functional team that identifies, designs, develops, and deploys automated processes as part of an organization’s automation initiative.  

They also maintain and monitor those automations to ensure they’re delivering the business value they were meant to. They standardize, govern, and maintain automation best practices to ensure high quality and efficiency in automation delivery. 

At the outset of automation adoption, an RPA CoE is highly recommended, however many times it’s overlooked in the interest of ramping up RPA adoption quickly. A CoE becomes even more necessary as an organization tries to scale automation across an organization. An automation Center of Excellence serves to apply automation more broadly across a company because of consolidated knowledge and a standard foundation of best practices. 

Improved Automation Governance 

One of the biggest responsibilities an automation Center of Excellence is charged with is establishing a sound governance model. Automation governance ensures that there are the right security, data integrity, and auditing protocols in place.  

Governance is paramount when an organization reaches a point in their automation maturity where they’re ready for scale. There are standard practices in place when identifying, building, and deploying automations in different areas of the business by multiple members of a sophisticated RPA CoE.  

Following a standard set of best practices when it comes to automation design and security reduces risk downstream and minimizes maintenance issues that may arise causing outages and lost business value to rectify those issues.  

When building out a governance model, an automation CoE ensures that only the right people have access to the applications and data, avoiding security vulnerabilities that could negatively impact the business.  

Increased Efficiency  

A major benefit of an automation Center of Excellence as an organization is scaling their RPA implementation is that it radically increases both the efficiency and the quality of the automation delivery process. 

RPA CoEs develop processes, templates, and repeatable patterns for all facets of automation ranging from RPA candidate identification to validation, prioritization, development, and deployment. They standardize automation operations so that they’re executed with consistency and high quality, avoiding duplicated work and rework.  

 One of the main reasons many RPA CoEs were established was to rid siloed automation practices in organizations where two different business units or departments were running automations independently. They missed the opportunity to share knowledge, best practices, standards, and essentially duplicated the work that one central team could have accomplished with less effort and better quality.  

 Learn More: How an RPA CoE Eliminates Islands of Automation 

Tracking and Optimization 

Every business initiative requires defined KPIs (key performance indicators) and metrics to ascertain its success. Automation is no different.  

RPA CoEs establish the success metrics and track the automated processes in production to ensure they’re delivering the business value they were intended to. As an organization scales their automation practice, the number of automated processes they have will grow as well. Without a dedicated team to define strategic success indicators, return on investment, and optimize the processes that could be performing better, things can quickly fall in the cracks.  

 For example, one customer Blueprint migrated to Microsoft Power Automate and performed an automation assessment for – before the migration work started – uncovered 600 redundant automated processes. Those automations were retired, saving the customer $5 million dollars. The fact they were identified is great, but the thought of how long they were actively draining resources while delivering insufficient business value is the scary part.  

Read the full case study here 

An automation Center of Excellence is always a good idea at any point in an organization’s automation journey, but it becomes crucial when the objective is scale. RPA CoEs ensure robust governance, standardization, efficiency, and accountability to keep your automation estate resilient and delivering optimal business value.  

For information on how you might start building out your Center of Excellence, see our blog article: How to Set up Your CoE.