Embracing Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is vital for businesses right now. But as with anything that you plan to invest a huge amount of time and money into, it’s important that you get it right! Especially if you want to get the most from these systems and reap the full rewards. That’s where an RPA Centre of Excellence (CoE) comes in.
The CoE is made up of a team of experts including technical solution architects, project managers and business analysts. They also work with third party experts to ensure you use the best solutions for your business. Their role is to implement the RPA as agreed by the management team involved, then to leverage best practices, monitor each function and report on the outcome of these new processes. Ultimately they are there to ensure effective deployment and governance of the new systems.
But what exactly are the benefits of putting together a CoE team - is it worth the investment? Below we’ll look at the benefits in more detail, also discussing the possible pitfalls.
1. Highlighting processes that can be improved
The first reason to consider a Centre of Excellence team is that they can start by working closely with the senior management to highlight which business processes can be made more efficient by implementing RPA. With their combined expertise, they’ll be able to identify the processes which are easiest to change, will have the best results and the biggest impact on the company and its workforce.
2. Ensuring the system is deployed correctly
Having a CoE to ensure that the system is deployed correctly can really help to ease the pressure. While you may be working with a third party to create these systems, you’ll need a dedicated in-house team to make sure that everything goes smoothly. They’ll also be more equipped to identify any problems that could arise early on, and immediately begin addressing them.
3. Providing training
The team will be well adept in how these new processes work and how existing staff can utilize them. For this reason it can be helpful for the CoE team to offer training to those who will be using these systems. They’ll also be able to deliver comprehensive training to the management team to fully explain how the systems work, but also what they can and should expect from these new processes.
4. For governance and adjustment
From the pilot program to ongoing systems, your CoE are there to govern your RPA. This means reporting back on results, challenges, adjustments that can be made and additional business processes that could be made better with these technologies. It also means they’re there to tackle any issues as they arise, to ensure minimum disruption to the business and its workforce.
5. Staying on top of technical advances
As with all technology, new systems and advancements are always being made. It is the job of your CoE to stay on top of the latest systems and trends, so they're able to update your processes whenever necessary. During the initial deployment stage, systems should be put in place to keep your technology fluid, flexible and ready to integrate with new technologies. Another part of the job is to make sure your processes aren't unnecessarily complicated - the simpler the better!
6. Encouraging innovation
With the CoE team in charge of governing these new systems, the rest of the team are freed up to get on with their daily tasks. This includes being creative and coming up with new and innovative ideas. Something which may not have been possible in the past, with a great chunk of their day taken up with monotonous tasks (now being performed by the new systems).
7. Being firm on security and regulations
CoE teams are also there to make sure your processes are meeting all the correct legislation. Take, for example, the recent updates in GDPR. Your team are there to take responsibility of the data, ensuring it is kept safe and secure, and meets all government regulations.
8. Scaling up where necessary
In peak times, or even as your business grows, you may want to scale up your processes. Having a CoE team in place means that they’re able to do this. Whether this involves building new systems or having to reach out to new suppliers, you have a dedicated team in place to make sure this happens. Plus, as they monitor the data and efficiency of your programs, they may recognize the need to scale up and can begin putting the wheels in motion.
The issues with a Centre of Excellence team
There is however one issue with a CoE team: cookie-cutter approaches don't always work. Following in the footsteps of others may not work for your business and you could end up with a CoE team that’s actually hindering your processes, not helping them. So be sure to spend time thinking about what is best for your business before investing heavily in a new team.
What’s more, not all businesses will be able to invest in a dedicated CoE team right now, especially if you're a smaller startup. If this is the case, it’s important that you put a well thought out digital process in place to monitor and support the program. This may mean reaching out for third party help every now and then, and selecting a dedicated employee to be in charge of the automation processes in the meantime, even if they occasionally need outside advice.