Today, for an ever-growing variety of companies, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a major investment that can offer enormous benefits. But just how much can it do for your business?
That depends both on the quality of the software robots you buy and on how well you integrate those robots into your business operations. That’s why any company that uses RPA should build its own center of excellence (CoE) – a comprehensive, in-house resource incorporating a business’s team members who are dedicated to facilitating the success of its RPA solution.
By developing a well-staffed and well-trained center of excellence within your company, you can make sure the relevant members of your team have the knowledge they need to “train” your robots, manage their tasks, and work effectively alongside them – helping your company get the most benefit out of RPA.
With the right team, your CoE should help you run your own RPA processes, rather than relying on third-party service providers. It should also streamline your use of RPA by having one main group of employees facilitate and support automation for all your company’s departments, while helping their colleagues in those departments discover ways they could benefit from RPA. And perhaps most importantly, having a CoE makes RPA easily scalable, ensuring there are in-house employees prepared to train and assist their coworkers as your company expands its use of automation.
Although some companies choose to wait until after completing an RPA pilot before building a full-fledged center of excellence, it is important to at least lay the groundwork for your CoE from the very beginning. Even if you do opt to start small, you should always have an RPA team large enough to bring together technical and organizational skills. You can begin with as few as two employees working on RPA, and then grow this team into a complete CoE as your company’s use of automation increases.
It is also important for members of your CoE team (or your RPA team, if you don’t yet have a full CoE) to be dedicated full-time to working with automation – a key factor in making RPA easily scalable within your company.
Being focused exclusively on RPA offers your CoE team a few key benefits:
- It maximizes the effectiveness of their training by allowing them to constantly use their new skills, without being distracted by non-RPA tasks.
- It gives them a stronger sense of ownership over your company’s overall use of RPA – a powerful motivating factor.
- It helps them concentrate on continuing to expand and improve the skill-set that they use in their role within your CoE.
Why are companies without fully dedicated RPA teams less dynamic?
Some business initially take a short-term view of RPA, acquiring their first software robots without committing any employees to working full-time with them. These companies may make sure that a few employees learn how to record automated processes and use their RPA software at a basic level, but RPA is just one part of these employees’ jobs. Once the new robots are up and running, the workers who are familiar with RPA return to focusing on their other projects.
Even with this approach, a business could enjoy the benefits of automation – including increased efficiency, prevention of human error, and decreased costs.
But what happens when a company like this (almost inevitably) wants to make some sort of change related to RPA – for example, adding more robots or updating the processes that the robots perform? By this point, they may find that their RPA-trained employees have forgotten the parts of their training that they haven’t had to practice (or, worse yet, have left the company). Then, the business may need to invest additional time and resources in training before they can implement the RPA changes they want to make.
In contrast, a company with a strong, well-staffed CoE can take RPA changes in stride.
By making sure their RPA-trained employees are dedicated full-time to working with the company’s software robots, these companies constantly give those employees chances to practice their training and continue expanding their expertise.
The result? Not only do these workers improve their job performance as they get more skilled at working with RPA, but they are well prepared to train their fellow employees. Then, whenever the company wants to automate another process, acquire a new robot, make changes to an existing process, or add more team members to its center of excellence, the CoE is well prepared to adapt to this change and – if necessary – to educate their colleagues. This way, the company’s CoE enables it to handle most of the technical and organizational aspects of automation in-house.
While continuous improvements in RPA, artificial intelligence, and other computer technologies offer tremendous benefits to a wide variety of businesses, they can also create hurdles. Specifically, when it comes to RPA, two of today’s most pressing challenges are:
- As software robots become capable of performing more complex tasks, how can a company make sure its robots are being correctly “trained” to handle these processes?
- As robots increasingly mimic full-time employees, how can a company prepare its human team members to delegate, prioritize, and schedule a robot’s tasks?
Through an effective center of excellence, your business can prepare its employees to handle both of these challenges smoothly – while optimizing your flexibility, efficiency, and scalability in working with RPA.
Keep in mind: Using your robots in the best way for your business is just as important as having the right robots, and your center of excellence should be the in-house mechanism that optimizes your company’s use of automation.
To get all the information you need to start planning your way to a top-notch CoE, download our free eBook, Building an RPA Center of Excellence: How to Develop an In-House Team to Optimize Your Automated Workforce. Get it today and start laying the groundwork for your company’s future RPA success!