As I have stated in the article “How to build a competency center for RPA?” it is time to continue this topic. In this (and the following) listing, I would like to get you acquainted with the areas that should be present in the CoE range of interests.

It may happen that some of the issues described below will be handled by a different department, for example, dealing with the IT infrastructure in the company. In this case, processes servicing points of contact between this department and the CoE need to be defined and implemented.

CoE versus the infrastructure

The infrastructure for a new initiative may be defined before the official appointing of CoE for Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Regardless of the order of the steps, the following requirements need to be defined: those related to the security, continuity of Center of Excellence (disaster recovery), required availability of environments (SLA), and compliance with other standards that apply in a company such as using the cloud-based or on-premise solutions.

After the purchase and the launch of the necessary infrastructure, it shifts into maintenance. CoE should adjust to the existing processes, or define them to the updates of the environments effectively, restore backups for testing environments (a very important aspect of many RPA projects). This area of responsibility also includes the maintenance and update of patterns for users’ stations (do you remember the Robot for Every Person initiative I mentioned in the article “RPA – one of the steps towards the digital transformation”?), RPA developers, and machines used as the base for unattended robots.

 

Relations with technology vendors

RPA centers, most frequently also called the centers of Intelligent Automation (IA), use platforms and frameworks delivered by external vendors. Understanding the license models and changes that are made in them (for example, changing of the UiPath license model implemented a few months ago) are very important because, with it, you can select the number and kind of licenses for the organization more efficiently, the way it will be optimal cost-wise. Besides, it is good to know and understand the roadmap of the product we use in order to be prepared for its development, functional changes, and novelties.

The following topic you need to talk about with your vendor of the RPA platform is the way of providing support services. The thing is about rare mistakes but often the hardest to resolve. The ones that result from the way the platform works. We need the expertise to solve them. We need the expertise to solve them.

Knowledge of the technology market may considerably improve the effectiveness of processes in the company. Maintaining relations with the market is not just the contacts with our selected vendor but also monitoring trends and testing new platforms/frameworks. An example of the solutions that greatly complete the robots’ operation are ML (Machine Learning) and AI (Artificial Intelligence). They enable our robots’ work on non-structured data (pictures, text).

 

Support for the users

Since we have started the topic of problem-solving and support in the third line, it is also good to mention the necessity of defining processes for the teams of the first and the second line of support or operating within our organization (or within the service provided by the external vendor). When defining them, it is good to use the business experience described in ITIL v4 (Information Technology Infrastructure Library).

Since it is much better to prevent problems rather than to solve them, we need to define processes (and to follow them strictly) connected with software testing, hence robots.

In support of the users, it is also good to create rules that help in the selection of other “candidates” for automation and submitting them to CoE.

We have reached the halfway point of the list of duties of CoE RPA. In the next article, I will talk more in-depth about the technical standards, managing competencies and the demand CoE. Till the next read!

Author

  • Adam Drzewososki
  • RPA Consultant
  • A manager with over 15 years of experience in software and technology consulting. A graduate of the Warsaw University of Technology and the Warsaw School of Economics experienced in managing big teams (over 50 FTE) in international programs and projects. He has cooperated with clients from the financial, manufacturing, and telecommunication industries in Europe and the Middle East. At Craftware, he is responsible for consulting and development of RPA services.

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