If this is the first article you found on our blog, I have a proposal. Start by reading the previous ones: How to build a competency center for RPA? and Competency center (CoE) for RPA – become familiar with its scope of responsibility. In those articles, I described the models of CoE and their relationships with other departments in the company, as well as the first three of its six areas of activity. In this entry, I continue discussing the CoE and present the other areas of activity.

Standardization of production and maintenance processes

When there are ambitious plans to rob multiple processes in the company, in different departments, this means implementing tens or hundreds of robots. So, you need to prepare a solid foundation for this. The efficient maintenance and implementation of changes in automated processes require the development of operational methods and standards. These will allow for quick and effective implementation of proposed initiatives or corrections. If the company already uses the ticket handling system (Jira, Bugzilla, ZenDesk, ServiceNow, Redmine, and so on), it will be easiest to create new ticket categories and set up appropriate recipient lists, depending on the nature of the ticket (new process for automation, change in the process, error).

The specificity of automation initiatives is related to another group of objects, namely document templates. They are used for submitting initiatives and their implementation. For example:

  • the template of the document describing the process submitted for implementation, it is the basis for subsequent valuation
  • a document describing the completed process, it facilitates making changes and corrections
  • the implementation benefit calculator, helpful in making decisions on the order of implementation
  • other documents supporting the testing and operational use of our virtual employees

RPA’s leading technology providers share their document templates or entire toolkits to support document generation, but implementation may need to be adapted to the needs of the company.

The standardization activities should also include creating a reference architecture for the robots (or using templates provided by the technology provider we chose). An example is ReFrameWork for the UiPath platform, taking into account typical issues for business process automation. These are:

  • Preparation of the robot’s working environment, launching the necessary applications and logging in to them
  • Repeating wrong operations and error handling
  • Logging in

The above standards should be complemented by a well-documented and continuously developed collection of typical components that perform recurring functions. Their examples are: logging into the application, searching for records, formatting emails sent by robots, and so forth. This will reduce the time of subsequent implementations and maintain consistency within our automation portfolio.

 

CoE and demand management for robotization

Large companies use hundreds of robots. It is easy to prove that the costs of such initiatives are counted in millions of zlotys. It is also known that sponsors of such programs expect a return on investment. In order to optimize the latter parameter, it is necessary to introduce mechanisms and tools that allow us to capture costs, and estimate results. Then, depending on what stage of robotization we are at, make the appropriate decisions about the order of implementation. We wrote about this on our blog in the article: How to select the first processes for RPA automation?

To summarize the benefits of robotization, it is also worthwhile to try to quantify and present other profits than just simple time saving.

Demand management is also managing the expectations of stakeholders. A well-developed process (from the notification of the automation need to its implementation) and monitoring the progress of manufacturing projects will allow determining the release dates of subsequent robots. While designing this process, it is worth remembering to clearly define our (CoE) requirements in relation to business. It is also important to share business data on test environments so that the development and testing of robots can run smoothly, without interruptions and downtime, and to plan the availability of people to verify the work of robots.

 

Knowledge management and communication

This is the last, but not least important element that CoE should take care of.

After gaining knowledge of service and best practices related to our supplier’s technology, it is worth introducing people outside the CoE to the most important issues.

As part of the training plans, it is also good to lay down paths for the introduction of new people into RPA technology. This will allow you to better prepare for changes in your team resulting from increased demand for CoE services (hurrah!) or from employee turnover.

To improve communication, you need to define standard reports on CoE activities and individual initiatives and then automate their creation. Although, as you know, the shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot 😉 Therefore, we wish all those involved in automation good luck and the ever-growing demand for your services!

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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