What is an RPA Center of Excellence?
An RPA Center of Excellence (CoE) is a sort of an organization within an organization that is responsible for the success of the RPA initiative. It is a team of people that deploy, support, advocate and spread the word about the RPA solutions throughout the organization. Even though the payback period of the RPA investment may be very short, you would usually not want to stop generating additional value after you “got your money back”. The longer your processes are run by robots, the more added value the investment generates. That is why essentially RPA is a long-term initiative and thus its goals and targets must also be long-term.
Therefore, it is often recommended (especially for larger organizations) to have an internal team of people that would make sure the RPA journey is successful. It is usually a team of people that include people of different skills and competences, established by combining members of different parts of the existing organization.
There are multiple recommendations about the structure of the Center of Excellence, but the best practices usually include at least the following roles:
✓ RPA Sponsor. This is the person from within the business that should make sure that the RPA initiative becomes an integral part of the long-term strategy for the organization. It is also the person who spreads the word throughout the organization and thus making everyone involved.
✓ RPA Analyst. This is the person that analyses business processes, handles process selection, improvement and automation-readiness.
✓ RPA Architect. This is the person responsible for the entire infrastructure and the tools required for RPA solution deployment.
✓ RPA Developer. This is the person who develops, tests and supports RPA solutions.
✓ RPA Administrator. This is the person who administers all RPA-related resources and makes sure they are used in an efficient manner.
In some cases, it also makes sense to also have people responsible for RPA change management, support and other functions.
It is crucial that the Center of Excellence should never consist of only people “from the business”. It must be a joint effort with IT, because they usually manage the whole system infrastructure and have resources required for a successful RPA deployment.
Another important thing to note is that some roles of the CoE (or even the entire CoE) can be outsourced and handled by external consultants and service providers. This is especially true to RPA solution development, support, administration, business process analysis and other tasks.