center of excellence
The success of an automation implementation largely depends on the strength of the individual. For most companies that successfully implemented automation, the first implementation is driven by a passionate, driven and well embedded employee of that company. Someone who knows the business inside out, knows how to work with IT, and has a good understanding with the senior leadership.
Technology only enables you to do automate, how that technology is used, highly determines the success and scalability. This often is underestimated, The vendors to some extent teach this however talking to customers and service providers who worked with the tools and technologies longer, a lot of other best practices surface. A successful CoE is well connected with vendors, service providers and other users.
Initial use-cases are easily found, sometimes the first are too complex, not generating enough ROI to cover implementation cost or simply ‘sounded the most awesome’. Defining an automation pipeline is an art, and too often RPA is used as a target in itself instead of as a solution, mostly because ‘everyone else uses it’, or someone heard it can make a difference. A good pipeline is created by a combination of old school workshops, modern technology like process discovery and process mining and creating advocates in the business who can bring up painful processes.
Automation is a rapidly changing world, new technology is created constantly. Staying in line with the latest version of the vendor(s) you are using as well as looking out for complementary technology will save you time on services and drive ROI. Many service providers are primarily bound to one vendor, truly unbiased views are rare, do your own research, talk to other customers, hear their stories, learn from each other what works and what doesn’t.
One developer can get you started, but betting on one horse may pose a riskful situation, what happens if that person leaves. Initiatives regularly end up dead in the water because of a key resource leaving. Is outsourcing the solution then? No, on the other side of the scale there are those who are held hostage because the intellectual property of the automations is owned by their outsources, who often very cheaply automate their work, knowingly that this ends in a hostage situation. As often, the golden mean is have your own people, invest continuously in their training, and complement your team for expertise and capacity.