Helping A Manufacturing Client Establish a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) ‘Centre of Excellence’ to Start Their Automation Journey

Tuesday 26 March, 2019

Client Challenge

The client, a global manufacturing company, were looking to embark on their automation journey. The aim was to test and adopt Robotic Process Automation (RPA) as a means of driving process efficiencies, in a way that was scalable across the client’s multiple business units. To avoid the risks of a ‘big-bang’ approach, the client wanted to set up a ‘RPA Centre of Excellence’ with the aim of working closely with vertical businesses to develop prototype solutions for specific use-cases. However, this was proving to be a challenge for two primary reasons. Firstly, the client did not have the expertise in-house around how a ‘Centre of Excellence’ model would deliver the building blocks of a robust automation journey with clear delineation of responsibilities with the rest of the organisation. Secondly, there was confusion (and politics) around which processes were best candidates for automation, and equally which technology stack/s and vendors were suitable to support implementation of software robots. The ready-made point solutions offered by existing vendors and system integrators within the client’s IT organisation added to the noise and lack of clarity. The client wanted to move fast, but also wanted to make sure the approach was streamlined, well-understood and coherent such that it could be scaled at pace and replicated across business areas.

Approach

Coeus engaged with the client and worked closely with the IT leadership team and automation SMEs, providing mentorship and management support to help set-up the RPA CoE and lay down the principles of its future operations. Drawing upon our deep technology and architecture experience, Coeus supported the client in setting up the key foundational elements necessary for cost-effective RPA adoption and scalable benefit realisation. Through a series of exploratory workshops, primary and secondary research specific to the client’s business and industry, Coeus helped the client answer the following key questions.

-What should the key technology and business engagement responsibilities of the RPA CoE look like?
Which processes should we choose to automate?
-Which RPA platform/platforms should we choose given our long-term automation strategy?
-How do we measure our success with RPA automation?

Coeus’ independent ethos meant our advice was impartial and unclouded by the need to represent specific RPA vendors or service providers. This allowed us to cut through the hyperbole and set realistic expectations around the benefit realisation profile that is typical of well-embedded RPA i.e. significant benefits after an initial period of quiescence. More importantly we were able to drive home the point that RPA is just the first milestone in the long journey towards intelligent automation.

Results Through Coeus’ support and advice, the client was able to achieve the following outcomes by the end of the engagement.

The Automation CoE operating model was established along with a clear definition of technology-specific and business engagement responsibilities. A set of strategy recommendations were delivered to the client, based on an assessment of current automation maturity. This was done to enable a more holistic approach to developing a scalable automation capability and implementation roadmap.

A BU agnostic assessment framework was developed to enable selection of process candidates most suitable for automation using RPA. The framework can be applied to validate the suitability of a process for RPA irrespective of complexity or business context.

A high-level assessment of RPA platforms was carried out to arrive at tooling options for proofs of concept as well as options for more industrialised use-cases aligned with the client’s data and security policies.A balanced scorecard was developed to measure RPA implementation success.

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