Automation Center of Excellence – Why and How?

πŸ“… 29 January 2022

The task of managing automation initiatives can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. With an automation center of excellence in place, you’ll find that your team is more agile and responsive than ever before.

The foundation

The foundation of the Center for Excellence is the automation governance model, which provides a framework for decision-making, enables standardization and consistency of approach, and facilitates communication across stakeholders.

The COE is in charge of setting the organization’s overall strategy and direction for automation. This entails formulating a comprehensive architecture that meets the company’s needs while also establishing procedures and standards to ensure that automation is implemented correctly and consistently. The COE also oversees the operations of the automation center, which includes organizing resources (tools, people, processes).

One of the most critical functions of the COE is to act as a change agent, helping to drive transformation across the organization. The COE can be a centralized resource for best practices, knowledge sharing, and continuous improvement. The COE should aim to develop an environment where other parts of the business embrace automation.

The COE may serve as a source of best practices, knowledge sharing, and continuous improvement. The environment should be one in which automation is accepted across other parts of the business. The more successful you are at changing your organization’s policies, the better able you will be to optimize process performance while minimizing costs associated with delivering outcomes across all automation projects.

The Center of Excellence functions model used by IBM includes some intriguing possibilities.

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Source: IBM.com

How can you get the ball rolling on establishing a Center of Excellence for business automation?

  • Identify the business units that can benefit from automation.
  • Determine what process or department would be a good candidate for automation and those processes that are not yet automated and need to take steps towards being automated to stay relevant.
  • Evaluate the skills required to design, build, operate and monitor automation initiatives.
  • Appoint an executive sponsor who will be responsible for ensuring that the center of excellence is delivering value to the business.
  • Define and agree on a governance model that will include roles and responsibilities and decision rights.
  • Assess technology and tools needed to support the CoE.
  • Build a team of experts with the skills required to operate and manage an automation center of excellence.

The following are some of the common challenges faced by companies implementing automation centers of excellence:

  • Lack of governance framework and standards across different teams and technologies. This can lead to inconsistency in how automation is used and managed, impacting performance and reliability.
  • Inability to quickly adapt to changes in business needs or technology updates. An automation center of excellence should be able to quickly adapt to changes to ensure that the company can take advantage of new opportunities or respond to threats.
  • Lack of visibility and control across different automation initiatives. This can lead to duplication of effort, inconsistency in performance, and a lack of ability to track progress against goals.
  • Challenges with integrating automation into the existing IT landscape. Automation requires a substantial investment in building and deploying skills, tools, processes, and governance across the organization – something that many companies struggle to do.
  • Inability to meet business demands for increased scale or velocity of deployments without sacrificing reliability.
  • Lack of collaboration between different teams responsible for managing specific parts of the business process. This can lead to teams working in silos, duplicating efforts, and wasting resources.
  • Lack of integration with existing tools used by development or IT operations teams, such as source code management systems, issue trackers, CI servers, etc. An automation center of excellence should be able to integrate seamlessly into these tools to collect and analyze data about the automation initiatives continuously.
  • Lack of visibility into performance and potential issues with deployed processes or services, such as monitoring metrics or responsiveness of APIs. An automation center should provide insight into how well processes perform so that any problems – especially those resulting from misconfigurations – can be detected.

The benefits of implementing a center for excellence at your company.

When it comes to COEs, the most crucial problem is ensuring that the efforts of professionals and experts don’t go to waste. A COE establishes a framework for scaling activities by developing a set of standardized procedures that teams throughout the company can use for particular projects.

The CoE also serves as a new baseline for company robotization procedures, making it more straightforward for these standardized processes to be adopted throughout the organization. That allows the firm to scale and continue implementing automation processes throughout the structure.

The following are some of the advantages a CoE may provide to a company:

  • Using resources more efficiently by eliminating tendons tasks.
  • As scaled automation improves efficiency, it delivers better results by delivering high-quality goods and services to customers.
  • By eliminating inefficient practices and cutting the time it takes to teach new skills and technologies, you will reduce operational costs.
  • Self-driving improvements and automation decrease time to market.
  • CoE professionals can assist employees to adapt in order to enhance how they work and share successful methods. They may also help individuals and teams learn by capturing viable processes, recording training sessions, assisting individual and team learning, and supporting individual development.

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