Home RPA Centers of Excellence: Are They Needed? If Yes, Should They Be In-house or External?

RPA Centers of Excellence: Are They Needed? If Yes, Should They Be In-house or External?

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What is an RPA Center of Excellence? A CoE is a way to embed and implement RPA deeply and effectively into the organization. It enables organizations to gather, assess, and manage the necessary knowledge and capabilities needed to effectively implement RPA. Here are a few points of view from some experts on whether CoE is really needed and if yes, they should be in-house or external.

“Let’s make it short. When we are talking about a Center of Excellence, we should not think about a fixed structure. It’s an evolution. And in the very beginning of that evolution, it is very reasonable to involve some external vendors who bring their expertise to help set it up fast and to a minimum required level. But then, ideally, I think that each organization should try to make it in-house, have an in-house center of excellence. I like the idea of a hybrid Center of Excellence. When you have some people in the center of excellence in-house and some are offshore developers, that should work and that is perfectly fine. But to my understanding, somebody should always be in-house.”

Sergey Zlobich, Project Manager, IBA Group

“I think that some of the best innovations we’ve seen have come out of Centers of Excellence. And one of the things that I’m encouraged at, especially as I visit my friends in the CX technology industry, is to see so often that they have set up their own CoE. Their own laboratories, in which they go out, they hypothesize, they construct, they test, and if it works – great, if it doesn’t – they start over. The reality is if you can have centers that are going to spend their entire time and are dedicated to developing the best possible solutions, whether it’s automation or otherwise, I don’t see anything wrong with that. You should not exclude the possibility of working with outside partners that are in a position to bring perhaps solutions that the contracting organization might not have thought of. They can bring these to the table using an external organization that certainly has a great deal of merit in regards to making sure that a client gets the best possible technology that they’re looking for, that’s going to help them innovate, that’s going to help them position themselves more competitively. But the reality is: the only way the industry is going to move forward, in automation or any other aspect of a technical solution, is by developing that critical mass around thought leadership, trying new ideas, going out, making sure that these ideas are given as much scrutiny as possible, that they work. Take them out as aggressively as you can, implement them as aggressively as you can. If they don’t work, then start afresh.”

Peter Ryan, CXO Analyst

“I think that what we’re talking about here is changing the culture of an organization. I think that you definitely need a Center of Excellence to demonstrate the value of RPA. Personally, I would think that it could work internally or externally, but if you’re going to do it externally, then you need a partner that you can rely on, and, maybe, an independent partner, not a partner that is tied to one particular RPA vendor, for example. So, if you’ve got a great partner, then you could do this externally. Otherwise, you know, clearly, it’s a kind of an evangelism role within the organization to show people what’s possible.”

Mark Hillary, Technology Analyst


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