In September 2022, Prakash Hariharasubramaniyan, HGS Automation Director and Practice Lead, spoke at the HGS roundtable about transforming PoC to CoE with RPA implementation.
Robotic Process Automation or RPA is a very hot topic and a buzzword in the industry and most of the time, people generally ask, “What is the time frame for us to see the benefit?” So, how fast can an organization really move from a Proof of Concept (PoC) to an established Center of Excellence (CoE) and reap benefits from the implementation of RPA?
The Critical Success Factors of Moving from PoC to CoE
Since its conception, RPA has evolved to become a digital disruptor helping businesses achieve goals, such as reduced operational costs, streamlined processes, and value-added services.
However, 50% of automation fails to demonstrate expected results primarily due to poor strategy and project management. HGS Digital, with an extensive background in RPA implementations, has realized five critical factors for successful RPA implementation:
- Strategy: RPA should be a part of the IT and business roadmap because it should be considered a transformational implementation rather than a technological one. Therefore, a well-thought-out strategy that aligns with the business roadmap and all stakeholders is crucial, along with a strong understanding of what is expected from the RPA implementation and the areas that are feasible for implementation.
- Process Identification: A critical part of RPA implementation, process identification includes process maturity, process scalability, business case, and future state ready (optimum efficiency, the impact of the process from an upstream and downstream perspective, and degree of benefit from introducing new technology like hyper-automation or intelligent automation). It is critical to identify which processes are more suitable for automation and the kind of automation that can be implemented through comprehensive analysis and detailed documentation.
- CoE: It is important to establish a CoE as it helps set a framework or a team that will work together to roll out the automation across the enterprise. The framework guides all the stakeholders and all the teams through the implementation. It is essential to ensure that the organization is ready for the future state. Some of the other key aspects of CoE are determining the KPIs for automation, risk management, and finding the right implementation partner.
- Governance: It is vital to have a very comprehensive governance framework. It also means that there needs to be a strong and committed sponsor and C-level support for implementation or as part of the strategy.
- Change Management: Additionally, robust change management is a critical component for successful RPA implementation. Unless there is a proper change management framework wherein everything is well-defined, KPIs are set in place, and there is an alignment with the IT teams, the business teams, and the developers from the RPA CoE, more often than not the implementation fails, delaying the project overall.
The following case study showcases how HGS was able to create benefits for its client, one of the leading supply chain and logistics companies in the US by following the above implementation methodologies.
Case Study—Turning PoC to CoE
The client wanted to upgrade a fractured legacy bidding system with bottlenecks, which cost the business and significantly degraded the customer experience.
The implementation started with a very small PoC and with its implementation, HGS realized good synergy with the client. Working together with their in-house team, they were able to create solutions with defined and feasible automation, defined scopes, and standardized tools across the board.
The project was eventually able to move to the CoE phase within the first three months of engagement. No major changes were introduced, and existing solutions and tools were used to cut down the time invested allowing for automation to be implemented well within the expected time.
Additionally, generating net new revenue helped solve a previously unsolved problem as the EDI component was an integration solution.
Key results of the RPA implementation included:
- 21 automated processes
- 12,539 updated transactions for e-commerce processes
- $1 million in savings from increased efficiency
- 52% increase in orders as a result of automation
- Over $1 million net new revenue
If there is a defined strategy and good synergy between the RPA team and the stakeholders across the board between multiple departments, one can observe quick returns when moving from PoC to CoE.