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A Center of Excellence (COE) is at heart a group of people – experts in business process management, customer relationship management, and business domain, equipped with an arsenal of best practices and tools.

Introduction to BPM COE
Why have a BPM CoE?

A BPM program is a collection of business processes that are defined in a simplified manner which helps in reducing the cost and improving the quality of services. Often, a BPM program is initiated to solve an immediate business problem. The desire to solve a particular problem through BPM results in the creation of silo solutions that cannot be scaled or repeated to solve other organizational needs. BPM implementation costs a lot of money to the organization, and a poorly designed BPM solution struggles to provide the stated return on investment as per the business plan.

Introduction to BPM COE

A BPM CoE can help mitigate the risks in creating business problem-specific solutions for an enterprise-wide program. However, the key issues involved in setting up a CoE are twofold:

  • What would the CoE do?
  • Who would pay for the CoE?

This blog attempts to answer both questions and provide some clarity in justifying a BPM CoE for an enterprise.

 

BPM CoE Construct

Before setting up a BPM CoE, it is important to define its scope, role, and function. A BPM CoE should have the following three components:

  1. Operationalize A focuses on mobilizing the CoE and making it real and functional. Functions like architectural best practices, common services, and demand management functions are key to operationalize the CoE.
  2. System Management: Establish the right technology platform for performance and business activity monitoring. System management aims to provide proactive and adaptive analytics to make the BPM platform robust, scalable and business-aligned.
  3. Behavioral Changes: Aspects of organizational change management (OCM) for the adoption of BPM practices and ways of working.
Operationalize
Operationalize

To successfully set up a BPM CoE, an organization needs to establish clear and defined goals and objectives for the CoE, with a clear vision and roadmap. These are the critical elements for operationalizing a BPM CoE:

  • Define the CoE charter: It is of paramount importance to correctly state the business objectives of the BPM program. Clearly define the problem(s) you are trying to solve and then articulate the mission of the CoE. The clarity of thought is the first step in establishing a successful CoE.
  • Establish roles and responsibilities: Often, BPM services users are confused about the role of a CoE – how would it benefit them? How do they interface with the CoE? Etc. Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the CoE, provide access points to the larger organization, and mention what function(s) the CoE will perform and how this will benefit the program.
  • Articulate the vision: Defining the CoE’s goals and complementing it with a roadmap of functionalities gives confidence to the organization. Highlight the business benefits and align the CoE to broader organizational initiatives.
  • Define a roadmap: The CoE should run like a product company – provide a clear definition of what functionalities will be offered, and by when. This provides clarity in the thought process and gains acceptability in the organization.
  • Define the process for demand capture: Once the organization experiences a successful program, this will lure the other business units who would want to implement BPM. Not having a proper process for demand capture will not only create chaos but also cause the program to fail due to poor planning and other system-related limitations.  Set up the governance and cadence with the business and organization, work out a template-driven ROM (Rough Order of Magnitude) model for work estimation, and provide strategic consulting help to the business wherever applicable.
  • Align the demand to the program’s objectives: Always ask how the current demand aligns with the organization’s priority. It is critical to align the program and capabilities. Taking on a program that does not align with the BPM CoE’s priority may result in program failure. Stakeholder management is another key aspect in this scenario.
  • Define in what stages of the program the CoE will be involved in: The CoE cannot and should not be involved in all the stages of a program’s implementation. Define clearly where the CoE can help. For instance, the CoE can help in the architectural design or can act as a development extension team in concept evaluation. Making such things clear increases the adoption of the CoE.
  • Create a CoE Digital presence: Get the digital experience of the CoE into the hands of the business users; create a web portal and/or a mobile app that provides one-point access to all information about the CoE, or develop a podcast for best practices or conduct online design JAD sessions. Make people feel its presence.
  • Publish success stories: Replicate the best practices, capture the lessons learned, and publish the success stories. Remember that success reaps further success. This is absolutely crucial from the standpoint of adoption.
  • Think about the future: Stay ahead of the game. Conduct experiments, be business focused and solve problems in small incubation factories. Make Innovation one of the prime agendas of the CoE.
System Management

System management offers a common technology stack that helps develop the BPM program function according to business needs. The key elements of system management include:

  • Dashboards and reporting: For a successful BPM program, the system needs to function well. Use the information generated by the system to learn instantly and act. Provide instant access to BPM related metrics based on user persona and access.
  • Business activity monitoring: Implement BAM (Business Activity Monitoring) to provide real-time access to data for business-critical application monitoring and reporting. Provide the ability to deliver business intervention based on events.
  • Focus on non-functional requirements: Focus on elements such as performance, connection throttling, dynamic load balancing, user state maintenance, and the ability to scale as resource demand fluctuates. These are key aspects for BPM to be scalable as the program expands its user base and more business processes get on board.
System Management
Behavioral Changes
Behavioral Changes

BPM program can only be successful when an organization adopts it. BPM changes business processes and often results in the elimination of roles, or in doing things differently. This often creates organizational barriers which are prime reasons for implementation failure. These are the key elements to consider in the organization-wide adoption of BPM:

  • Understanding the organization: Each organization is different. Before defining an OCM strategy, it is critical to understand who the key stakeholders are, assess the organization’s readiness to change, and determine the key influencers.
  • Leadership buy-In: For a BPM program to be successful, leader buy-in is absolutely critical. The leadership team needs to invest its time in the change management process and help mitigate people-centric risks.
  • Communication strategy: Depending on the culture of the organization a communication strategy needs to be drafted. Beyond delivering the communication it is also necessary to monitor and track it for effectiveness and take the necessary corrective action.
  • Competency building: Establishing the training approach, accessing behavioral and managerial training needs, and accessing the impact of change is critical towards building the competency for successful program rollout.
  • Sustenance: Celebrating successful milestones, recognizing team efforts, capturing feedback, and realigning performance management is key to the adoption of the program.
Behavioral Changes

BPM program can only be successful when an organization adopts it. BPM changes business processes and often results in the elimination of roles, or in doing things differently. This often creates organizational barriers which are prime reasons for implementation failure. These are the key elements to consider in the organization-wide adoption of BPM:

  • Understanding the organization: Each organization is different. Before defining an OCM strategy, it is critical to understand who the key stakeholders are, assess the organization’s readiness to change, and determine the key influencers.
  • Leadership buy-In: For a BPM program to be successful, leader buy-in is absolutely critical. The leadership team needs to invest its time in the change management process and help mitigate people-centric risks.
  • Communication strategy: Depending on the culture of the organization a communication strategy needs to be drafted. Beyond delivering the communication it is also necessary to monitor and track it for effectiveness and take the necessary corrective action.
  • Competency building: Establishing the training approach, accessing behavioral and managerial training needs, and accessing the impact of change is critical towards building the competency for successful program rollout.
  • Sustenance: Celebrating successful milestones, recognizing team efforts, capturing feedback, and realigning performance management is key to the adoption of the program.
Behavioral Changes
What is a COE?

A Center of Excellence (COE) is at heart a group of people – experts in business process management, customer relationship management, and business domain, equipped with an arsenal of best practices and tools. A mature COE is a self-directing entity responsible for supporting business users and shepherding complex projects to successful completion.

The purpose of a Lab RPA COE is to empower enterprises to get the most out of Lab RPA’s technology, not only within key teams but across the entire organization. A COE links your big-picture strategy with your day-to-day operations, documents lessons learned and best practices, and makes it easier for different groups to reuse and adapt proven solutions. Because it brings together smart people and cutting-edge technology from all parts of the enterprise, a COE can also play an important role in your digital transformation.

 

What is a COE?
Defining scope and roadmap

People

Successful CEOs include the right mix of people with the appropriate hard and soft skills, working together with well-defined roles and responsibilities in a structure that supports effective collaboration.

Process

Building the right process involves putting a methodology in place that is effective and repeatable. Lab RPA recommends iterative methodologies that allow you to deliver business value quickly.

Technology

It’s critical to have the proper technology, with a prescriptive set of enterprise best practices and policies around it. When you build your initial COE platform, it must be scalable, available, secure, and sized appropriately to accommodate future demand.

Building the COE
Roles and Responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities will vary depending on your COE structure and budget, but you will generally build teams that fall into one of four categories:

COE Leadership provides executive support and governance to project teams.

The COE Core Team handles demand and intake from project teams. They are tasked with standardizing the delivery process and performing the value-add services of the COE.

A COE Extended Team develops Lab RPA Platform™ and application experience and knowledge in their individual domains to support Lab RPA projects. They provide feedback to the Core Team on ways they can improve delivery.

Project Team(s) may be staffed internally or by a Lab RPA or a delivery partner. These teams manage and drive the project on the ground. They are responsible for delivering project outcomes, according to the best practices and methodology determined by the COE.

Maturing a COE

There are five levels of COE maturity:

Level 1: Organizations without a COE strategy in place start here; they haven’t defined their charter or goals.

Level 2: Roles, responsibilities, and resources are identified. The implementation methodology incorporates COE touchpoints and governance steps, and projects are loosely coordinated through the COE.

Level 3: A COE is providing expert services to different project teams. A community is fully active, and there is coordination around shared components that allow for a level of reuse. The COE monitors projects and evaluates new opportunities for business process management.

Level 4: The functional areas are organizing themselves into competency centers, focused on driving common processes and operating models across the company. Individual lines of business are represented and negotiate between specialization and core framework-based processes.

Level 5: A fully-federated model of business process-oriented competency centers drive for shared processes across business lines. There are process improvement programs continually iterating across the enterprise. At this level, the COE is directing Lab RPA implementations across the organization.

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