A Robotics Centre of Excellence – Key considerations


This blog is authored by Seeler Rebeiro, Senior director- Technology services, WNS Global Services. 

A number of enterprises are attempting to transform their operations using a digital virtual workforce. One of the key steps on this journey is implementing RPA. To do so, a well-structured and staffed Robotics Centre of Excellence (RPA CoE) is critical. Some of the key considerations for the design and set up of a well-staffed and organized RPA CoE are:

  • Organization Model & Accountability

Whilst the CoE is central to an industrialised Robotics capability, other areas of the business are key to a successful Robotics program. The key organizations & their accountabilities for a successful RPA program are

  1. Operations:
    1. Target ownership set through a budgetary process.
    2. Staffing to assist the RPA CoE in the assessments, design and testing of the automated processes.
    3. Re-organsation, change management or communications required for the realization of robotics benefits

b. RPA CoE:

  1. Identify new opportunities for automation.
  2. Agile teams that that can be stood up quickly to deliver Robotics to the operations within agreed budgets
  3. Act as a single point of contact. All requests for Robotics goes through the same team, who have a proven delivery methodology.
  4. Creation of policies, standards, processes and template materials relating to Robotics within the business
  5. Management of change requests in BAU

c. IT:

  1. Delivery and maintenance of the required Robotics infrastructure
  2. Security of IT Systems, data and Robots.
  3. Investigation and resolution of incidents on IT Infrastructure, system access when it is identified as an issue.

d. Procurement:

    1. Engaging with suppliers to deliver the best value possible for the requirements supplied by the Operational leads, CoE and IT. These mainly include the Robotics licenses, the Robotics Infrastructure (VDIs, and Servers), and Robotics implementation costs (when provided by a 3rd party)


  • Principles governing RPA

A few key principles must be adhered to whilst identifying opportunities for RPA.

  1. Where a process step does not add value, it must be eliminated before automation
  2. Where a core system can be altered to automate the process in a cost effective and timely manner, this is a preferred option to Robotics.
  3. Explicit permission from Client before automating a process that involves PII and confidential data. Avoid storing any client confidential data in the Robotics Database/Robotics Work queues. Robotics of processes will not be performed in such a way that results in an increased risk to integrity or security of systems or data
  4. If a process is currently outsourced to a third party provider, the process should remain outsourced and the CoE must deliver the robotics within the outsourced operation using the Delivery methodology for Robotics. The CoE must evaluate the capabilities of the 3rd party provider for RPA, and if found suitable, enroll them as a Robotics Implementation partner


  • Staffing of the CoE

Regardless of whether the CoE is self-run, operated by a third-party, or a hybrid model, it must have the following critical roles. This is a must to keep the momentum and drive bot velocity

  1. CoE Sponsor: Executive sponsor accountable for the Robotics strategy.
  2. CoE Lead: Accountable for CoE activities (a senior stakeholder), engagement with Operational Leads, and overall CoE performance reporting.
  3. CoE Project Manager: Manages the delivery of Robotics projects in accordance with CoE Delivery Methodology to ensure benefits are delivered on time and in budget.
  4. CoE RPA Business Analysts: Responsible for opportunity identification, producing high-level and detailed analysis of benefit potential and requirements gathering.
  5. CoE RPA Architect: Responsible for detailed design, the infrastructure design, and the licensing needs.
  6. CoE Developers: Responsible for technical solution design and build, test prep and support and in-life support
  7. CoE Test Lead: Responsible for test execution and management of issue remediation.
  8. CoE Controller: Monitors, schedules and supports day to day operation (BAU) of automated processes

Once the CoE is staffed and set up, with the right governance model, reporting and well defined guidelines, standards and templates, you should be on your way to an industrialized and institutionalized RPA Organization.

Join us at NASSCOM – India Leadership Forum 2018, Feb 19 – 21, HICC Hyderabad, India  for more expert opinion and discussions. 

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