All Posts By

Bharath M

Four Reasons Enterprises Aren’t Getting Full Value from their Automation CoEs | Blog

By | Automation/RPA/AI, Blog

As we mentioned in our Enterprise RPA Pinnacle report, there are multiple benefits of having an automation CoE:

  • Facilitates best practices and skill development, which eventually help in faster scaling-up
  • Provides structure and governance to the automation program, e.g., clarifies roles and responsibilities of various teams involved
  • Enables optimization of software and license costs
  • Fosters sharing and pooling of resources
  • Develops strong cross-functional collaboration among stakeholders.

While many enterprises have established CoEs to overcome challenges and accelerate their automation journeys, not all have been able to extract value from them. Here are some common pitfalls that limit the true potential of an automation CoE.

4 reasons not getting full value automation coe

No Enterprise-level Mandate to Drive all Automation Initiatives through the CoE

Automation CoEs work when there is a clear mandate from enterprise leadership. This directive helps ensure that the operating procedures and governance mechanisms are standard across the enterprise. Lack of it could result in the enterprise driving automation initiatives in pockets, leading to potential cost increases, lower license utilization, lower reusability of automation assets, and increased governance challenges.

Lack of Relevant Capabilities within the CoE

In its true sense, a CoE represents an entity with the capability to drive automation initiatives across the enterprise independently, with minimum oversight from outside. In many enterprises, however, automation CoEs lack the relevant skill sets – such as developers, project managers, solution architects, and infrastructure support staff – that are critical to driving these initiatives. Successful CoEs typically have three focus areas: day-to-day delivery, operational/tactical decision making, and strategic decision making/providing direction. Each layer, or focus area, has a unique set of roles and responsibilities that are critical to a smooth functioning CoE. Successful CoEs have an intentional focus on developing and nurturing in-house talent to strengthen the capabilities across the three layers. Many CoEs also bring in third-party specialists to accelerate learning. Our blog titled Driving Success in Your Automation Center of Excellence provides more details.

Loosely Defined CoE Roles and Responsibilities

The role of an automation CoE goes beyond just deploying bots into production. CoEs in best-in-class adopters of automation have evolved from executing solutions to empowering businesses across locations to drive initiatives on their own. For instance, the automation CoE in a financial services firm has established standard operating procedures (SOPs) for driving automation initiatives which include a well-defined approach for process selection, evaluation of ROI, talent impact, access to a library of reusable assets, etc. The CoE has created a platform through which business leaders can access these SOPs to evaluate opportunities on their own, and provides necessary governance and execution support, including talent and infrastructure.

As highlighted in Everest Group’s Smart RPA Playbook, the typical roles and responsibilities of automation CoEs include:

  • Providing training and education to develop talent
  • Approving all automation procedures before they are put into production
  • Assessing suitability of Smart RPA versus other Smart IT tools for use cases
  • Ensuring quality and compliance through well-defined standards, procedures, and guidelines owned and developed by the CoE
  • Driving the roll-out and implementation of Smart RPA projects, and ensuring coordinated communication with relevant stakeholders
  • Defining the roles, responsibilities, and skills sets required for driving automation across the enterprise, and regularly reviewing and optimizing them
  • Tracking success/outcomes in collaboration with operational teams so they can build, review, and refine the business case for scaling up.

Disconnect between Automation Strategy and Broader Digital Transformation Objectives

Outcomes achieved through automation initiatives are best realized when these investments are in line with the enterprise’s broader digital transformation objectives. Factors such as investments in other digital technologies (e.g., ERP transformation), changes in leverage of Global In-house Centers (GICs) or shared service centers, changes in vendor roles, etc., can have an impact on automation strategy. Automation CoEs need to closely align with enterprise strategy to realize maximum value.

Pinnacle EnterprisesTM – which we define as companies that are achieving superior business outcomes because of their advanced capabilities – have mastered each of these four requirements for successful automation CoEs. To learn more about how they’re maximizing value from their automation CoEs, please see our Enterprise RPA Pinnacle report.

Feel free to share your opinions and stories on how your automation CoE is evolving in its journey directly with me at [email protected].

Tomorrow’s Talent is Today’s Challenge! | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

By | Blog

Advances in new digital technologies, the emergence of new competitors, new sourcing models, and changing customer expectations are dramatically changing the type of IT skills enterprises across industry verticals require. And, with new service delivery paradigms such as automation, agile, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) becoming mainstream, the underlying service delivery models to support the new talent demand profile are also undergoing significant changes. We expect technology themes such as data management and analytics, omnichannel customer experience, and cloud adoption to dominate near-term demand, and cybersecurity, Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)-based application design, and agile delivery methodologies to become mainstream.

So, what does this mean from a talent perspective? Below are four takeaways from Everest Group’s recent research, much of which is detailed in a newly-released viewpoint titled Closing the Gap – The Future of IT Skills in the United States.

1. New Role Creation

To support their business initiatives in the changing technological landscape, enterprises will have to create new roles. Examples of these include:

  • Chief Digital Officers (CDOs) and digital strategists to drive the adoption of design methodologies
  • Chief Innovation Officers (CIOs) to source and evaluate disruptive ideas from innovation in technology and business models
  • Anthropologists and psychologists to help foster human-centered design thinking
  • Data architects and data scientists to build a holistic data strategy and generate insights to offer tailored experiences
  • Agile coaches and scrum masters to deliver using the agile methodology at scale
  • Enterprise security engineers to design and evaluate security measures across all phases of SDLC
  • Automation architects and Machine Learning (ML) experts to develop automated scripts.

2. New Architecture

The technology revolution is leading to an integrated “thin slice” architecture that is enabled to deliver end-to-end experience transformation. This full-stack structure is a sharp deviation from the legacy silo-based architecture that has fundamentally different attributes for delivery of technology services in enterprises. From a talent perspective, traditional siloed factory models are evolving into smaller teams/pods with capabilities cutting across areas such as application development, infrastructure support, and security. Demand for full-stack engineers will increase significantly as the demand for this future integrated stack becomes more prominent across enterprises. Enterprises will need to invest in upskilling and cross-skilling their existing talent at scale and speed to be able to pivot to this new model.

 

IT Skills blog - architecture

3. Demand Shift for Tech Skills

Emerging technology themes will increase demand for some tech skills, and reduce demand for others. For instance, we expect demand for emerging skills such as Go and R programming to increase considerably, as enterprises explore the adoption of big data and AI solutions. On the other hand, we expect demand for skills specific to middleware tools, such as TIBCO, to remain low-medium, driven by increased adoption of offshoring and automation. Enterprises must have a good understanding of hard-to-hire skills in order to effectively chart out their talent roadmap. Key decisions such as local hiring versus offshoring will also revolve around expected demand and supply for skills.

4. Non-Technology Industry Verticals Demand Increasing

Demand for tech talent from non-technology industry verticals is increasing. From banks to retail firms to healthcare providers, technology-led solutions such as robust mobile applications and chatbots are being leveraged to enhance the customer experience. With enterprises focusing on building in-house capabilities, competition for tech talent has increased significantly in the past two to three years. Everest Group’s recent analysis indicates a higher demand from non-technology industry verticals for emerging skills such as configuration management tools (e.g., Ansible, Chef), JavaScript libraries (ReactJS, AngularJS), datacenter solutions (e.g., skills in handling VMWare, AWS, Azure), and automation tools, as compared to demand for basic skills like programming languages such as C and SQL.

IT Skills blog - skill demand

To learn more about the emerging technology themes, their impact on talent requirements, the skills we expect to gain importance in the future, and their supply outlook, please read our viewpoint on skills of the future in the U.S.  And feel free to share your opinions and stories on how you are managing tech-talent directly with us at [email protected] or [email protected].

Enterprises are Betting Big on India GICs for Driving Digital | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

By | Blog, Shared Services/Global In-house Centers

The rise of India-based Global In-house Centers’ (GIC) role in supporting enterprises’ digital transformation through digital technologies, such as RPA, mobility, and IoT, has been significant in the past few years. In 2017 alone, over 50 percent of the GIC set-ups in India were focused on building/enhancing enterprises’ digital capabilities.

Indeed, enterprises are making their India GICs the hub for developing solutions and products for next-gen technologies, such as machine learning, NLP, predictive learning, cognitive, and blockchain. Recent examples include Samsung, State Street, and Western Union.

Why India?

  • Talent availability: The ability to scale next-gen skills at low cost is a key differentiator. For instance, India accounts for 50-60 percent of the talent pool employed for delivery of automation services from offshore/nearshore locations. A strong base of third-party service providers has also established digital and technology labs in India
  • Mature delivery model: India accounts for 30-35 percent of all nearshore/offshore GIC set-ups, and more than 45 percent of their FTEs. Mature operations and middle-/back-office delivery presence in India give them a strong foundation on which to build their digital efforts. And it allows them to develop more integrated operations, technology, digital, and analytics solutions to address the evolving business needs of their parent organizations
  • Strong start-up ecosystem: India has one of the most evolved technology start-up ecosystems in the world. As of 2016, it had more than 4,500 tech start-ups employing a pool of around 100,000 FTEs. This situation not only allows enterprises to access next-gen technological solutions, but also to tap into the ecosystem to accelerate progress when additional resources are needed
  • Economies of scale and cost benefits: While cost may not be the primary driver, it certainly is a key differentiator. Budgets are always scarce, and needs are always plenty. India offers quality talent at lower cost and allows companies to drive low cost innovation and development

Digital Pinnacle™

How are the best-of-the-best enterprises and GICs leveraging India and other locations for digital? To expand our insights beyond the work we conduct with our clients, we’ve launched a Digital Pinnacle™ survey to learn more about successful GICs’ digital journeys.  We invite you to participate in the survey and/or to share your thoughts and experiences with us at [email protected] or [email protected].

Watch this space for more insights on GICs and for the deep-dive survey results.

Six RPA Implementation Pitfalls GICs Must Avoid | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

By | Blog

Enterprises are increasingly leveraging their Global In-house Centers (GICs) to drive automation efforts across the globe. Per recent interactions with over 100 enterprises, GICs, and technology vendors to develop our new report, “RPA Implementation in GICs – Learnings and Best Practices,” we determined that more than 50 percent of enterprises are already driving or plan to drive their global RPA initiatives from Centers of Excellence in offshore/nearshore GICs.

While GICs are well positioned to drive RPA, the extent of success varies and the journey is not easy. To succeed, GICs need to avoid the following six pitfalls, and follow the lead of best-in-class GIC adopters of RPA.

Driving RPA without Enterprise Support

Successful RPA initiatives are a result of strong collaboration between enterprise and GIC leadership. Best-in-class GICs involve enterprise leadership from the beginning of their RPA journey.

Driving RPA in Functional Silos

Successful RPA initiatives involve stakeholders from relevant functions – e.g., IT, operations, risk, and legal – not just the operations team (recipients of automation solutions.) RPA initiatives in some organizations reside under the strategy and innovation function, rather than being led by IT or operations.

Driving RPA in a Decentralized Manner

Through centralized efforts, GICs are able to document and share knowledge across the enterprise, thereby, reducing cost, effort, and time to implementation.

Relying Excessively on Third-Party Vendors

Best-in-class adopters have a strong emphasis on developing in-house capabilities, for example, product development / customizing RPA solutions to suit process requirements.

Selecting Complex Processes at the Start

Successful GICs have avoided the temptation to automate high complexity processes or explore end-to-end automation, and instead have focused on transactional/repetitive/rule-based processes that are easier to implement.

Viewing RPA as a Silver Bullet

Successful GICs view RPA as one of the tools to improve operations by way of error reduction, productivity enhancement, and SLA compliance improvement. Process standardization and reengineering both play key roles in driving the effectiveness of RPA solutions.

Best-in-class GICs have evolved from execution to enabling business units across multiple locations to implement RPA solutions independently. To learn more about the best practices employed by mature GIC adopters of RPA, read our report, “RPA Implementation in GICs – Learnings and Best Practices.” And if you are driving RPA from your GIC, we’d love to hear your story. Feel free to share your opinions and stories on how your GIC is evolving in its RPA journey with [email protected] or [email protected].

Also, keep a lookout for our upcoming report on Enterprise RPA adoption, which leverages our robust Pinnacle Model™ methodology to compare enterprise performance on RPA adoption.

Finally, we’re in the process of conducting a first-of-its-kind survey, the results of which will reveal the state of digital adoption and what separates Pinnacle GICs™ from others. We invite you to join your peers and participate in this survey, today!

Driving RPA from GICs? Learn from the Best-in-class | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

By | Blog

The shift towards a “digital-first model,” in the wake of technology-led disruption, has given GICs an opportunity to become strategic entities that can drive innovation across the enterprise, instead of an arbitrage-first-oriented low-cost set-up delivering back- / middle- office services at scale. A very positive move for GICs and the enterprises they support.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA), among other digital technologies, is gaining popularity across enterprises and GICs thanks to its many business benefits. And enterprises are increasingly leveraging their GICs to drive RPA usage. This is largely driven by factors such as GICs’ tighter integration with the core business, increased endorsement from the enterprise, shift toward insourcing, higher visibility to enterprise leadership, lower costs, and availability of talent.

So what factors enable best-in-class GICs to drive RPA programs successfully? We’ve identified eight:

How GICs drive RPA

Successful GICs, through dedicated RPA CoEs, have gone beyond exploring RPA technology for in-house consumption. From educating various stakeholders across the enterprise on capabilities and benefits of the technology, to executing RPA solutions across functions and locations, these CoEs are playing a key role in transforming processes across the enterprise. CoEs in best-in-class GICs have gone a notch higher, and are focusing on creating an ecosystem that enables businesses to independently explore RPA opportunities.

While GICs are well positioned to drive RPA across the enterprise, successful implementation requires dedicated focus on factors including governance and business continuity. They must also be on the lookout for advanced technologies, such as AI and cognitive, that can augment existing RPA technology and enhance overall automation business benefits.

To learn more about the best practices employed by best-in-class GIC adopters of RPA, please read our recently published report, “RPA Implementation in GICs – Learnings and Best Practices.” We developed it based on interactions with 100+ global enterprises’ GICs and a range of automation technology vendors.

If you are driving RPA from your GIC, I’d love to hear your story. Feel free to share your opinions and stories on how your GIC is evolving in its RPA journey directly with me at [email protected].

And/or, join in on our research on how enterprises design their GIC journeys to drive their enterprises’ digital agendas. Click here to take the survey; responses will, of course, remain anonymous.