4 Steps to Building an Intelligent Automation Center of Excellence

Intelligent automation technologies offer significant value to federal government agencies, if implemented strategically. The latest shiny new technology may claim to support unlimited automation opportunities – built and deployed with ease – but it’s rarely that simple. This is especially true when applying intelligent automation at scale. Technology and tooling are table stakes; that’s the easy(ish) part.

I previously led the establishment and direction of the U.S. Army Financial Management and Comptroller’s “Bot Squad” and oversaw its first use of Robotic Process Automation (RPA). That experience taught me that enduring success is beyond the creation of pilot automations. Rather, it involves a well-organized and deliberate approach including the establishment of a Center of Excellence (COE).

A COE can seem a lofty concept, and for most agencies, represents the highest level of maturity on their intelligent automation journey. But even those organizations who have only dabbled in a few robotic process automation (RPA) pilot programs can benefit from the oversight and capabilities that a COE delivers.

What is an Intelligent Automation Center of Excellence?

A COE plays a valuable role in any intelligent automation program. It comprises a dedicated team of individuals who explore and assess new automation opportunities, establish, and promote best practices, offer guidance and governance to other departments, scale automations within the organization, and measure the performance of team initiatives.

As such, a COE is an essential foundation to intelligent automation at scale. It can help organizations define and intake what tasks to automate and leads the way in exploring best practices, tools, and techniques for doing so.

Where is a COE located?

A COE may reside anywhere in an organization, such as within the purview of the CIO or even functional areas such as finance and HR. In larger agencies, it could also be federated, like a program management office (PMO) with a central, controlling unit complemented by supporting divisions or units who adopt the same playbook. Some may even outsource functions of the COE.

What are the risks of not having a COE?

Without a COE, agencies risk investing time and resources in technology without thinking through the parts that need to happen to ensure positive outcomes. This is particularly important as technology evolves and new use cases emerge. An all-in approach with one software vendor can lead to missed opportunities, technical debt, and wasted taxpayer dollars.

A COE also ensures that each intelligent automation opportunity has leadership-level sponsorship. After all, project success is a team effort. A sponsor will champion the project to secure funding and priority for automation opportunities. They also drive engagement and communication across stakeholders – building trust, anticipating needs, ensuring alignment with business objectives, and delivering value.

How Macro can help

We understand that agencies are at different stages in their automation journey. Wherever they are or wherever they need to go, we can help them create a framework for an Intelligent Automation COE that puts them on the path to success.

My own experience coupled with Macro’s engagements helping government organizations get the most out of their financial, human capital, acquisition, logistics – all domains ripe for intelligent automation – has shaped how we help agencies find and prioritize automation opportunities, follow best practices, and add value to the mission.

Specific approaches depend on the needs, resources, and priorities of the organization. Still, the Macro Intelligent Automation practice, which I lead, leans on four fundamental service pillars: Assessment, Advisory, Innovation, and Operations.

Here’s a high-level description of each of our four service pillars:

  1. Assessment – Macro Solutions offers time-boxed and tailorable assessment services providing the insights agencies need to accelerate their current RPA / intelligent automation program and yield optimum value delivery at scale. For agencies who are starting their automation journey, the creation of a business architecture model, assessment, and roadmap with actionable initiatives are key accelerators and are part of this service offering.
  2. Advisory – Let Macro Solutions be your Industry Trusted Advisor for all your RPA / Intelligent Automation needs.  Whether you need certified Scrum Masters (CSMs), Project Management Professionals (PMPs), or certified RPA Solutions Architects and Developers, we have the experience and passion for automation that will raise the bar and improve your service delivery to your stakeholders.  Advisory services are tailorable and involve RPA / Intelligent Automation program management, governance model design, stakeholder engagement planning, and more.
  3. Innovation – Agencies often struggle with understanding how they will incorporate those new capabilities into their workflow, engage employees, or drive organizational business value through breakthrough technologies. Designing, building, and demoing proof of concepts are the right steps to drive creativity and innovative solutions for the organization. Macro’s innovation services are geared toward helping agencies stay ahead, be mission focused, and create more value for stakeholders.
  4. Operations –Whether an agency needs us to run their entire automation pipeline, operate the help desk, or monitor and measure performance and value, we have the talent, experience, and proven success to empower their intelligent automation program. Our operations services are customizable to meet each agency’s needs and can adapt with the program over time.

Our approach also stresses flexibility.  We happily work with our clients to develop a customized approach that works for them.

Intelligent Automation contract vehicles

Our Intelligent Automation services are available on various federal contract vehicles including GSA IT-70, GSA PSS, Army ITES-3S, and more.

Ready to get started the Macro way? Reach out now to get your Macro Intelligent Automation Assessment.