Once an organization has established an Intelligent Automation Center of Excellence (IACoE), several key steps must be taken to ensure it functions efficiently and delivers the most value.

1. Identify automation opportunities.

Fundamentally, before an organization can automate solutions, it needs to identify which functional areas it wants to automate within, such as revenue cycle, HR, or the clinical space. Once these areas are highlighted, the organization must identify which processes are ripe for automation by working with key operational stakeholders. Each process must be assessed based on factors such as potential ROI or expected outcome, complexity, technical feasibility, and overall strategic importance to the organization.

2. Develop a roadmap.

The list of automation opportunities should be prioritized to develop a roadmap for automation. The roadmap should first identify which processes should be automated based on the assessment factors, what tools and technologies will be used, and an expected implementation timeline. The two primary drivers for prioritization are value and complexity.

  • Value answers questions such as: how much time will be saved, how much money will be saved after implementation, what will be the process error rate, etc.
  • Complexity answers questions such as: can this automation be deployed with the current technology and operation model, what does the project scope look like, how many upstream/downstream workflows will be impacted, etc.

3. Engage employees.

Employees and team members will be the driving force behind the success of the IACoE’s automation efforts. Continue communicating the benefits of automation and ensure that team members are involved in the automation process by providing training, support, and opportunities for involvement. Providing subject matter experts (SMEs) with process mining tools to analyze current processes and identify opportunities will accelerate the automation pipeline growth as automation capabilities mature.

4. Implement automation solutions, involve the team members early and often.

Use the skills and expertise of the IACoE to implement the selected automation solutions and work closely with the business stakeholders to ensure that the solution meets the business requirements and is integrated into the existing business processes. Product design needs to coordinate with the operations team to understand the overall workflow being automated and how it impacts other operation areas. Those details must be shared with product development, who create the solution based on design and technical specifications. After testing is complete and the solution meets all requirements, it can be launched, and its health monitored over time to determine if any enhancements are required and KPIs/metrics are met. Investing in the right technology and tools is critical to the success of the IACoE. Selecting the right low-code platform, ancillary tools, and software that meet business requirements is essential to developing scalable and flexible solutions which can be integrated into other systems. Beyond the automation platform, it is essential to identify process mining, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and analytics and reporting tools.

5. Measure performance.

Use the data from the KPIs to measure the performance of the automation. Use general KPIs so the solution can be measured against all other solutions in the portfolio and metrics specific to that workflow to measure success against the manual effort. This data helps drive optimization.

6. Continuously improve.

Use the data and feedback from the automation solutions and operations partners to improve and refine your automation roadmap continuously. As automation efforts mature, capabilities will link, and whole workflows will become automated end-to-end. Stay up to date on emerging technologies and trends in intelligent automation and adjust the program strategy accordingly.

7. Celebrate the wins!

Recognize key milestones to help bolster support and emphasize the benefits of automation. Organize events where automation is showcased and employees across the organization share expertise, best practices, lessons learned, and successful use cases, and incorporate these into the IACoE operating model. Celebrate every win and learn from the mistakes made.

It is important to remember that automation is a complex process that requires organizational buy-in, focused strategy, tools and technology, effective communication habits, established best practices, and most importantly, strong leadership to guide the overall effort. Taking these key steps helps an organization to develop the characteristics of a strong automation leader and help the Intelligent Automation Center of Excellence deliver value, improve efficiency, reduce costs, and position the organization for success in the long term.