SIG University

How to Become a Certified Intelligent Automation Professional

Intelligent process automation technologies allow your team to focus on more strategic business objectives.

SIG University’s Certified Intelligent Automation Professional (CIAP) program is an online certification program for working professionals who seek to become more efficient and free up team resources by automating repetitive, rules-based activities. An investment in the CIAP designation will provide your team with a holistic understanding of Intelligent Process Automation technologies so they can focus on more strategic business objectives.

Outlined here is more information on the benefits of a CIAP designation, as well as a profile of who would benefit from the program.  


What is Intelligent Process Automation?

Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) is an evolving set of software technologies that can be used singly or in combination to automate repetitive, rules-based routine tasks. The Intelligent Process Automation technologies are broadly categorized as:

  • Robotic Process Automation – Handles repeatable, routine and predictable tasks
  • Cognitive technologies – Have the ability to be trained to read variable inputs and determine what actions to take under different circumstances.
  • Workflow orchestration – Manages work between different IPA technologies, legacy systems and human workers.
  • Virtual agents – Use voice or text chat for direct interaction with users.

The key to true Intelligent Process Automation is how to combine the above-mentioned tools to solve end-to-end business problems. 

James Swinford, CEO, Virtual Operations

RegTech and the Role of Third-Party Risk Management

As risk and compliance management professionals look to RegTech companies to assist with their legal, regulatory and compliance mandate, it’s important to have a solid third-party risk management program in place to make risk-informed decisions for the extended enterprise.

In highly regulated industries, there are seemingly endless regulatory and compliance requirements and activities, and they often are inseparable from the underlying risk management activities themselves, including those for third parties.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, the U.S. has arguably become the most complex and costly jurisdiction for regulatory compliance. An article published by World Economic Forum on enterprise risk management points out that banks are “less experienced with non-traditional threats such as cyber risk, strategic risk, operational risk, regulatory risk and legal risk. Making matters trickier, these risks aren’t easily quantified.” The authors also note that “the growth in such risks is virtually unprecedented in the history of banking. This puts a premium on firms’ abilities to make connections and to recognize the complex whole is far greater than the sum of its parts.”

The financial services sector leads the pack in terms of the amount of regulation it is subject to, including the compliance challenges, regulations and laws in near and far-flung jurisdictions, as well as the cost and complexity of compliance, risk management and governance practices. This sector is not alone is the endless struggle to balance costs and compliance. Healthcare, oil and gas, and the tech sector are also struggling with the cost and complexity to managing sector-specific risks and compliance.

>>More from Linda Tuck Chapman -- Third Party Risk Management: An Opportunity for Procurement<<

Linda Tuck Chapman, President, Ontala Performance & Education Solutions

Drive an Effective Governance Program with Technology

Artificial intelligence and machine learning technology can help organizations foster a culture of innovation with their third parties.

Jai Chinnakonda, co-founder of a provider technology start-up, enrolled in SIG University's Certified Third Party Risk Management Professional (C3PRMP) program to learn how he can better serve his clients by gaining a more thorough understanding of third-party risk management best practices.

In the C3PRMP program, students focus on best and emerging practices to identify, assess, manage and control third-party risk throughout the lifecycle of relationships, and learn how to align risk fundamentals and frameworks with risk culture to develop the essential tools and controls for effective governance.


The digital age is seeing an increased dependence on third-party service providers of varying sizes – including start-ups – to meet the challenges of technological innovation, cost, demand for service excellence and heightened competition. 

Organizations are often locked in a love-hate relationship with their vendors as they struggle to meet expectations, sometimes both ways. In today’s digital journey, no organization can thrive on its own. To create true value for your organization and help meet business objectives, your organization will need to build a lasting relationship with your third parties. Organizations will need to adopt the art and science of engagement.

The business ecosystem is experiencing a fundamental shift. Organizations are moving away from purely cost-savings partnerships to value-generating risk-sharing partnership models. As the third-party ecosystem grows, the ability to manage and govern third parties is becoming more critical to success.

Jai Chinnakonda, Co-Founder, ENGAIZ

4 Steps to Build a High-Functioning Team

Implementing Dr. Bruce's Tuckman's four stages of group development

While enrolled in SIG University's Certified Supplier Management Professional (CSMP) program, Omar Khweiss was able to contribute his expertise to help his distributed team grow, face up to challenges, tackle problems, find solutions, plan work and deliver results.

The CSMP program exposes students to leading-edge training on contract administration, compliance, risk mitigation, performance, governance operating models, talent management support, transformation and more to help companies put effective governance programs in place.


During a recent visit to my company’s headquarters, I met some of my fellow senior buyers for a team project that we are embarking upon together. We all come from various regions of North America and this was our first time working together. Coincidentally, the meeting took place during my last week of SIG University’s Certified Supplier Management Professional program. I took the initiative to implement Dr. Bruce Tuckman’s group development process discussed in Module 7 to help the team dynamic evolve. As prescribed, I utilized the forming, storming, norming and performing stages from his theory to take full advantage of this prime opportunity to all share collectively in real time.

Stage 1 - Forming

We started off with the initial stage of forming. On day one, we asked our manager why we were selected to be a part of this team as well as what was expected of us. Our manager presented his vision for the team but also gave us the sense that we’d work independently since we all hold seniority within the procurement division of our company.

Omar Khweiss, Senior Buyer, J.R. Simplot Company

Laying the Foundation for a Vendor Management Program

A Senior IT Consultant talks about shaping a risk culture and standardizing her company's vendor review process.

While enrolled in SIG University's Certified Third Party Risk Management Professional (C3PRMP) Program, Wendy Hsu was able to immediately apply what she learned and contribute her expertise toward sourcing a third-party risk management tool to develop her organization's Third Party Risk Management Program.

In the C3PRMP program, students focus on best and emerging practices to identify, assess, manage and control third-party risk throughout the lifecycle of relationships, and learn how to align risk fundamentals and frameworks with risk culture to develop the essential tools and controls for effective governance.


In more ways than one, the learning opportunity with SIG University’s Certified Third Party Risk Management Professional (C3PRMP) program was more than coincidental. Earlier in the year, I had chosen the C3PRMP program to fulfill my 2019 Individual Development Plan objective. Little did I know that by July I would be fully engaged in assisting my manager to source a suitable third-party risk management tool and develop a project plan to implement our future Third Party Risk Management (TPRM) program. While the timing of my taking the certification program couldn’t be better, the challenges ahead of my company’s TPRM program (which will soon be called Key Vendor Management Program) couldn’t be greater given we are a young company still in the process of shaping our risk culture and standardizing our vendor review process.

Wendy Hsu, Sr. IT Procurement Consultant, Venerable

Change Management: A People and Culture-Driven Approach

Change management is an important part of governance.

After a reorganization within his company, a SIG University graduate applies lessons learned in the Certified Supplier Management Professional (CSMP) program to facilitate a people- and culture-driven change management approach to bring his company into regulatory compliance.

The CSMP program exposes students to leading-edge training on contract administration, compliance, risk mitigation, performance, governance operating models, talent management support, transformation and more to help companies put effective governance programs in place.


 

The Certified Supplier Management Professional (CSMP) program from SIG University discussed the importance of GR&C and provides samples of governance models with roles and authorities, its relationships, and communication structures in relation to the procurement or sourcing strategies of an organization. I was glad to see these topics discussed as it confirmed the need for reorganization within my company, which now has clearly defined roles and responsibilities between governance and third party risk management and the sourcing department. 

Change Management Theories: A Focus on People and Culture

The new governance model implemented considered internal and external factors that affect the overall operations of the organization, most importantly, the people. In order to be successful, we instituted a proactive period of transition using a systematic approach that consisted of a well-defined change plan. Our sourcing department had been resistant to change developed from the previous governance structure, making it challenging to implement new changes. Part of our strategy was to include within our change management plan early involvement of all key players and stakeholders in order to minimize the resistance previously experienced.

David E. Romo-Garza, Director of Business Risk and Controls

SWOT Analysis: A Procurement Best Practice

SWOT Analysis graph

A Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) student rediscovers the benefit of SWOT analysis, a tried and true procurement best practice. In the CSP program, students focus on the hard and soft skills of sourcing, including strategic sourcing and outsourcing methodologies, as well as best practices in negotiations. 


It is common for many procurement professionals to lose sight of the basics and fall into a pattern of just following along with the habits they’ve built through the years. During SIG University’s Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program, I was able to take a step back and evaluate some best practices that seem to have fallen off in my procurement department.

Within my organization, as with many, there is a never-ending sense of urgency when internal stakeholders come to us with sourcing or contracting needs that they would like completed yesterday. By actively embracing SWOT analysis, procurement would be able to better serve its stakeholders. This analysis would provide better oversight of issues as they arise and increase the potential of solving business issues with enhanced results.

Sammi Kiesel, Strategic Sourcing Advisor

Breathing New Life into Traditional Vendor Management

Vendor risk management is part of effective governance.

SIG University Certified Third Party Risk Management Professional (C3PRMP) Program graduate David England has noticed a decline in vendor management teams. He shares his thoughts on how the adoption of third-party risk management strategies by vendor management teams can help position them as a key asset and reverse their decline.

In the C3PRMP program, students focus on best and emerging practices to identify, assess, manage and control third-party risk throughout the lifecycle of relationships, and learn how to align risk fundamentals and frameworks with risk culture to develop the essential tools and controls for effective governance.


There is a growing awareness within the mainstream business community of the importance associated with effective third-party risk management – a capability that has been nicely incubating and maturing within heavily regulated industries, such as banking and financial services, for eons. This increased exposure and attention could be just what is needed to revitalize the flagging vendor management movement.

Many F500 organizations have well-established vendor management capabilities that spawned several decades ago with the onset of strategic process outsourcing and continue today as an effective operational strategy. Many organizations I have consulted with over the past 15 years benefit from these capabilities, which has helped them achieve the value intended from these important vendor relationships. These key capabilities include:

David England, Director, Governance Services at ISG

Aligning Risk Management Tools to Protect Customer Data

SIG University's Certified Third Party Risk Management Professional Program helps protect against company data breaches

SIG University Certified Third Party Risk Management Professional (C3PRMP) Program graduate Cindy Lingerfelt works at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida. She shares what she’s learned about third-party risk management and how her small team plans to build a stronger risk culture.

In the C3PRMP program, students focus on best and emerging practices to identify, assess, manage and control third-party risk throughout the lifecycle of relationships, and learn how to align risk fundamentals and frameworks with risk culture to develop the essential tools and controls for effective governance.


I work for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida on the Procurement team. My sub-team, Supplier Management, is small and we wear many hats. We were the first in our organization to implement some standardization for how critical suppliers were managed by developing a segmentation questionnaire to tier our suppliers and worked with business owners to get all Tier 1 suppliers on performance scorecards. Our role was to provide standard formatted scorecards with a library of the most common KPIs, stationary, QBR templates and more. 

Due to an incident with a supplier, the board made a directive that supplier risk should have a more explicit focus. A new team called Enterprise Risk Management was formed within Corporate Affairs/Internal Audit to address supplier risk and closely partner with Procurement on new suppliers and manage risk with our current supplier base.

Cindy Lingerfelt, C3PRMP, Sourcing Specialist, Florida Blue

Drive Savings with Contract Negotiation Best Practices

Best practices in contract negotiations

SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program student Jessica Maki works at Driven Brands. She shares what she’s learned about contract negotiation and how she is implementing newly learned best practices and techniques to score bigger wins and drive more savings for her company.

In the CSP program, students focus on the hard and soft skills of sourcing, including strategic sourcing and outsourcing methodologies, as well as best practices in negotiations.


Negotiation planning plays a big part in the procurement industry. Procurement is always looking for the best price, best supplier performance and cost savings for the organization. In SIG University’s Certified Sourcing Professional program, I learned several key factors when it comes to negotiating with suppliers including preparation, best practices, and what to do versus what not to do. Throughout my experience as a procurement specialist, I’ve learned to apply these important techniques during the negotiation process, and it has helped me become a more confident negotiator. 

Jessica Maki, Procurement Analyst, Driven Brands

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