Understanding the Automation Center of Excellence

Image of Automation Intelligence

SIG University Certified Intelligent Automation Professional (CIAP) program graduate Ethan Slade defines how to effectively establish an enterprise automation center of excellence and the benefits this will have in your organization.

As a newcomer to the sourcing and procurement industry, I have become curious about the different automation processes deployed within a business. As I enter my senior year as a finance student at Florida Atlantic University, I have found the SIG University certification courses very thought-provoking and challenging to how I view businesses and their processes.
This is my second certification through SIG University. Every step of the way, I have found something to help build on my foundation of understanding the sourcing and procurement industry. Throughout the Certified Automation Intelligence Course, I began to see and understand the aspects of process automation differently. Specifically, in Module 5, Lesson 2, I learned about the Automation Center of Excellence and its many purposes and design options for business units.
The course detailed the most important aspect of a Center of Excellence (COE): it must be fit for purpose in the organization. Many elements, such as culture, size, growth, and geography, affect how an organization decides and implements its COE. An organization will implement an automation COE to help guide the direction for automation management, enable more vital expertise in assessment, and develop a better support system for automation processes. While only some organizations have the facilities or culture to establish a proper functioning COE, defining and selecting the correct governance for automation is essential. And it has been found beneficial to align a COE with existing functions within your organization, process excellence, or IT-shared services, for example.
In the course, I learned that when it comes to establishing the COE, it is crucial to do so incrementally during the early stages of the automation deployment. This is so that the COE will grow and mature alongside any practicalities of process automation across your organization. This is so that while the COE develops, any issues may be adequately addressed and revised accordingly to prevent similar or different problems from occurring. There are three main stages to the design phase of automation COE. These are initialization, industrialization, and institutionalization.
An automation COE is a function that must help sustain the development of strategic process automation to the best fit of the business unit. While also aligning the different methods, tools, and skills to implement the best possible intelligent process automation projects. As well as developing the proper governance structure to maintain all the process automation demands in a business unit. As well as supporting any automated processes in development alongside the IT department to help keep a sustainable platform that meets all the necessary criteria and requirements.
An automation COE design has three frameworks distributed, centralized, and federated. The most suitable framework should be decided during the early development of the process creation. Each model has its benefits and limitations that were discussed thoroughly in the lesson showing that every organization has different needs and requirements that will best suit its business unit. As I stated earlier, the most critical factor for determining this framework is that the COE must be fit for purpose in the organization.
As i am new to the sourcing world, I found many lessons challenging throughout this certification course. This course has helped me open my eyes to the different automation process possibilities within an organization to produce a solidified system for the best process automation. Defining and implementing automation processes in the organization will be decided by the people, processes, and technology accessible and what is also necessary to maximize the benefits for the organization; finding new automation opportunities is essential for carrying out the long-term vision for your organization.

The Certified Intelligent Automation Professional program is a six-week course delivered through SIG University’s unique education platform. Visit our website to learn more about intelligent process automation and enroll for the upcoming semester.


Ethan Slade, Lead Intern, Sourcing Industry Group

Ethan is a senior at Florida Atlantic University pursuing a bachelor's degree in business finance. He is a member of several on-campus organizations, and he has had the privilege of serving on the executive board of his fraternity. He has now finished his second certification through SIG University. He has found the courses incredibly insightful and educational in helping him develop an understanding of the sourcing world. As an intern at SIG, he has grown an interest in the sourcing and procurement field and cannot wait to dive deeper into the industry and discover new skills and possibilities for the future.