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From Center of Excellence to Operations Center


As companies implement Intelligent Automation solutions, once the proof of concept is completed the management of related improvement efforts becomes more important for leveraging the new capabilities across Shared Services, and for many, across the company.   As more formal roles are created, the most typical is to implement a Center of Excellence model to create critical mass, focus, and leverage.  Then, as the base of implemented projects grows, and as the alignment with Information Technology increases, shifting to an Operations Center model as the next logical transition is a design solution increasing pursued by companies with a long history of successful Intelligent Automation projects.

Company Experience

A recent PeercastTM in our Intelligent Automation research area featured a global company with over $15B in annual revenue discussing how their company’s Reporting Center of Excellence shifted to an Operations Center model, with the Reporting Center of Excellence, Intelligent Automation, and Data Science, all included as part of an Enterprise Data Capabilities group that reported into Technology and Solutions, which was part of an Information Technology organization that reported to the CEO.  This change shifted reporting from Global Business Services, which became a separate large-scale organization that also reported to the IT Digital and Technology group. 

Created in 2015, the company’s Reporting Center of Excellence completed over 50 projects, resulting in USD $80M of value creation, with over 250 different dashboards and over 2,000 reports per month.  As the focus shifted to include a greater emphasis on the ongoing production it made sense to shift organizationally to an Operations Center model. 

Additional details regarding the company’s experiences in this area are available on the Peeriosity member website, including the original presentation material, detailed poll results, and PeercastTM recording.

iPollingTM Results Review

Peeriosity’s iPollingTM was used to better understand the approach Peeriosity member companies are taking to operationalize their Intelligent Automation efforts.  Currently, only 6% report that they have transitioned to an Operations Center model, with 38% indicating they are using a Center of Excellence model as a primary resource by customers to develop automated solutions across the company.  An additional 38% indicate they are in a Mature Learning Mode, where they have achieved success in developing a number of automated solutions and are moving towards a Center of Excellence.  The remaining 18% are in an Early Learning Mode where they are gaining experience in developing automated solutions.  Here are the details:

level of maturity at company with delivering automated solutions to customers | intelligent automation

The second polling question asked how Peeriosity member companies expected their organizational designs to shift over the next two years.  Within 2-years, 50% of companies anticipate moving to an Operations Center model that includes having full responsibility for developing projects and for managing the automated solutions and work processes.  An additional 43% anticipate using a Center of Excellence model with the remaining 6% expecting to be in the Early Learning Mode.     

best description where you plan to be in 2 years with delivering automated solutions

A few of the comments from members include:

  • The COE model is currently in place. Responsibility for managing bots and associated processes remains with business functions. More bots and processes may be managed by the Shared Service center in the future, but not feasible to move to a full operations center model. Some processes and associated bots e.g. manufacturing, will likely always require a level of detailed specialist knowledge.
  • As an organization, we have placed a handful of bots into production. A center of excellence exists and serves as a conduit to help provide oversight, and training and ensure some level of consistency across multiple business units. We are still in a growth/training stage but believe we can reach option 3 in the near future as we continue to develop more automated solutions.
  • We have around 40 bots in production; we are working now as an intelligent automation product team to deliver more value.
  • COE model is in place and developing a real-time centralized dashboard for bot performance/troubleshooting. Responsibility for managing bots remains with the operations in the service center (i.e., a person is the digital supervisor). Quite a learning journey.
  • We are still in a transformative stage after an initial attempt at creating an automation COE.

Closing Summary

As companies transition from successful pilots to full-scale implementations, when does it become time for a Center of Excellence to look more like an Operations Center, that is closely managing and monitoring thousands of bots and hundreds of work processes? How does the physical environment change, and what skill sets are required?  Early adopters of Intelligent Automation solutions are making the transition today, with many expected to implement an Operations Center design for Intelligent Automation within the next two years.

What is the level of maturity at your company for delivering automated solutions to your customers?  How do anticipate your design changing over the next two years as more projects move from implementation to long-term production status?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?


“iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility of all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPolling.

“PeercastsTM” are private, professionally facilitated webcasts that feature leading member company experiences on specific topics as a catalyst for broader discussion.  Access is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from attending or accessing discussion content.  Members can see who is registered to attend in advance, with discussion recordings, supporting polls, and presentation materials online and available whenever convenient for the member.  Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, attendees can easily communicate at any time with other attending peers by selecting them from the list of registered attendees. 

Peeriosity members are invited to log into to join the discussion and connect with Peers.   Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted.  To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.

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