RPA training is necessary to guide your workforce through the transformational change that follows automation. To understand why, let’s consider the history of the technological impact on work.
It is virtually impossible to recall a time when we learned of a friend’s wedding through a public declaration by a ‘town crier,’ or had to wait for a telephone operator to plug and unplug cables so we could speak to our aunt over the phone. Thanks to advancements in technology, those jobs were automated decades ago.
But despite the elimination of numerous jobs due to technological developments, and the persisting fears surrounding automation, humans have yet to run out of work. As automation renders some jobs or tasks obsolete, it demands a shift towards a more creative, analytical, and service-oriented workforce.
However, the modern enterprise is responsible for facilitating this shift – thus arises the need for robotic process automation (RPA) training and upskilling programs. These programs should serve two core purposes: first, to upskill internal employees to help lead the RPA initiative, and second, to train employees impacted by automation to assume more specialized roles.
This article will discuss the roles essential for an RPA program, relevant certifications, and how to establish and grow your RPA training and upskilling program.
Which roles are essential for an RPA program?
If you’re planning to implement an internal RPA program, you’ll need to fill the roles below. Enterprises usually fill these roles by both hiring externally and upskilling internal talent. First, there are the four essential roles that you’ll need for the program:
- Business analyst
A business analyst will identify processes and use cases in your organization that are prime candidates for automation. Automating these processes will yield some form of business value, like reduced FTE or error reduction.
- RPA developer
The RPA developer works with the business analyst and process owners to understand the process, and then proceeds to automate it. The developer will use an RPA platform to create, configure, and deploy RPA bots. After the RPA implementation, developers troubleshoot bot performance and make changes to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
- RPA solution architect
An RPA solution architect designs the infrastructure of an RPA project, using relevant technologies and defining the best practices and standards for RPA development. Solution architects collaborate with business analysts to translate identified requirements into automation workflows.
- RPA infrastructure engineer
RPA infrastructure engineers lay the ground for RPA implementation by designing, building, and maintaining the necessary IT infrastructure and environments. In addition, they monitor system performance, address issues, and optimize infrastructure to ensure the seamless functioning of the automated processes.
Additional roles for an RPA CoE
Many enterprises choose to establish an RPA Center of Excellence (CoE) to scale their RPA program across the organization. If you’re planning to establish a CoE, you might want to fill the following roles:
- RPA sponsor
As a senior-level executive in the organization, the RPA sponsor spearheads the RPA program, allocating the necessary budget and setting strategic objectives.
- RPA champions
The RPA champions support the establishment of an RPA Center of Excellence, advocating for the benefits of RPA, educating their colleagues, and even participating in automation efforts. After the CoE is established, the RPA champions will continue to help process owners and employees realize the business value of RPA.
- RPA change manager
The RPA change manager works to address the impacts of the adoption of RPA in the organization, minimize disruption and resistance, and coordinate training program to prepare employees for a more automated workplace. While HR is usually taken on board to facilitate the changes, external change consultants with specialized experience can be more effective.
- RPA supervisor
The RPA supervisor plays a fundamental role in successfully creating a mature CoE and ensuring effective design, development, and deployment of RPA as they oversee and manage a team of RPA developers and specialists.
- RPA service support
Once RPA systems have been deployed, service support is crucial to ensure the ongoing operation, maintenance, and support of RPA through monitoring performance, resolving issues, assisting users, and performing maintenance activities.
RPA certifications and courses to upskill your team
If you’re looking to train and upskill your team for RPA roles, the good news is that there are several online academies that offer RPA courses and professional certifications. Leading RPA vendors, like UiPath and Automation Anywhere, have certifications for various roles, from RPA business analysts to solution architects.
Here are some training courses to help you get started:
1. Automation Developer Associate Training
This Automation Developer learning plan comprises of 22 courses for those starting from scratch to build their automation development competency. This comprehensive plan includes all the information required to pass the UiPath Certified RPA Associate certification exam.
2. Automation Business Analyst Foundation
This online training is designed to impart the basic knowledge and skills required to work as a Business Analyst for automation projects. It includes comprehensive training in the roles and responsibilities of an Automation Business Analyst, concepts surrounding automation, and the UiPath Automation Implementation Methodology framework.
3. RPA Solution Architect
In over 100 hours of course content, this plan teaches to design effective enterprise automation solutions with UiPath through developing a deep understanding of automation development standards and UiPath RPA and automation technology. The plan begins with beginner courses on RPA and automation and progresses to intermediate-level courses on software development and automation processes.
In addition, UiPath offers numerous other courses to help you upskill your workforce, and the Automation Anywhere Academy offers courses at three levels: Essentials (for university learners), Advanced, and Master (for automation professionals). Other leading RPA vendors, like Blue Prism, Appian, and Microsoft, also offer training for different roles.
The vitality of intelligent automation
The combination of artificial intelligence (AI) with automation – in our case, robotic process automation – is coined as intelligent automation (IA). IA helps businesses radically improve productivity by combining the two technologies to automate repetitive processes. The advantage of introducing AI into the mix lies in the technology’s ability to “learn,” making it ideal for complex scenarios where RPA bots can’t perform.
Thus, IA champions are offering relevant courses and certifications to help you upskill team members to assume IA roles. Some popular certifications include:
- Automation Anywhere’s Machine Learning (ML) Engineer course. This professional course upskills workers to assume the highly technical role of an ML engineer, who will lead the implementation of ML models, improvements, and re-training.
- Automation Anywhere’s Citizen AI Developer course. Professionals taking this course will learn how to study business logic and applicable documents to create no-code ML solutions.
How to establish and grow your RPA training program
If you’re planning to implement a dedicated RPA training program, identifying courses and certifications is just one step. You’ll also need to create a dedicated strategy to motivate employees, convince them of RPA’s value, and facilitate their professional growth.
Here’s what you’ll need to do:
1. Consolidate existing resources and identify skill gaps
What are the specific goals of your RPA program? The general objective is to upskill your workforce, but what roles specifically do you need to train people for? And which roles do you need to fill internally?
You can answer these questions by identifying skills gaps within your organization, which entails:
1. Conducting a comprehensive review of your current automation systems and RPA program, if any, including the existent competencies of the team.
2. Defining objectives for your RPA program by focusing on future skills needed for your company and industry.
3. Identifying the key stakeholders for upskilling and training programs, including business analysts, developers, solution architects, and support personnel.
4. Performing a skill gap analysis by measuring employees’ existing skills through tools such as performance reviews, past education and experience, and conversations with direct managers, and then using a gap analysis framework to pinpoint skills that need to be developed to achieve previously formulated objectives.
2. Use your findings to create a tailored training program
After identifying skills gaps in your organization, it’s important to create a roles-based training program. This is because the skills each professional needs may vary – your RPA business analyst and RPA developers will need to develop different skill sets.
As we’ve mentioned above, many existing resources offer role-specific RPA upskilling courses, like the UiPath Academy. However, program leaders will need to determine what training to provide for each role, how to motivate employees and facilitate collaboration, and how to provide employees with practical learning opportunities.
For example, Turkcell’s citizen developer program encourages people to consider different RPA scenarios, and they’re provided with training to formally identify RPA use cases in their processes and workflows. Team members are also encouraged to participate in hackathons, collaborate with colleagues, and work with mentors to refine their RPA scenarios. Thus, teams aren’t limited to just RPA foundational training — they receive hands-on experience with automation, too.
3. Put someone in charge of RPA training
Your RPA program will function as a business unit, one that works closely with other business functions to understand processes and automate them. Thus, members of the RPA program need to function effectively as a team – one that collaborates, communicates, and complements each member’s workflow.
Thus, it’s not enough to form an RPA program by asking individual team members to upskill themselves and fill specific roles. Instead, the enterprise must appoint an RPA program leader to oversee the team’s upskilling, maturity, and growth. These leaders will continually monitor the program’s success, experiment with new ideas, explore new opportunities, and facilitate growth.
4. Select an RPA champion to drive organizational change
Facilitating RPA adoption across the enterprise requires transformational change; you’ll need to cultivate a culture that encourages RPA experimentation, facilitates adoption, and eases fears surrounding automation. Given the magnitude of these goals, it’s important to consider assigning an RPA champion to oversee this change.
The RPA champion can work closely with department leaders and process owners, convincing them of RPA’s business value and facilitating adoption. Similarly, the champion can help departmental leaders ease fears surrounding automation by taking a strategic approach to change management. RPA leaders can demonstrate how automation will help workers become more productive, while providing them with the means to upskill and assume more specialized roles.
5. Grow your RPA program with your existing talent
You’ll inevitably need more trained personnel to scale RPA effectively across your organization, and that’s why it’s important to set up a training program that sustains and grows itself. Your trained RPA developers, analysts, and process owners will motivate, mentor, and train the next batch – and so on. However, to facilitate this change, business leaders must cultivate a culture that encourages automation and innovation, motivating employees to both provide RPA training and accept it.
The end goal is to achieve enterprise-wide automation, with an RPA CoE led by both process owners and technical experts.
6. RPA Governance and the role of the RPA CoE
Many enterprises choose to establish an RPA Center of Excellence (CoE) to build and scale their RPA initiatives across the organization. Creating a dedicated CoE for RPA serves several purposes, including:
- Synchronizing IT with business units. To unlock the full potential of RPA, enterprises must encourage the involvement of business users and process owners. A CoE that comprises both business users and IT leaders creates an environment where the two work closely together, encouraging the discovery of new use cases and rapid deployment of RPA.
- Scaling tailored RPA training. Since the RPA CoE comprises different business units and roles, RPA professionals can train more employees in their respective areas of expertise, gradually growing the RPA CoE over time.
- Governs RPA decisions and deployment. The CoE not only facilitates the discovery of new use cases, but also determines the business value of each use case, hence prioritizing their implementation.
In a previous section, we highlighted RPA roles essential for deploying an RPA program, and additional roles that help make up a CoE. Thus, an RPA CoE may include a mix of these professionals, with a structure similar to the following:
With this structure, there’s a single point of accountability – which resides with the RPA sponsor. Then, each respective RPA professional contributes to digital transformation with their respective expertise – the business analyst identifies key processes for automation, the change manager prepares the teams for a post-automation enterprise, etc. As the CoE matures, it will drive enterprise-wide digital transformation, facilitating the adoption of intelligent automation across the organization.