Unlocking the Benefits of Citizen Developer Automation Programs

automation citizen developer programs uipath thailand

Editor's note: For an updated look at successful citizen developer programs, including UiPath customers who have launched citizen development programs that are transforming their businesses and empowering their employees, check out our new e-book.

Original blog post:

Two in three (67%) employees polled by UiPath stated they were doing the same tasks over and over again. This is one reason driving the Great Resignation. Apart from the COVID-19 pandemic causing people to question how, why, and where they work, the mass exodus is also driven by disengaged employees who feel trapped in repetitive and manual work.

As a result, organizations are placing ‘automation first' initiatives on their lists of strategic imperatives. Those organizations slow to implement automation may find themselves falling behind competitors and not know how best to start with automation. Recently, UiPath held a webinar to provide practical advice on these issues. During the webinar, experts shared how organizations can make work more efficient and engaging with automation—and do so in a way that is easy to implement.

Given that most people already use some form of technology in their daily lives, equipping them with new skills in this area is easier now than it may have been in the past, said Andrew McBean, Director of Thailand at UiPath.

“It used to be that the world of IT was for people who were trained or already in it. But now that we have our phones and iPads and so forth, the typical business user is already a digital native,” McBean noted.

Everyone can be part of an organization’s automation journey. Empowering employees with automation improves job satisfaction as well as customer experiences.

Employees can also evolve into citizen developers: non-technical employees equipped with the skills to create simple automations.

Automation boosts employee growth

According to UiPath research on automation adoption, 79% of people who use automation are showing growing interest in building their own robots.

The advantages are clear: by delegating mundane tasks to software robots, employees make fewer errors and have more time to carry out value-added work.

Employees “are happy that the company is investing in them,” explained McBean. “It really does help (companies) hire and retain top talent.”

Bridging the divide between business users and IT teams, automation provides a space for business users and IT teams to work together through a shared platform.

There are time savings too, as the IT team in a large organization typically has one or two years of critical work backlog.

“Instead of business users having to wait in a queue, there is this automation potential waiting to be tapped,” said McBean. “Automation drives efficiency and productivity across the board.”

Robots and increased ROI

The center of excellence (CoE) in an organization usually starts working with robotic process automation (RPA) software and then deploys it for employees’ use.

Related article: What Is an Automation Center of Excellence?

Initially, employees may ask questions like, “What about this idea?” or “What about these problems that we have?”.

Those questions generate new ideas for automations that are passed back to the CoE, unlocking what we refer to as a continuous “automation flywheel.” With the automation flywheel, the momentum of growth steadily increases as employees become more capable of conceptualizing their own automations.

Recommended reading: Accelerating Digital Transformation: Introducing the Automation Flywheel

Once employees are creating their own simple automations, companies can tackle more automations with a lower cost to build and deploy them. The result is a higher return on investment (ROI) than what organizations see with an automation model that is led solely by a CoE.

There are also many disparate systems within an organization, and software robots are very good at connecting those systems.

“They're able to do that without having to rip and replace the system or put in some expensive middleware, which will require expensive talent to run,” explained McBean.

Scaling automation with citizen developers

Citizen developer programs “get automation into the hands of a wide user base, who typically know what the problems are and can tackle that long tail of potential automation benefits within the organization,” said McBean.

Many influential companies have created citizen developer programs to harness the power of technology and scale automation within their own companies.

Hear from four citizen developers working at UiPath.

For instance, the United States Air Force (USAF) uses robots to carry out 20% of the original human workload. Deploying automation to ease day-to-day flying operations enables pilots to fly more frequently and better service their aircraft.

The USAF Digital Wingman Challenge showed acceptance and excitement by both airmen and government employees around automation (read about the "Bouncer Bot," awarded "Best Robot for Business Impact").

Global business consultancy Ernst and Young has nearly 200,000 robots and over 125,000 attended automations in place.

Over at Future, the world’s leading integrated energy company is likely to experience an exponential increase in annual value by scaling automation through strategic partnerships with UiPath—from $25 million in 2021 (with 600 automations) to $702 million by 2030 (5,200 automations).

The benefits of developing a citizen developer community are clear: accelerating the automation journey, generating higher ROI, and enabling greater employee retention and overall happiness.

Perhaps using citizen developer programs we can change ‘the Great Resignation’ to ‘the great inspiration,’ where engaged employees are not only happier but can create more value for their company.

Andrew McBean, Director of Thailand, UiPath

Nuraini Kurnia UiPath
Nuraini Kurnia

Demand Generation Director (SEA), UiPath

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