Robotic process automation (RPA) is a software technology that makes it easy to build, deploy, and manage software robots that emulate humans actions while interacting with digital systems and software. Just like people, software robots can do things like understand what’s on a screen, complete the right keystrokes, navigate systems, identify and extract data, and perform a wide range of defined actions.
But RPA is not something that we only sell, but also use internally to improve our processes and save UiPathers from mundane tasks. The RPA Center of Excellence (CoE) is the engine that drives long-term automation success within the organization. From ideation to implementation to measuring ROI, a well-run CoE helps you get the most out of every automation. Apart from saving hundreds of thousands of hours, the CoE team fuels our vision of Accelerating Human Achievement by investing in our people. Every year, from April to June, UiPathers from different organizations including marketing, product and engineering, finance, legal, facilities, IT, sales and sales support and services join the Citizen Developer Program.
“Through this program, we are encouraging and enabling our non-technical colleagues to learn how to use StudioX, one of the UiPath products. We go through a dedicated step by step process from basic RPA knowledge to hands on trainings provided by the CoE team members,” says Cristina Motanga, RPA Project Manager within the CoE team.
The program is structured in five phases throughout four months. In the Enrollment phase, non-technical UiPathers who want to become citizen developers can enroll in the program via Athena, our Learning and Development Bot. The next phase is the challenge. This is basically a quiz to validate the general understanding of RPA. During the Online Training Phase, UiPathers embark on five weeks of online training based on Academy courses during which they are assisted by CoE mentors. Then they apply everything they learned in two weeks of hands-on bootcamp sessions. The last step is Graduation. This is when they take their final exam and receive their awards and Citizen Developer diploma. The time investment is around 40 hours spread across 14 weeks.
The CoE team is partnering with the citizen developers after the program. Denisa Nine is an RPA Developer and she is the tech lead for the program. “We encourage our citizen developers to automate. We have a pool of automation ideas taken from Automation Hub. Within this product there’s a section labeled as citizen developer. We assess them, we see if they're good for being automated with Studio X. For this year's program, we plan to keep even more in touch with the participants by having recurrent check-ins with them, track their progress and sometimes give them more resources.”
DeniAdi Ezer, Senior Program Manager, Customer Success, was part of the first Citizen Developer program, and she loved it. “When the program started, I joined the first wave, and I absolutely loved it. I help our CSMs advocate for RPA and for ditizen developer programs. I had to walk the walk and do this myself. Also, I always have ideas for things that I want to automate. I can now actually do it or at least have better understanding of can I do it on my own or if it's something that I need the CoE's help. Even though it's drag and drop, now I can appreciate the process and how we have to think about it.”
One of Adi’s automations was based on an existing one created by the CoE team. She found a process that was already working in HR and she thought she could build something quite similar for customer success, but in a specific way. She submitted a request to the CoE to build a bot that helps us onboard new hires, but not something that HR would do, something that's more role-specific. ”When a new CSM joins the team, we need to add them to a lot of Slack channels, distribution lists, and give them access to specific SharePoint sites that are all very role-specific."
The Citizen Development program offers our people the opportunity to grow in their career by expanding their skills, while learning about the benefits of the UiPath offerings. The closer our people are to our products, the better understanding they will have of the value we bring to our customers and partners and to businesses around the world.