Citizen Analyst – An enabler of agile scaling and fluent adoption of RPA?
Blog: Citizen Analyst – An enabler of agile scaling and fluent adoption of RPA?
The world keeps on changing, and so does RPA. As we’ve seen with the rise of Citizen Developers, RPA is no longer something that is – or should be – only done in the automation center of excellence by dedicated RPA experts. The so-called Citizen Developers – people working in different business units without any coding experience – have started to take advantage of modern low-code and no-code solutions and automate smaller tasks by themselves.
When governing a Citizen Developer program, it is vital to ensure efforts are centrally led and focused on areas where they are needed. It is far too easy to end up in a situation where every person develops their automations entirely independently with the CoE losing visibility to what is happening. No visibility also means it will not be possible to track the program’s benefits, share knowledge, or re-use and scale up already developed solutions.
Governing a program like this is a topic we’ve previously discussed in an article focused on Citizen Developers. This time, however, we would like to introduce a new related role to the mix.
A Citizen Analyst works similarly to a Citizen Developer but focuses on discovering and assessing automatable processes and tasks instead. Of course, a person can be skilled in both roles, but there is some benefit to having two separate people wear these hats. This way, both can focus on their specialist role and form a dynamic team. Also, as we have discussed before, not everybody can be a Citizen Developer. Considering people’s skillsets is still essential, even if there is less and less emphasis on highly technical aptitude.
Much like the RPA Business Analyst in a CoE, the Citizen Analyst makes sure the business case of a task/process automation is assessed before any development work gets done. Their job is also to evaluate whether the automation is too complex for citizen development and should go on the desk of the RPA CoE instead. Finally, the Citizen Analyst creates a short automation document, combining core PDD & SDD areas and metrics.
The Citizen Analyst regularly provides two additional documents to their team and the CoE; a plan of the next month/quarter and a report of how the previous month/quarter went. The CoE accepts the plan before any projects on it can be started and so ensures that, for instance, duplicate automations are not being developed in different parts of the organization.
Why are Citizen Analysts crucial to your success – with and without taking advantage of Citizen Development?
The Citizen Analyst enables the CoE to maintain an excellent overview of how each Citizen Developer/Analyst team is working and takes on some of the responsibilities otherwise handled by the RPA CoE. They can be viewed as unofficial managers for the Citizen Developers and facilitate a vital communication channel between their business unit, their Citizen Developers, and the RPA CoE.
Image: The organizational role of Citizen Analyst
A Citizen Analyst program also works without Citizen Developers. In fact, having the mindset of building Citizen Analyst-type of CoE liaisons across business units is recommended. Feeding the automation pipeline is much more efficient and insightful when experts familiar with their business units’ particular processes are involved in identifying and assessing new potential targets for automation.
Based on the regular reporting of the Citizen Analysts, an RPA CoE can also form a picture of how many potential smaller tasks or processes there are that, if automated, could benefit the organization. This information can act as a catalyst for kickstarting a Citizen Developer program, allowing the Citizen Developers to then immediately start working on a pipeline of small automations just waiting to be automated, instead of spending valuable time looking for potential targets.
Article by: Niko Lehtonen, Product Manager
Visit Digital Workforce Academy to learn about role-based training for RPA Analysts.