Service Model: Ask Me Anything

By Lorena Seco de Herrera Ortega posted 08-10-2021 14:16

  


We were delighted to be joined by Blue Prism product experts Rajeev Khanna, Jarod Yang and Emma Kirby-Kidd for a Community AMA session on the topic of Service Model.

This was our last Ask Me Anything session as part of our Rom Essentials program. We've now compiled the key questions and answers all in one place here - but if you want to read the original thread here's a link: June 24th Ask Me Anything: Service Model

Q. Who is responsible for what in a Service and Support Model?

A. Your IT services should deal with everything from critical failures or breaches to some functional simple issues. 
It would be your responsibility to deal with everything from critical process failures to someone asking about operational changes in the digital worker.

It is important to build a strong relationship with IT and understand where the hand-off points between the automation team and IT team are. RK


Q. Is it important to set SLA's with customers within the business?

A. Automating a business process is just like outsourcing a business operation. In this case, the outsourced work is handled by a digital workforce instead of a human workforce. The RPA Center-of-Excellence is the service provider for the job, and the business users, are the internal customers paying for that service. An SLA assures that the work delivered by the digital workforce meets the business requirements and sets the baseline for measuring the performance of the RPA CoE.

Besides the general SLAs on resolution and response time for the RPA platform, many COEs also set SLAs for individual processes, such as completion time, processing speed, exception rate, etc. This information helps them schedule tasks and allocate digital workers to improve the utilization of the digital workforce. JY


Q. How can one realize the potential of reporting? What tools can customers use to aid this?

A. Craft good reporting practices for both your internal and external reports to capture exceptions early and to provide
valuable insight on your processes to all stakeholders. Reporting needs an internal and external lens to become institutionalized: internally, clear channels are needed to ensure exception handling is exemplary; externally, reports can form a new way for your organization to relate to digital workers as digital colleagues.

Your reporting should start within your Pipeline and Governance, you first need to define your Benefits process end-to-end, to then make the processed queue items
within Blue Prism meaningful to a wider organization. RK

Q. Hyper care was mentioned a lot in the video, is that something that sits within the development team typically, or more the service team?

Where do you usually see this sit and be managed with the customers. Any pitfalls to avoid?
A. It is key to understand Hypercare and the importance of it to decide where the responsibility resides during the end-to-end delivery lifecycle. Hypercare is a period where the process has been deployed and requires a very close monitoring and fixes if any issues arise prior to full production deployment. It is also known as a warranty period. Both the developers and process controllers have a role play during hyper care. The development team should account for this when releasing the process into production as it will require their time to react if any issue arises. The process controller should work in conjunction with the development team to ensure the process are running effectively and has no not impact on the business service level agreements.

We can break Hypercare into three phases i.e., monitoring initial results, measuring performance and agreeing on full deployment. The role play of the lead developer and developer is the key in the first phase to monitor the initial results as they must verify and validate each case results and perform fixes if any issues arise. The process controller plays an important role in the second phase through monitoring, control and measuring performance. They would publish management information reports on performance and work on the BAU support policy. This will help to lay clear expectation on engagement & service model required to support operational processes.

We have observed that hyper care periods sometimes go on for months with change requests getting added as fixes delaying the full implementation with both the development team and the process controller being pulled into it. Ideally, Hypercare should run only for 2 to 3 weeks based on the frequency of your process. In case it goes on for long then it is recommended that you revisit your design and methodology. It is important that the roles and responsibilities across phases is clearly defined and followed for a seamless project deployment into production. RK


Q. When speaking to our customer success team, they often say that the control room is the most underutilized, but also one of the most important features of Blue Prism.

Do you have any best practice suggestions for customers to start using the control room a bit more?

A. We have lots of content on the Blue Prism portal which you can view here -  Control Room | Blue Prism Portal
If you have specific questions you need answering then we have an FAQ document that contains most of the common questions we get asked about management of your digital workforce day to day, you will find that here - Service FAQs | Blue Prism Portal

In regards to how you manage your digital workforce's time, in my personal opinion I would recommend you would treat them like you would a human worker and plan their resource, use predicted volumes and analyse trends/timings of processes to keep them working as efficiently as possible. Make full use of the scheduler, make sure you utilize all of your digital workers across as many processes as possible and where possible use out of hours times to run processes. 
Be mindful you will need to build contingency planning and maintenance time in to your schedules to ensure you cover any potential risks.

If you would like to discuss this further or wish to contact us directly please feel free to reach out to us. EK


Q. In the worksheet, we went over Blue Prism's support model – when setting up a Centre of Excellence how can you get started off? With which areas of the business should the CoE be involved? Any tips on onboarding these teams?

A. Building your team is undoubtedly one of the biggest jobs and one that you absolutely need to start off with.  You will need to establish what roles you want in your team and who are the right people for the job. 

How do you start? What is the best method for setting up the team and finding the right people?

This starts with ensuring there is an Executive Sponsor for the RPA programme, an executive that is the champion and is ultimately the driving force for the RPA journey in an organization.

Without an Executive Sponsorship the CoE team may struggle to define the RPA vision; that must be aligned to the company vision and therefore ….

Once there is an Executive Sponsor in place the rest of the team can be formed.

In the initial set up of the team the following roles are essential –

  • Head of RPA
  • Process Analyst
  • Developer
  • Test Analyst
  • Controller

Building a new CoE can be overwhelming in the early days and equally as overwhelming when you are looking to grow the team to prepare for scale. This is where Blue Prism and/or your chosen partner are here to guide and mentor you through this process. Using the industry expertise your Blue Prism team will work with you to define what your CoE should look like to best support your Intelligent Automation journey at every stage.

Indeed, your early CoE model may include resources from a partner. This can be a particularly powerful approach as partners can enable you to start faster while also developing the skills of internal resources. These external team members are often engaged to help build the process pipeline and/or build and run the initial processes.

It is absolutely possible to build a CoE without third-party support, but it is often not the quickest approach. The key is to make sure that there is a clear plan to identify, train and mentor internal team members to ensure the organisation has a solid base of expertise in-house over time.

Whilst there are many roles listed as recommended in the ROM, these are not all necessary in the early days of your CoE. It is quite possible for multiple functions and responsibilities to initially be covered in the core team roles.

The core CoE roles are Head of RPA, Developer and Process Analyst. There is a full list of skills required for these roles on the Blue Prism Portal – Skills and Responsibilities .
This will help you define the right people for the roles.

There are no limits to which departments you can interact with as a team, you can automate in any department that engages with you. Business areas such as Back Office/Admin and Finance are a great place to start. 

If you would like to discuss this further or wish to contact us directly please feel free to reach out to us. EK

Summary

We hope our answers help you better understand around Service Model:

  • A Controller is more than an administrator, they can be an analyst or professional within your Automation team. If your drive for automation opportunities and growth ends at deployment, you are throwing away your greatest advocates: the owners of the opportunity you just fulfilled.
  • How reporting needs an internal and external lens to become institutionalized: internally, clear channels are needed to ensure exception handling is exemplary; externally, reports can form a new way for your organization to relate to digital workers as digital colleagues.
  • How continuous improvement lies not only in your business processes but in your existing automations. If you aren't able to examine and optimize your current process landscape how can you maximize the benefit you drive and deliver?

Thank you all for the questions, and to our experts for giving up their time to answer them on the Community.

If you have any further questions on the topic - please post on our Robotic Operating Model (ROM) Community where community members will be ready to help you answer your queries.

Many thanks.


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