Eaton’s RPA center of excellence pays off at scale

Industrial manufacturer Eaton formed a center of excellence to test and implement RPA software and establish best practices for automation at scale.

Eaton’s RPA center of excellence pays off at scale
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CIOs seeking operational efficiency are embracing robotic process automation (RPA), an emerging category of software programmed to execute routine tasks. The technology enables anything from low-level activities such as sifting through and generating response to emails, to orchestrating entire process flows in financial, HR and other corporate IT systems.

Unlike artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies, the capabilities of which are designed to improve as training models collect more data, RPA follows scripts imbued with business logic. IT leaders view RPA as a stepping stone for more sophisticated business automation enabled by AI and ML. But experts say that RPA requires special governance to ensure that it doesn't break critical business processes.

An estimated 40 percent of enterprises will operate RPA centers and frameworks in 2019, according to Forrester Research. But most enterprises don't know how to create such frameworks, let alone implement RPA at scale.

CIO.com found an outlier in Eaton, a $22.5 billion industrial concern specializing in power management, which opened an RPA center of excellence (CoE), a project for which it earned a 2019 CIO 100 Award in IT Excellence. Since 2018, Eaton’s RPA projects have saved more than 15,000 labor hours on an annualized basis, or the equivalent of 10 full-time employees. Like most companies who have implemented RPA, Eaton is using the software to augment, rather than replace existing employees, CIO Bill Blausey tells CIO.com.

Anatomy of an RPA CoE

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