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Citizen Developer Governance: Unlocking Automation at Scale

Home » Digital Transformation » Intelligent Automation & RPA » Citizen Developer Governance: Unlocking Automation at Scale


Eduardo Diquez

Managing Director of Intelligent Automation

Citizen developers hold the key to enterprise-wide automation – if they are managed effectively. Choosing the right participants and establishing proper citizen developer governance and controls lay the foundation for a successful initiative that paves the way for hyperautomation at scale.

In a nutshell, citizen developers are non-technical employees eager to learn how to automate so they have more time for higher-value work. They significantly increase an organization’s development capacity by learning to create simple automations for themselves or their department with no-code tools like UiPath’s StudioX.

Citizen developers ensure Robotic Process Automation (RPA) permeates every level of an organization by automating what UiPath calls “the long tail of automation.” These are the 40%+ of processes that fail to deliver ROI that justifies prioritization in a company’s RPA Center of Excellence (CoE) – but can significantly increase productivity and satisfaction for single or small groups of employees.

In our first blog on citizen developer programs, we showed how empowering the subject matter experts themselves to eliminate their tedious work can be your secret weapon to unlocking hyperautomation.

In this article, we provide specific steps for creating the citizen developer governance, controls, and value capture that maximize the potential of citizen developers, ensuring the security, quality, and consistency that creates the cornerstones of RPA success.

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Without citizen developers, opportunities that comprise “the long tail of automation” (shown in orange) are never captured by CoEs that must prioritize higher-value work.

How to create citizen developers within your organization

Finding employees willing to become RPA citizen developers from the business side of an organization is rarely a challenge. Nearly 90% of employees say they want more opportunities to learn new skills, and 83% wish their company provided ways to upgrade current skills.

But citizen development initiatives aren’t right for everyone. While formal coding experience isn’t necessary, basic technical knowledge creates an easier path to success.

Attitude matters as well. Generally, the best potential citizen developers stand out as natural problem-solvers, with a track record for trying to improve their department or company. They are interested in learning new activities, think critically, and understand their department’s processes.

They are also excited about automation and feel empowered to bring it into their workspace.

Best Practices for Starting a Citizen Developer Initiative

  1. Start small
  2. Put potential developers through a structured training process
  3. Create an internal certification program that puts automation training to the test
  4. Implement centralized license governance

Best practice is starting small: choosing one or two interested employees from within various departments like finance, marketing, and HR. Putting potential developers through a structured training process is an essential step.

For instance, UiPath Academy offers an 11-course Citizen Developer Foundation that supplies the step-by-step training and resources non-technical employees need to create simple automation with StudioX.

”The way to scale a citizen development program is not only by understanding automation and what it is but also empowering your organization to be part of the program.”
Jairo Quiros
SVP Global Shared Services & Head of Global RPA COE

But forward-thinking companies take extra steps to ensure citizen developers understand the technology well enough to build bots.

In a recent Auxis webinar, “Achieving Hyperautomation with UiPath: Your Roadmap to Scaling RPA the Right Way,” Jairo Quiros, Head of Equifax’s Global RPA CoE, detailed how his organization expands UiPath’s training with an internal certification program. Equifax stands out as a phenomenally successful example of hyperautomation, with about 500 bots operating throughout its organization.

After potential citizen developers complete the UiPath training, Equifax puts their automation skills to the test by requiring them to demonstrate that they can deliver a bot within a particular timeframe. If they succeed, they earn Equifax certification and citizen development licenses.

Equifax also closely monitors citizen developer productivity, ensuring licenses aren’t wasted on citizen developers who don’t continuously deploy bots.

This type of license management is a critical component of a high-achieving citizen developer program. UiPath’s automation platform stands out in the market with the ability to provide centralized license governance that helps organizations monitor development activity.

That way, licenses that stay idle for too long can be reassigned to another citizen developer, optimizing costs and ensuring automation assets are utilized in the best way.

Set the stage for success with citizen developer governance and the right technology

The foundations of Citizen Developer Success

  • People
  • Processes
  • Technology

After you have the right people in place, the right processes and technology are the final ingredients of a successful citizen developer program.

1. Choose an RPA tool that enables robust citizen developer governance.

For most organizations, the biggest hesitation about decentralizing RPA boils down to a lack of citizen developer governance. Concerns surround compliance issues, not understanding what bots are running and why, and an inability to correct issues if the person who created a bot leaves the company.

Once again, UiPath’s platform stands out in the automation market by enabling CoEs to establish rigorous citizen developer governance. Its tools help CoEs define what users can and can’t do and builds an automatic audit trail that ensures quality and compliance.

Establishing a structured process for CoE oversight is key to citizen development success. Imagine a citizen developer in the Finance Department creates a bot on StudioX that can automate a journal entry process for 12 accountants.

Before the bot goes live, the developer’s code must be submitted to the CoE through Orchestrator, UiPath’s centralized automation management tool. That process enables the CoE to review, curate, and govern the automation to ensure stability and best practices. The CoE can also assess whether the bot benefits others.

Once the bot is approved, the CoE deploys it to appropriate users – enabling centralized control of who uses every automation and the reasons why. This centralized citizen developer governance is also essential for tracking the benefit of citizen developer bots.

2. Measure the benefit of employee-driven automation.

Senior stakeholders agree to embark on automation journeys because of the promised value. But too many organizations fail to measure the benefits bots provide – and therefore can’t prove they capture value.

Whether success represents hours saved, faster transactions, or something else, quantifying the benefit of citizen-developed bots helps you understand the value your employees derive and justify continued investment.

Bring the benefits of RPA to every person in your organization

It’s nearly impossible to find another technology that can deliver the same quick benefits as RPA in the post-pandemic era. But even the most successful journeys struggle to maximize automation potential by delivering grassroots benefits.

Citizen developers are essential to company-wide hyperautomation. They improve productivity, efficiency, and job satisfaction for themselves and their departments by automating hated chores too small for inclusion in a CoE’s pipeline.

”We have created a citizen development program that has helped ys increase employee efficiency and awareness across the organization.”
Elena Sala
RPA Ambassador

In the Auxis webinar, Elena Sala Pardo, RPA Ambassador at Orange, also emphasized how citizen developers accelerated awareness of automation benefits throughout her company – overcoming resistance to new technology and fear of robots. Orange represents another successful example of automation at scale, with about 500 bots running throughout its enterprise.

UiPath offers the bottom-up approach to hyperautomation the easiest path to success, with exceptional tools and training specifically designed for RPA citizen developers. Its platform stands out from other solutions by providing a truly simple automation platform for non-technical employees robust centralized citizen developer governance capabilities, and more.

In fact, UiPath is consistently ranked as the #1 automation platform overall by respected organizations like Everest Group, Gartner, and Forrester.

Leveraging the power of citizen developers with the right people and technology allows organizations to bring the benefits of automation to every employee. But building the right controls and capturing value is just as essential to democratizing automation successfully.

Partnering with a reputable third-party provider can help you unlock digital transformation on a global scale, offering valuable support and expert advice on the best way to empower employees while building the right connection to citizen developer governance and value capture.

Written by

Eduardo Diquez
Managing Director of Intelligent Automation
Eduardo is the Consulting Director of the Intelligent Automation Practice at Auxis, including the ongoing management of its IA Center of Excellence in Costa Rica. With over 10 years of experience in process improvement and finance transformation, Eduardo has a proven track record working with C-level executives in the design and implementation of back office optimization initiatives, with a deep focus on delivering long-term, scalable Automation Programs. Eduardo has successfully delivered over 200 robots to more than 30 different organizations across multiple industries including retail, financial services, hospitality, healthcare, and manufacturing.

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