Blog | May 20, 2021

Embracing the Citizen Developer in the Intelligent Automation Era – Part III

Providing the Right Environment for Success

Providing a Secure, Well-Governed Environment for Citizen Developer Success

The Blue Prism Robotic Operating Model (ROM), actively used by Blue Prism clients for over a decade, prescribes the empowering and educating of individuals (Citizen Developers) across the organization so that they can create new automations. In alignment with the ROM, there are four core pillars that need to be in place to ensure successful citizen-led development, and this blog will cover the last two.

Establishing a Citizen-Led Development Model

Establishing a Citizen-Led Development Model

Security and Compliance

Blue Prism automations are often used for business-critical processes, and therefore the ability to appropriately secure automation design activities is taken very seriously.

Establishing the appropriate security and compliance in a citizen-led development model involves several key activities performed by the CoE, including:

  • Defining access rights and privileges for users across development, test and production environments
  • Implementing “multi-team environment”
  • Creating Digital Worker and user credentials
  • Establishing access to target applications for Citizen Developers and Digital Workers

Citizen Developers collectively or within Business Units can be set up to leverage Blue Prism’s Role Based Access Control. This capability enables organizations to model increasingly complex security configurations within Blue Prism by extending the existing role-based access controls to enable element-level permissions. This facilitates organizations sharing Blue Prism assets, such as Business Objects and Runtime Resources, with multiple teams within a given Blue Prism environment by allowing permissions to be assigned not only based on the type of asset but also based on the hierarchical structure of the assets.

Governance Framework

Governance, which is covered extensively in the ROM, is critical to the success of a citizen-led development program. The CoE plays a key role in defining the strategy, governance, service and delivery model as well as providing tools for success. Then on an ongoing basis the CoE helps improve skills and best practices. This enables the Citizen Developers to identify and assess processes in line with the CoE’s guidance and governance as well as deliver automations in accordance with best practices and standards.

The Governance Framework, at a minimum, should include these components:

Automation Methodology and Toolkit
  • Well-defined SLDC with training made available to Citizen Developers
  • Tools/templates for deliverables
  • Stage gate reviews at Discovery and Definition, Design, Testing and Deployment
  • Deployment and governance/hand-off mechanism
Design Authority and Quality Control
  • Design authority that ensures that all solutions are being built to standards and methods, utilizing any shared objects available
  • Regular checkpoints from the COE with the citizen-led delivery teams to ensure projects are on track
  • Citizen-led delivery team access to the COE for technical excellence and expertise
  • Community of practices and method sharing in place to help upskill Citizen Developers
Care and Feeding
  • A clear change management approach that mitigates business and system changes through the automation landscape within the organisation
  • Regular performance check and feedback on the digital workforce in the live environment so that the integrity of the RPA platform and brand is upheld
  • Working groups to enable RPA Citizen Developers and the COE to meet regularly to discuss issues and resolve escalations

In some cases, a Citizen Developer may create an automation that proves to be useful to hundreds or even thousands of employees, making it a candidate for an enterprise solution. However, distributing a personal citizen-built automation to thousands of employees introduces risk, so it is critical for the CoE to review/refine/test the automation before it is widely distributed. A CoE developer should also ensure that best practices have been followed, such as including the proper exception handling for a variety of issues.