Executive Director, Automation

at Merck in Dover, Delaware, United States

Job Description

Job Description

Our Support Functions deliver services and make recommendations about ways to enhance our workplace and the culture of our organization. Our Support Functions include HR, Finance, Information Technology, Legal, Procurement, Administration, Facilities and Security.

Our IT team operates as a business partner proposing ideas and innovative solutions that enable new organizational capabilities. We collaborate internationally to deliver the services and solutions that help everyone to be more productive and enable innovation.

The Executive Director, Head of Foundational Automation is a critical leadership role within the CTO Organization and is responsible for leading, expanding and building core automation capabilities to benefit the entire breadth the company’s businesses. This position will report into the AVP of Foundational Platforms Lead.

The Foundational Automation Team will accelerate our company’s digital transformation by automating the enterprise, first by freeing human resources for highest growth opportunities and margin improvement, then further evolving to unlock new outcomes with scale, efficiency and capability made possible by new automation technologies and methods.

Foundational automation executes work through automation technologies and techniques to radically simplify ways of working enable “never before possible” business outcomes at scale. Starting with transaction processing and data handling across multiple systems, automation will quickly mature to cognitive tasks, predictive analytics and ultimately strive to execute processes requiring machine learning and artificial intelligence. While the first evolution of automation is in the area of RPA, this organization will continue to expand its focus beyond RPA to enable new processes and capabilities that require machine-scalable programming, such as OCR, image processing, crawling. This will drive the movement to easy to use, self-service capabilities that will accelerate the scope and reach of automation across the enterprise.

Key Responsibilities:

The Head of Foundational Automation will have the full support of the Chief Technology Officer and the CTO organization leadership in the below areas where needed, including communication and change management at the executive level as well as issue resolution. The Head of Foundational should take the lead on the areas below and determine how best to utilize support from others.

Key Responsibilities for the Head of Foundational Automation role are listed below, with additional details where needed:

+ Defining and driving our near-term and long-term vision for automation for our Company

In order to expand the influence and impact of automation beyond robotic process automation (RPA), the Head of Foundational Automation will work with CTO leadership to shift the focus to drive and define our longer term vision for how automation moves forward. This should include how to plan and articulate the vision for Foundational Automation from a strategic level and what capabilities and technologies beyond RPA in which we should invest. The Head of Foundational Automation will be responsible to drive the transition from a more standalone automation effort to one which is leveraging the capabilities of other teams within the CTO organization and the broader IT organization as well.

+ Effectively working with our IT and business colleagues within the divisions

Our Foundational Automation work should be embedded into planning activities within the divisions as much as possible. Although opportunistic chances to perform automation work will continue to arise, being more deliberate about understanding key business outcomes and working with the divisional IT and business leaders to utilize automation as a lever for those will be a critical aspect of this role.

+ Driving and implementing the right operating model for automation

The Head of Foundational Automation will develop a point of view on how automation should operate going forward. One key aspect is driving a basic operating model that governs how the Foundational Automation team should interact with other parties. The overall set of responsibilities, from opportunity identification, planning, staffing all the way to execution and value realization will require collaboration from all of the parties mentioned above. The lead will work with all parties to help drive this model to the next level of maturity which requires strong partnering and influencing skills. Furthermore, if there are redundant automation activities that live outside of the Foundational Automation team today, a decision based on that model should be made on bringing those functions into the Foundational Automation team. The Head of Foundational Automation will need to correct the balance of activities which live in the Foundational Automation team vs. those activities which live elsewhere.

+ Implementing effective supply/demand management and funding

To date our engagement and supply demand activities for automation have been more bottoms up or middle-out. The Head of Foundational Automation will be responsible to effectively draw on top-down demand generation as well as benefits driven prioritization working closely with divisional IT and the business, with an effective supply and demand process based on pulled-through value. This will ensure there is agreement on where automation efforts and resources are being deployed and that they are driving the most important business outcomes for the dollars spent.

The current funding model for our Foundational Automation activities reflects a more “startup” mode, understandable since the function was only established in 2020.As automation becomes a more critical and widespread part of our company’s landscape, the Head of Foundational Automation will work with CTO leadership on how to re-frame funding to better reflect its growth and expansion going forward.

+ Championing architecture-based automation reusability and innovation

From a technology standpoint, automation should be driven by sound architecture principles including designing reusability & a “build once use many” approach wherever possible, consistent development practices, and effective integration with various technologies or source systems. Our default design approach should be building common core components and solutions that can be either partially or wholly reused for other use cases, reducing lead time and maintenance. The Enterprise Architecture team within the CTO organization should be leveraged as an enabler/collaborator in this mission.

+ Retaining and attracting diverse and exceptional talent within the team and creating/maintaining an inclusive environment

Attracting great talent, “re-recruiting” existing talent, and facilitating career growth for all involved will be a critical part of the role. Empowering team members to feel like they can experiment, bring new ideas, and in general see a broad range of career possibilities in front of them will be of high importance. Against that backdrop, driving a workforce with diversity across multiple dimensions and one in which all members feel included is of highest priority.

+ Execution excellence & financial management

Excellent execution practices, predictable results, pro-active management of issues, and driving efficiencies for financial benefits will be essential to success in this role.

+ Aligning support from leaders and colleagues within the IT organization

Since automation is at a critical juncture to move to the “next level”, relationship building with IT and even business colleagues at all levels with consistent messaging will be an important key to success.


+ Ability to incorporate innovation and technology vision

+ Expertise in driving technology change, penetration, consolidation and associated change ma

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Job Posting: JC188399829

Posted On: Jul 23, 2021

Updated On: Jul 31, 2021