Robotic Process Automation Improves Government Outcome
Emerging software genre empowers agencies and staff to do more with more using digital assistants.
Pressure, everyone in state and local government feels it — especially since the COVID-19 virus hit. Citizen expectations are rising, software and computer infrastructure are unable to keep up with the surge in transactions, regulations, and oversight but department budgets and staffing levels are stagnant — at best. Do more with less is a recurring mantra. How? Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has the potential to streamline business processes, boost capacity, and transform an agency’s position from reactive to proactive and reduce the backlog of work.
Governments have felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic more than any other sector. New regulations were instantly rolled out, new services created, and the public is looking to its leaders for guidance during these challenging times. As this new reality continues to unfold, technology can be leveraged to help government agencies keep up with demand, significantly reduce response times, and allow employees to focus on being proactive.
RPA Response to COVID-19
RPA, which Gartner pegs as the fastest-growing enterprise software category, represents the next level of workflow automation. Leveraging artificial intelligence and in some cases machine learning capabilities, it empowers non-technical and technical professionals to automate parts of their mundane and repetitive daily work. For instance, the state of California replaced an all-paper renewal system for motor carrier permits with a digit solution, freeing up technicians’ time to focus on other high priority tasks. For information about other government RPA use cases click here.
The emerging solution is horizontal in nature and can be used for many different tasks: data entry, data reconciliation, spreadsheet manipulation, systems integration, automated reporting, analytics, customer outreach, and communications. Possible government applications include streamlining public record requests, Human Resource onboarding, contact center support, financial processing, fraud detection, and determining health care eligibility.
RPA’s Many Benefits
With RPA, employees concentrate on more fulfilling work. The solution automates manually intensive, tedious, repetitive tasks, like checking monthly financial numbers, so employees focus more on high-value work, like quarterly forecasting.
In addition, RPA increases compliance by strengthening controls. For example, an employee only has the bandwidth to audit a 10 percent sample of monthly transactions. An RPA automation runs 24/7, audits the entire data set, and identifies non-compliant records for adjudication. RPA also increases quality by reducing human error.
RPA significantly enhances the responsiveness and productivity of a government agency. For instance, if all federal agencies deployed RPA and all civilian employees saved just 20 hours a year (about five minutes a day), they would make a significant dent in existing backlogs.
Many government agencies feel the pressure to do more with less, and RPA solutions have that potential. In addition, a growing number of RPA features are being developed to address agency needs — and more emerge daily. Where should an agency begin their evaluation? They should start with a simple, routine, repetitive business process and initiate a pilot to demonstrate the value and grow their RPA use from there.
Anthony Fung has more than 17 years of experience in Information Technology management, strategic planning, and operations management. He served as Deputy Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia; was the CEO of a professional consulting firm, with Federal clients, such as DoD, HHS, DHS, and GS; and served as a SCORE counselor, providing advice to small business. Anthony received the Washington Business Journal’s Award and was named one of SmartCEO’s Top 100 CEOs and Top 40 Under 40 Business Leaders.