In the current political environment, with increasing financial pressures and the call ‘to do more, with less’, the public sector is faced with significant challenges. Many of these challenges, such as a growing backlog of projects, a need to reduce headcount, or external pressure to keep up to date with regulatory changes, are also being felt by commercial organisations in a wide variety of dispaparate industries. In order to ‘do more with less’, these private businesses have turned to emerging technologies – and robotic process automation, in particular – with great success.
Government authorities and organisations can also benefit enormously from RPA. It can reduce the time frontline workers spend on repetitive tasks, improve the quality of data and free up more resources – all of this with the greater goal of improving service to the public. Let’s take a deeper look at what RPA can do:
1. Lower costs
We all know the stereotype of the public sector being buried in bureaucracy and paperwork. With so many layers of approval necessary for routine tasks before decisions can be made it’s no wonder that so many projects get delayed and go over-budget. With RPA bots in place, these routine decisions can be made automatically, with zero chance of error, significantly cutting the time required for actions to be taken.
2. Increase speed and agility
The highly regulated nature of public sector work can often add unnecessary complexity to routine processes. As a result, focus can sometimes be on adhering to rules rather than serving the public good. Because the approval process for public sector projects is so strict, it can be an uphill battle to enact any lasting change. By adopting automation technology, agility and speed will be baked into the core of any improvements, allowing regulatory changes to be adopted quickly and painlessly.
3. Facilitate innovation
The structure of government organisations are often rigid and ‘set in their ways’. Whilst this may be ‘good enough’ for the most part, it does little to foster a culture of innovation or progression. The adoption of RPA is not only a signal to workers that the public sector is moving into the future; it is also an opportunity to analyse existing IT systems to see what can be improved.
4. Enable scale
Because public sector processes have a reputation for being rigid and inflexible, with foundations rooted in aging legacy systems, an increase in demand has to be forecasted in advance, either by increasing headcount or training existing staff. This, of course, can lead to error and over-allocation. With RPA integrated into operations, segments of an organisation can scale and downsize on demand.
5. Improve customer service
In the modern world of smartphones and immersive technology, people expect fast and easy access to important information and data. The public sector is not always in a position to meet these expectations and, as a result, the perception is generally poor. By adopting RPA, the public sector can keep up to date with private businesses and improve the satisfaction levels of the public at large.
RPA gives organisations the ability to automate monotonous admin, freeing up workers to prioritise more important tasks. As the public sector adopts this new technology we can expect to see huge improvements in service and customer happiness, which is ultimately a great thing for us all.
About the Author
Head of Automation
Aaron Marshall is Head of Automation Practice at Procensol UK, a process-centric solutions provider using low code applications and automation technology to aid digital transformation. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.