Last month, the European Parliament’s plenary adopted an own-initiative report (the “Report”) outlining a comprehensive European industrial policy on artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. This policy document is one of the latest in a series of related European initiatives, such as the European Commission’s Coordinated Plan on Artificial Intelligence. The Report, though a non-binding legal document, expresses the Parliament’s position in the field of AI and robotics, calling the European Commission to take legislative action.
This is the first time the topic is receiving official recognition at the European level, which serves as a starting point for spreading the RPA message, its positive impact on improving processes within the public sector, and the benefits of helping digitize the economy in general.
The recently published Report specifically “acknowledges the use of robotic process automation [RPA] and the impact it has had on improving public sector processes" and "notes its interoperability with legacy systems.”
Members of the European Parliament noted the potential for AI and robotics to lead new business models, transform societies, and digitize the economy in a number of sectors including public sector, health, energy, agriculture, and transportation.
According to the Report, Member States are urged to lead the digital transformation “by positioning themselves as primary responsible users and buyers of AI technology.” Furthermore, the European Commission is called to boost private and public investment in AI and adopt an ethics-by-design framework, to help ensure that AI will work to society’s benefit.
At the same time, the European Parliament stressed the need to adapt education curriculums “through the establishment of new learning paths and the use of new delivery technologies.” Member States are encouraged, along with the private sector, to develop relevant retraining and reskilling programs to prepare the workforce to succeed now and in the future of automation. The Report stresses the important fact that AI will not reduce the number of jobs, but rather facilitate them.
“RPA as a technology is uniquely suited for the public sector that has many legacy IT systems and repetitive high volume processes. It would release public agents from these tedious repetitive tasks and liberate their time so that they can better serve the public.”
- Vargha Moayed, Chief Strategy Officer, UiPath
The UiPath Enterprise RPA Platform, currently used in more than 40 government agencies around the world, has helped put agencies on the early path to improving public services, controlling costs, and preparing for the arrival of AI.
An example of RPA’s value add can be seen at the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), the largest government department in the United Kingdom. DWP is responsible for the provision of welfare and pension services and making around £177 billion payments to 20 million people each year. Delivering outstanding customer service has always been a priority at DWP and a key element in achieving this is the constant transformation of the way it delivers services to reduce costs and increase efficiencies.
In 2017, DWP created the ‘Intelligent Automation Garage’ to deploy digital technology to automate routine tasks, increase productivity, and improve decision-making. The Garage’s first task was to bring 17 separate RPA projects together and focus on four pilots. It took only 12 weeks to get from concept to robotic deployment and achieved an annual savings of several million pounds, according to DWP’s projections.
Prior to implementing RPA, the process for new pension claims had led to a backlog of over 30k claims. By deploying 12 UiPath Robots – handling 2,500 claims per week - DWP managed to clear the backlog in only 2 weeks. Shaun Williamson, Senior Product Manager at DWP, estimates that the department would have needed to employ thousands of people and taken several thousand hours to catch up. According to Williamson, “Our experience suggests that the return on investment is around 15:1.” Read the full story here.
Through our Academic Alliance, UiPath is working closely with leading institutes, universities, schools, governments, and other organizations to craft the global RPA knowledge ecosystem and shape the future of work. Learn more on how to empower students with automation skills on campus through specially designed RPA curriculums here.
Margareta Chesaru is a Public Affairs Specialist at UiPath and can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.