Joel Cherkis is vice president of global public sector industry at UiPath.
Every day, governments around the world face similar challenges as they work to provide better support for citizens and businesses, modernize legacy systems, and strive to acquire and retain top talent in their workforce. Each of these issues puts a strain on organizations that are already struggling with continued budget constraints, increased governance requirements, and competition to hire and retain workers in an industry under constant pressure.
When you add policy reforms into the mix, the challenges often seem insurmountable. Conveniently, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is quickly becoming a solution that can provide rapid value and bottom-line results. RPA is being used to resolve some of the biggest problems facing an array of government institutions (central/federal, state, regional, and local).
As we look at the global government industry, there are a few challenges that consistently appear in every region. Some of the challenges of highest interest to government leaders in countries across the globe are:
Challenge #1: Ensuring antiquated systems and processes are included in digital transformation agendas
As legacy system requirements continue to focus on migrations, upgrades, and integrations, RPA is being used to speed these processes and deliver results with far greater accuracy than seen in the past.
In organizations in the United States (U.S.), Canada, United Kingdom (UK), and Australia, local and regional governments are using RPA to streamline auditing processes, improve reporting accuracy, and build tools to reduce fraud in tax and benefits systems.
Meanwhile, central government agencies are using RPA to ensure procurement compliance and onboard new employees, providing the jumpstart needed for a successful career. RPA further assists them in managing complex requirements for inter-agency reporting and collaboration. Employing software robots - or digital workers – supports their efforts to shift attention toward high-value work, because the robots handle the repetitive, tedious processes.
Automation has dramatically increased productivity and heightened the quality of output. Public sector institutions that leverage automation see fewer data errors and improved employee morale. Now, people can work on projects which require the cognitive thinking skills that humans are most capable of delivering.
Challenge #2: Responding to increasing citizen demands and faster action for citizen requests
Both citizens and small business users expect real-time, digital, and on-demand access to governments, but still insist on safer/better access to their data. Citizens also want to receive faster responses to their requests.
We are seeing cities and local governments in Japan, Singapore, Dubai, Canada, UK, and the U.S. deliver solutions via government portals and chatbots to:
Provide updates to citizen records
Allow businesses to check their vendor status
Provide an avenue for online invoice submission and payments
Challenge #3: Shifting public sector workforce demographics
We continue to see the effects of the 'silver tsunami' as government workers retire and leave the public sector workforce.
Governments are not able to find and hire good, qualified talent to replace retiring workers at the pace in which they are losing existing workers. This results in the loss of intellectual knowledge as long-time government workers retire or move to the private sector. It also leaves gaps in process deliverables, because governments lack the headcount pipeline to quickly backfill these roles, resulting in backlogs and errors in system processing.
As the challenge increases at an unprecedented pace, we see governments with the most severe worker shortages quickly adopting RPA solutions to complement their workforce. The results are seen almost immediately. Similar examples exist with central, local, and regional governments globally.
UiPath customer stories bear witness to cities in Japan, U.S. federal agencies, UK government organizations, and groups across the Government of Singapore, which are adding RPA to offset their lack of available, qualified workers. This also provides the opportunity to showcase new technologies in government and potentially attract new talent.
While these are just some of the challenges in government that RPA is addressing, organizations are beginning to adopt an 'automation first' approach and the results are immediate and exciting. This is the power of RPA and the real impact is just beginning to be seen across the public sector.
For a deeper discussion on the role that RPA is playing in government, make sure to read our newest white paper entitled The Path to Digital Government: How Automation Helps Governments Enhance Citizen Services and Improve Agency Productivity. There, you will find examples of stories and successes from governments around the world that have embraced RPA and worked with UiPath to accelerate their automation journey.
The public sector is ready for RPA! Are you?