Public Sector Summit Rewind: Why Public Sector is Embracing Automation
When I think back to the UiPath FORWARD 5 conference, I remember how passionate government customers were as they shared why they are committed to automation as a priority. Each of them has seen the results of automation firsthand and are doubling down to accelerate it across their organizations. Automation is empowering public sector employees to better serve customers and the mission without investing in costly and time-intensive rip-and-replace technology modernization projects.
It was clear when listening to these state and federal customers that automation is viewed by the public sector as a mission imperative—it delivers a frictionless experience to employees and customers, and enables unparalleled time to value.
“Automation is changing the nature of how work gets done,” Mike Daniels, Senior Vice President of Public Sector at UiPath said during his introductory remarks to kick off the Public Sector Summit at FORWARD 5 in Las Vegas.
Increasingly, organizations in both the public and private sector are relying on automation to modernize in the face of unprecedented economic uncertainty, the shift to a hybrid workforce, the need to digitally engage employees and citizens, and early retirements compounded by the increase in employee turnover.
“Organizations are just beginning to learn how to scale automation to achieve enterprise transformation,” Daniels continued. “Enterprise value is driven at the intersection of data, systems, process, and people. We [at UiPath] are uniquely aimed at working seamlessly across all those elements to drive transformation.”
Daniels also noted that a nimble, technology-agnostic, cost-effective automation platform allows public sector agencies to compress time to value and foster improvements across business operations and the customer’s digital experience.
The State of Tennessee is much nimbler now that automation has been deployed across the state’s 23 state agencies, according to Bob Pucci, Executive Director of Intelligent Automation for Tennessee.
“Nimbleness. Be it public or private sector, what we have accomplished is nimbleness,” said Pucci. Thus far, Tennessee state agencies have boosted worker productivity and improved public service delivery by deploying UiPath technology. The state started by automating some processes in 11 agencies, including agriculture, children’s services, environment and conservation, and finance and administration. State leaders plan to implement automation in all state agencies by Fiscal Year 2027.
The Defense Logistics Agency and Naval Supply Systems Command (NSSC) are using automation to meet the logistical needs of the military services, while the Air Force is encouraging non-technical service personnel to develop and use software robots for various use cases.
“Automation is helping NSSC drive speed and agility within the IT services department,” said Kenneth Ford, NSSC IT program manager. NSSC has saved 21,000 hours of labor avoidance, freeing the workforce to do more value-added work. Currently, NSSC is evaluating a backlog of more than 56,000 hours of programs that will provide labor avoidance when they are automated, Ford said.
Meanwhile, airmen have received training in UiPath automation, taken computer science courses from Harvard and Yale, and learned more about automation tools via road shows, according to second lieutenant Felicity Horan, Deputy Program Manager for the Robotic Process Automation Center of Excellence at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base (AFB).
Horan shared how select bases are using automation to save airmen from manually processing tens of thousands of background checks per day. The Bouncer Bot is a remote process automated robot that completes background security checks on guests entering Air Force installations.
The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health used robotic process automation (RPA) to handle the huge volume of data—terabytes of data—generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The health department needed as much information as it could get across the jurisdiction to determine what types of disease intervention would be effective, according to David Cardenas, Deputy Director of Operations with the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health.
“We’ve never dealt with anything like this on that scale,” Cardenas said. Information comes from medical providers, hospitals, clinics, and laboratories. But it is not seamless coming from one medical system. Information comes in by fax, emails, phone calls—all of that is captured in multiple ways, Cardenas said.
Working with UiPath and partners, the health department used automation bots to ingest information from spreadsheets and enter it into the system of record, freeing the data entry staff to work on high-level analytical tasks.
Over 1.7 million records processed
Estimate about 155,000 hours saved over the last two years
More than two dozen resources reassigned to higher value areas
The State of Georgia is applying automation to streamline the process of verifying eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Previously, case workers had to manually sift through 47 different databases and portals to determine the accuracy of application information, said Christopher Aspey, Assistant Deputy Commissioner with the Georgia Department of Human Services.
“We have an amazing team of case workers, 3,000 strong. Their time is limited. We want them to spend most of their time working with customers,” he said.
Bots now check portals based on social security numbers and verify that the information is accurate. However, robots do not approve forms, which is still the purview of case workers. Automation does not replace workers—instead, it augments their capacity to work on meaningful things, Aspey said.
Today, universities are not only grappling with declines in student enrollment, but also an increase in employee turnover. In a time of declining enrollment and budgets, Georgia Southern University is looking for opportunities to boost efficiency, according to Ashlea Anderson, Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Georgia Southern University.
One opportunity existed in the enrollment management division, a part of the University’s Admissions Office, which has experienced a lot of staff turnover, Anderson said during a FORWARD 5 public sector session.
Using software robots, the university automated Transfer Articulation test scores, which typically involves manually reviewing and entering test scores from the report into the university’s student information system. On average, admissions personnel view 5,500 test scores a year. “The ability to take that manual task off of that team was a huge win,” said Anderson.
Meanwhile, Georgia Southern University’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) identified eight processes within the budget amendment and invoicing functions that could be automated. This allowed the CFO to repurpose 24 positions and upskill staff members for tasks that contribute to career advancement. This action saved the university $1.5 million in expenses, which was then invested in the school for other projects.
For more on how automation is improving public service delivery, accelerating digital transformation, building career opportunities in government, and more, watch more FORWARD 5 sessions online.
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