By Viswanath Nandanavanam | Technical Director at Octo
An investment in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can be measured by its ROI, but that is not the only metric that can determine whether an RPA implementation has been successful. Automation can save agencies thousands of labor hours, freeing hundreds of employees from repetitive, mundane, and rule-based tasks. Bringing these savings and employee productivity gains to the workplace can be a game changer, but how do you identify and quantify the improvements?
The routine processing of forms and other data sources, along with the need to respond to changing policies and compliance issues, places a heavy burden on the government workforce. Many tasks that government employees perform require them to use multiple disconnected IT systems that create duplicate variations of the same information, or that have not been updated to meet new policy or regulatory requirements. This labor-intensive workflow impedes federal agencies in achieving their goals and objectives.
RPA technology uses robots to mimic human behavior, reducing demands on the people and systems that support the work of government agencies. A shift in technology toward RPA will bring efficiencies to the government workforce by automating repetitive manual tasks and back-office functions. Federal agencies are recognizing that leveraging RPA improves their bottom lines and allows staff to focus their efforts on more productive and strategic tasks.
The impact of an RPA implementation
Implementing RPA can provide many benefits to government agencies.
Accuracy—Employees performing manual, repetitive tasks (e.g., checking for signatures on forms) can make errors because mundane tasks lead to boredom and loss of focus. Once a robot is set up correctly, it will perform rule-based tasks repeatedly and without errors or inaccuracies.
Productivity—RPA allows the workforce to step away from repetitive tasks, freeing employees to take on other more challenging initiatives. When robots work 24×7, employees have more time to drive innovation in their areas of expertise. The result is a boost in productivity. For example, by using RPA to identify trademark fraud, a robot can look for similarities between two trademark documents and flag possible fraudulent activity, allowing the employee to focus on higher, more complex tasks.
Employee Retention—Jobs with repetitive tasks are prone to high turnover, and ongoing replacement requires onboarding and training. This is time-consuming and expensive. RPA eliminates the repetitive nature of work and improves employee engagement and longevity.
Strategic Initiatives—All agencies have limited workforces, and implementing strategic initiatives often requires pulling away resources from existing tasks. With RPA, employees are freed from mundane tasks and can be reallocated to projects that need innovation and problem-solving skills. This re-allocation of work can benefit both employees, who learn new information and develop new skills, and the agency, which now has a workforce that can focus on longer-term strategies rather than on daily routine tasks.
How can you use RPA? To realize the value and benefits of RPA, ask us to share what we’ve done for other agencies. Contact us at CTO@octoconsulting.com.