Digital Transformation in Governments: RPA can be a great Start
Governments are faced with:
· Budgetary pressures to reduce costs
· Increasing citizen expectations for more and better quality services.
How do you combine more and better with lower costs?
The answer is to utilize the potential of digital technologies to enhance processes while at the same time reducing costs. And RPA, Robotic Process Automation, is a great way to start. It is far easier to implement compared to conventional IT solutions and can generate immediate cost savings while improving accuracy and speed.
What is RPA?
RPA robots are not physical entities like industrial robots or R2D2 of Star Wars. Instead, they are invisible pieces of code inside computers. The code can execute tasks like:
· Logging into web and computer applications
· Opening emails and documents
· Extracting structured data from emails and documents
· Entering data into databases and forms
· Copying and pasting
· Moving files and folders
· Doing calculations
What these capabilities mean is that these code robots can be configured to replicate routine human work. Just break down the work into component tasks, optimize them and train the robots to execute the tasks in the right sequence. Validate that they are doing it right till you are confident and then leave it to them.
The robots will work 24/7 (if necessary and feasible) without getting tired and without needing vacations and breaks. They will not get bored and make serious or non-serious errors. Instead, you get high productivity and consistent accuracy, leading to more and better work.
RPA robots cost far less than full time employees or off site personnel who will have to be hired to do the same work. So you get more and better at much less costs!
Government Work and RPA
Where can governments use RPA? The brief answer is that RPA can be used wherever there are routine, predictable tasks to be carried out. Analyze all work to identify repetitive tasks that are executed following specific rules (the robots can even make “if…then…else” decisions) and configure RPA robots (which you can get from suppliers like UIPath) to carry these out strictly according to the rules.
You can then re-assign the employees who were doing these to tasks that require interactions with citizens or that need human judgment going beyond rules.
They are quite likely to enjoy the new work compared to the same old boring routines they were doing hour after hour, day after day! And citizens will be pleased to deal with a human rather than an IVRS.
Let us look at some universal government tasks that are high volume and mostly routine, and thus ideal for automation:
· Processing licensing and permit applications
· Doing tax calculations
· Computing benefits
· Collecting dues and penalties
· Reporting incidents
· Keying in the same information into multiple systems
· School admissions and enrolments
· Student time tables
· Healthcare diagnostics and other routines
· Payroll computations
· Claims processing
Implementing RPA does not involve the kind of disruptions that a revamp of traditional IT systems involve. Such revamps become necessary when conditions change and new requirements emerge. Changes in IT systems are likely to involve significant changes in the way work is done. Additionally, a patch at one place in the code can lead to unexpected consequences at other places.
RPA, on the other hand, replicates the way things are being done now. (However, it is better to review the existing ways and eliminate any redundancies or other problems.) Existing operators can themselves configure the robot to do the work (once they have been trained how to do the configuration).
RPA can also be implemented in a step by step manner, operation by operation, instead of going for wholesale change.
The overall result is a non-disruptive change that can be implemented in a few days (or even hours).
The HMRC Case
HMRC in UK has utilized RPA to achieve major improvements in customer service and increase job satisfaction. According to reports, it used ideas from staff to develop robotic solutions. Some of the results:
· Advisers who give information and guidance by referring to files from different systems found that the robots helped them do the same work with say, just one-sixth of the mouse clicks needed earlier
· Employer registrations were automated, with the robots providing help to employers in completing applications through error messages and guidance notes, and generating unique registration numbers instantly for successful
applications. In addition to employers getting the numbers quicker, the automation saved costs by a reported 80%
The US Context
In the US, automation is expected to save $15 billion in public sector wages by 2030. RPA can ensure that this reduction does not affect the quality of services delivered by the sector. In fact, it can even improve the quality and speed of the services as the HMRC case hints at.
About 12th Wonder: 12th Wonder, a California based company with presence in Japan, India and Africa, uses the Scrum framework to keep in constant touch with customers and develop software that meets their expectations just right. It has also developed products like TITAN and ATD MANAGER for the automotive industry, WONDER HEALTH for pharmaceutical representatives and LOCALIZER for true localization (instead of just translation).
In addition to custom software development, we support businesses to modernize legacy systems by moving native applications to the web, and enhance their competitiveness by reducing back-office costs through RPA.
August 14, 2018
March 17, 2018