The demands of the public sector are higher than ever, and the governments face severe constraints. Cutting costs means efficiency in good times and a necessity during harder times. Nevertheless, cost efficiency is one of the key objectives of all governments. Yet many such projects fail due to the wrong approach, i.e., reducing costs less likely to sustain the intended cost reductions. In other words, governments tend to reduce budgets in ways that are not sustainable. Governments have started leveraging on smarter means for managing public sector expenditures. These are permanent solutions that help in cutting costs without compromising on the quality. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is an intelligent approach to help realize public sector efficiency in terms of cost and quality.
In the past, the public sector has been either slow or unable to adopt digital transformation. Recently, governments have shown more adaptability towards technology, and RPA is one way that aided this trend. While RPA brings enormous benefits through automation of processes typically run every day in public sector agencies, it is a non-invasive technology that is convenient to adopt and can be introduced in phases. Since RPA doesn’t have to be operated to an end-to-end process, it enables large departments to automate sub-processes seamlessly, with low costs and minimal disruptions. Accordingly, RPA closes the gap between novel technologies and legacy systems in the public sector.
RPA is a rules-driven technology that does not require any human judgment. It takes care of all the repetitive tasks that involve data manipulation and data migration. All the data-intensive processes that have a high error rate, include sensitive information, and are electronically triggered are the potential candidates for RPA. Governments generally depend on massive databases that involve a large number of transactional activities. Public sector workers dedicate a substantial portion of their workdays in such operating tasks as collecting, cleaning, and reorganizing data. Consequently, the workforce has less time to assign more germane roles that entail data integration and analysis. Implementing RPA has been recognized by various public sector domains such as healthcare, education, police, central government, local government, to name a few. A significant amount of use cases in these sectors are a testimony for other countries to consider.
The central governments can automate universal credit and benefit calculations, tax calculations, and licensing application processing. All these functions are data-intensive, involve mundane but necessary handling of data, and cannot afford errors. For local governments, RPA can be used to automate processes related to revenue collection, permit applications, and incident reporting to highlight a few. The new machinery of government: Robotic Process Automation in Public Sector by Deloitte LLP underscores the use cases in public sectors and reports an increase in throughput and ROI and reduced costs as the primary outcomes. Nonetheless, RPA brings many benefits to the public sector and a smart approach towards digital transformation.
To summarize, RPA can handle complex tasks with speed. RPA enables optimization of data collection, consolidation, and indexing to set up all processes with accurate information. It also introduces accuracy to payments and distribution as RPA returns results that are consistently error-free. Through automation, RPA enables smoother and quicker delivery of services and enhance service levels. Automating repetitive tasks helps the public sector improve their operations, reduce costs, and improve citizens’ service. Employees appreciate the benefits of RPA as it relieves them from mundane activities to focus on more value-adding projects and serve the citizen. Public sectors that have adopted RPA find the functioning least disruptive during crises such as the present Covid-19. With fewer employees at work, bots perform tasks 24/7, can be remotely accessed, and mitigate the majority of the risks associated with shutdowns. For these reasons, RPA is envisioned as a critical driver towards digital transformation in the public sector.