HOW TO TAKE YOUR FIRST STEPS IN RPA IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR

04/03/2020 | blog

 Here are my top three considerations and pointers on how to take that first step.

Like any new advance in technology, robotic process automation (RPA) has spent the first few years finding its feet, being tested by the market and understanding where its limitations are.

Over that time, RPA has naturally developed as an offering and started to become more widely understood and accepted by the market. As with most things, the private sector has been quicker to adopt than the Public Sector and as such; there is still quite a way to go with general understanding of the technology and what it’s capable of.

So, what is RPA & Workforce Automation?

At its heart, RPA and Workforce Automation is software that mimics the behaviours of humans in order to execute office-based work. Different providers have varying levels of offerings, however, as a general rule, this creates the ability for your organisation to complete mundane, high volume repetitive tasks 24-hours a day, 365 days a year and in an error-free manner.

Why bother?

As with most things; the human aspect of how we deliver office work is the most inefficient component. We only work productively for 6 hours a day (on average), we tire and our concentration lapses, so we make mistakes and we’re limited by the role or function of the business in which we work.

What Outcomes should I be aiming for?

Within the public sector I see three key outcomes as being critical:

Drive Efficiency & Productivity Gain. This can then support the redistribution of skills across the organisation, staff rationalisation, or the ability for the same staff to handle more and higher value work.

Increased Staff Engagement. By taking repetitive, low value, volume-based tasks off of people’s desks, automation allows them to actually do the role they were employed for and deliver greater value back into the business. Using Workforce Automation to carry out the simple and mundane tasks frees up human workers to do what you want people to be doing – thinking, questioning and adding value.

Enhancing Citizen Outcomes. With the benefits of automating tasks and processes comes the ability to shorten time to service, reduce the number of “service islands” within your organisation and lower the cost of delivery. These all add up to massively enhanced outcomes for the most important people effected by public services – the citizen.

How & Where to Start

1)     Understand exactly which areas of your organisation are dealing with low-complexity but high-volume processes (data processing, re-keying etc.). This is the time to conduct some very quick analysis around the business to identify:

·      Number of times a given process takes place.

·      How long does each instance of the process take to execute?

·      How many people execute the process(es)?

·      What is their loaded FTE headcount cost to the business?

2)     Create a budget and environment to prove the value in any automation offerings. This relates as much to the culture and people involved as the financial aspect. However, work on the basis that automation will work (it’s been around for nearly 10 years now) but be accepting there will be learning on both sides – client authority and supplier.

The vendor or partner supplying the automation solution will need to learn about the nuance of your organisation and how automation interacts with the existing processes. The best way to do this is by engaging in some form of Proof of Value (PoV), however, make it a defined single process (or two at maximum) and work within an aggressive time-frame (60-90 days max). There is also value in tying this to the incentive of a contracted deal which follows a successfully PoV.

3)     Engage with a vendor or partner who can scale their offering and platform according to what your changing needs may be in the future. Ideally, this means partnering with a supplier whose platform is SaaS based rather than client or traditionally “on-premise” deployed.

Some of the legacy RPA / niche screen scraping offerings will have limitations on how and where they can be deployed as well as their ability of being scaled in an agile or elastic manner. 

Going into the year 2018, offerings should be scalable and flexible as well as having the capability of being deployed in a dynamic and intelligent manner. If not – then you may find yourself severely restricted on the realisation of the true business benefits further down the line.

Conclusion

Automation is here, and it will only become more pervasive over time. Those organisations who work in a pragmatic and partner-based way with vendors will be the first to leverage the upsides. They will be the vanguard bodies making strides ahead of their peers in the coming 12-36 months.

If you want to find out more about some of the very real and tangible benefits Intelligent Workforce Automation can provide, whilst also mitigating the challenges; speak to a recognised vendor and seek their professional advice. Enter the discussion thinking “partner based” and look to learn as you go!

To find out more about Thoughtonomy’s Public Sector offerings and use cases please visit: https://thoughtonomy.com/solutions/public-sector/

To request a complimentary Process Selection Workshop and demonstration of the power of the Thoughtonomy Virtual Workforce® contact me: philip.sheen@thoughtonomy.com

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