If the season for modernization is upon federal agencies, then so is the need for serious application of automation. Automation, whether through artificial intelligence or process automation, in turn requires efficient tools. Tools need to let IT practitioners incorporate workflows, data, application logic and occasionally undocumented knowledge into the resulting modernized systems.
The real purpose of modernization is improving customer experience and service, according to Beth Killoran, the deputy chief information officer of the General Services Administration. She spoke on a panel exploring low cost and fast ways of achieving automation, convened by Federal News Network and Bizagi.
But speed is an important consideration, Killoran said, both in getting automation done and in deploying solutions GSA can export to agencies across the government.
For Frank Wood, supervisory IT program manager at the Defense Logistics Agency, speed and efficiency in updating operations is aided by putting tools into the hands of those closest to the operations. They often know best where automation can yield the most benefit.
“One of the things we’re doing with respect to scaling [automation], is to do it by democratizing our ability to develop automations from the bottom up,
Wood said. “Using citizen developers, in the industry phrase, we’ve adopted federal workers actually close to the workflow of the agency.”
Wood added, “These folks, combined with the low code development environment of the platform, allows you to actually involve them in critical design, build, and test activities of the end-to end software development lifecycle.”
He cautions such development processes must be auditable to ensure that the resulting automations can receive authority to operate.
Looking across the federal landscape, Drew Jaehnig, director of government services at Bizagi, said artificial intelligence, machine learning, and business process automation are coming together. Eventually, they’ll “enable things like source selection on contracts, like compliance checks, that can eat up a fair amount of manpower. With a little help from the machinery in the background, you can actually get some of that work done.”
Added Kim Thompson, Bizagi’s vice president for the public sector, agencies are looking to automation to liberate processes related to human resources, onboarding employees, performance management, and adherence to regulations.
“We’re seeing a variety of different use cases from, the benign everyday routine, up through mission critical applications,” Thompson said. She said it’s also happening at the state level, where money from many federal programs is actually disbursed. In one case, a state agency, using Bizagi’s automation platform, eliminated the need to handle hundreds of thousands of paper documents and cutting the time to disability claims decisions.
Killoran also documented some of the results of automations done within the Federal Acquisition Service – in particular its Integrated Award Environment.
“We’ve quantified 73,000 hours saved by having some of these automations and modernization capabilities that we’ve put in place,” Killoran said.
Check out the video webinar to hear more of how low cost, easy-to-deploy automation tools can aid agency application modernization with results you can measure.
Current modernization and automation strategies
Automation use cases in government
Policy framework recommendations
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