Navigating the era of innovation: How artificial intelligence and automation are driving a digital-first government

AI-powered automation can also aid federal agencies in digital transformation by facilitating seamless integration across various systems and platforms. Softwar...

Each year, approximately 400 million people, including individuals, families, businesses and organizations, benefit from the vast array of information and services offered by the federal government. Moreover, with mobile devices responsible for over half of the 80 billion hours spent interacting with public resources, it’s clear that technology has transformed the way people engage with government services.  

To that end, the Office of Management and Budget has recognized the importance of digital transformation and has been instrumental in driving the government’s shift towards a digital-first approach. In September, OMB released new policy guidance (M-23-22). OMB outlines accessibility for diverse users as a key requirement for federal agencies regarding their websites, digital services, and web and mobile applications. These mandates also prioritize adopting emerging technologies to improve citizen services, enhance data security and streamline inter-agency collaborations.   

The impact of artificial intelligence and automation on a digital-first government

The federal government is turning to emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, automation, machine learning and cloud computing to enhance cost savings, operational efficiency and service delivery. These technologies have automated tasks and enabled complex problem-solving and strategic decision-making, helping agencies move toward a digital-first government in the 21st century. 

For instance, the General Services Administration rolled out its Truman software bot, named after President Harry Truman, that streamlined the federal acquisition process, saving over 5,000 hours of employee time by automatically reviewing 4,000 new Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) offers.   

Additionally, GSA rolled out its CLARA software bot, which sped up the procurement process. When unliquidated debts are uncovered, CLARA swiftly generates the necessary de-obligation adjustment to address them. Once the modification is prepared and ready for signature, CLARA immediately alerts the contracting officer, ensuring an efficient closure of the award in the procurement system. 

According to GSA data, CLARA has successfully completed 15,000 transactions and secured 6,000 awards since its inception. This result has led to a considerable reduction of over 17,000 employee hours. 

Faster service, happier citizens

AI-powered automation can assist agencies in meeting federal mandates by efficiently processing large amounts of data, leading to faster service delivery and increased citizen satisfaction. Software bots can automate tasks like form filling, data input and document processing, allowing agency personnel to focus on more strategic, critical public service delivery tasks. 

When combined with AI, automation enhances digital experiences through personalized interactions. Government websites and applications can provide users with instant assistance and tailored recommendations by utilizing chatbots or virtual assistants powered by AI. Citizens can easily access information, complete transactions or seek assistance 24/7 without human intervention. 

Cutting costs, boosting efficiency

Scalability is another significant advantage of AI-powered automation within agencies. Because agencies frequently experience changing workloads, software bots allow agency personnel to handle increasing amounts of work during peak periods without needing extra labor or resources. This capability enables agencies to maintain high service levels while successfully managing budget restrictions. 

From legacy to modern

AI-powered automation can also aid federal agencies in digital transformation by facilitating seamless integration across various systems and platforms. Software bots bridge the gap between legacy and modern technology, enhancing collaboration between agencies and promoting a comprehensive approach to service delivery. 

In summary, the future holds even more significant potential for AI and automation to revolutionize federal government mission delivery. We expect further streamlining of operations, optimized resource allocation and even more enhanced citizen services. With a forward-looking approach, the government will be better equipped to meet the increasing demands of public service in the years to come.  

Mike Daniels is senior vice president of public sector at UiPath. 

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