Robotics process automation: A brave new world

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Years ago, basic automation included macros and some scripts. Today, advances systems allow users to take repetitive tasks and automate many of them in what can be described as a “robotic” processes.

Robotics Process Automation or RPA is a tending abbreviation in the federal government, and Tom Romeo, president of Federal Business at MAXIMUS, joined host John Gilroy  on this week’s Federal Tech Talk to discuss how his company has used RPA systems in many federal applications.

Head shot of Tom Romeo
Tom Romeo, president, Federal  Business, MAXIMUS

The first push to RPA is from the President’s Management Agenda No. 6, which talked about reducing low value tasks and to focus on high value tasks.

The second impetus to RPA is the GSA calling on federal tech leaders to form an RPA Community of Practice.  Essentially, the GSA is acknowledging that the combination of interest in cyber, big data, and virtual machines is making a “perfect storm” for designers to automate systems.

During the interview, Romeo mentions the power that rules-based processes can save time in data collection and reduce human error.  Early RPA systems used primarily structured data with clearly defined rules.  Today’s systems can go beyond that.

Romeo recommended that if you are considering RPA you should manage expectations and consider system changes.  He suggested that a robotic system must be maintained and be able to adapt to changes in policy and compliance.

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