FedInsights by UiPath

The ROI of moving automation from back office to mission areas

The Rapid Growth of RPA

A technology like this is really allowing federal employees to do a lot more with less. It has tremendous value proposition, a tremendous return on investment…and it’s really ramping up that productivity curve that’s become flat over the last decade.

The Workforce and RPA

We have some capabilities that allows you to identify processes that are ripe for automation. We have a task mining tool that looks at your day-to-day tasks that you do and where would automation fit to allow you to save time.

In the fiscal 2021 budget request, currently making its way through Congress, the Trump administration said there were about 30 initiatives using robotics process automation and other emerging technologies and another 20 focused on digitizing agency processes.

To see just how far the use of RPA has come in the past year, take a look at the previous year’s budget request where the administration was almost just introducing the concept of using software to take over the mundane and repetitive tasks.

Now there are hundreds of RPA implementations ranging from NASA to the General Services Administration to the IRS to the Patent and Trademark Office.

GSA estimates that RPA could free up nearly $1 billion worth of productive time across the government.

There also now is a RPA community of practice, a RPA playbook, internal controls guide and a federal use case inventory. The community of practice and CIO Council released all of these over the last six months.

Despite the growth and potential of RPA, agencies still can’t just jump into using the new technology. There are process, technology, data and training considerations that ever organization must consider.

Chris Townsend, the area vice president for federal sales at UiPath, said this unprecedented growth and acceptance of automation comes from the desire for agencies to have employees no longer focus on menial or “low-value” work and spend more time on mission activities.

“A technology like this is really allowing federal employees to do a lot more with less,” Townsend said on Innovation in Government. “It has tremendous value proposition, a tremendous return on investment…and it’s really ramping up that productivity curve that’s become flat over the last decade.”

A perfect example of how agencies are ramping up this productivity curve is the Veterans Affairs Department

Townsend said VA has been using RPA for about a year to enter health records coming from a non-agency doctor into the records system.

“There was upwards of 10 people per VA medical center at 160 medical centers across the country who had to be repurposed just to process this amount of paperwork, and there was so much of it, they weren’t able to keep up with it. The backlog slowed the ability of veterans to get referrals,” he said. “We have been working with VA to automate a lot of that ingestion and processing of all that paperwork. By doing that, we can take these 10 folks per medical center and get them back to their day jobs. We were able to work through the backlog and the return on investment is in the tens of millions of dollars in a year’s time.”

Townsend said UiPath is working with a host of other agencies including the Social Security Administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service and the Homeland Security Department to use automation to address similar paperwork challenges.

“There is a lot of human involvement that takes place in migrating data from legacy systems into a new systems. We have a lot of federal employees who spend all day taking data from one system and loading it into another system because there is no ability to aggregate or get those two systems to integrate with each other,” he said. “RPA fills that gap where we can take data from the legacy platform and help migrate it to a new platform, and do it in an automated way so we can free up that employee so they can focus on servicing the constituents of the agency or doing work that requires more thought.”

Townsend said automation tools also can help prepare agencies to move into artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities.

He said through RPA agencies can help clean up and normalize data so when it goes into the AI or ML model, the agency receives better analytical results.

The next step in the automation process is the concept of hyperautomation where an organization integrates automation into all applications, systems and making it ubiquitous across the environment.

“What we are seeing is rapid adoption and acceleration of the RPA technology is really implementing it as a platform across your organization,” Townsend said. “We have some capabilities that allows you to identify processes that are ripe for automation. We have a task mining tool that looks at your day-to-day tasks that you do and where would automation fit to allow you to save time.”

At the same time, Townsend said agencies need to be aware of automation siloes so creating a center of excellence and governance process is an important early step.

“What that allows you to do is it gives you the tools, the enterprise management capability…that can help scale and manage the automations across very large, complex enterprises,” he said. “This technology can solve mission problems that you don’t necessary think about bringing an IT solution to right away.”

 

About UiPath

UiPath is leading the ‘automation first’ era–championing a robot for every person and enabling robots to learn new skills through artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Through free and open training, UiPath brings digital era skills to millions of people around the world, improving business productivity and efficiency, employee engagement, and customer experience.

The company’s hyperautomation platform combines the #1 Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solution with a full suite of capabilities, including process mining and analytics, that enable every organization to scale digital business operations at unprecedented speed. The company has already automated millions of repetitive, mind-numbing tasks for businesses and government organizations all over the world, including more than 50% of the Fortune 500 and 8 of the Fortune 10.

Named a 2020 CNBC Disruptor 50 company, UiPath was recognized as the fastest growing technology company in the Americas according to FT Americas’ Fastest Growing Companies 2020 and named the top company on Deloitte’s 2019 Technology Fast 500, a ranking of the fastest growing public and private technology companies in North America.

Featured speakers

  • Chris Townsend

    Area Vice President, Federal Sales, UiPath

  • Jason Miller

    Executive Editor, Federal News Network

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