Survey: 86% of Feds Would Use Robotic Automation If Possible


More than 60 percent of senior federal employees said they spend a moderate to considerable amount of time completing mundane tasks at work, and the vast majority would welcome software that automates those duties, researchers found.

Nearly one-third of respondents in a recent survey said robotic process automation software—which automates data organization, transaction processing and other repetitive activities—would give them more time to “focus on what really matters.”

Eighty-six percent said they’d try the software if it was offered at their agencies.

The results are based on a November 2017 poll of 425 senior federal officials across a wide array of agencies and job functions. The study was conducted by the Government Business Council, the research arm of Government Executive Media Group, and underwritten by Booz Allen Hamilton.

In addition to freeing up more for meaningful activities, respondents said robotic automation would enable them to accomplish more work in less time and reduce potential errors.

Despite the widespread support for automation software, few people know where their agencies stand on implementing the technology. Nearly half of federal employees said they weren’t aware of any efforts to roll out the software at their agencies, and less than 10 percent said their agencies were planning or already rolled out such initiatives.

More than 40 percent of people cited security liabilities, budgetary constraints and a lack of interoperability as the biggest barriers agencies face to implementing robotic automation software. Respondents also said insufficient federal policies governing automation and a lack of technical expertise could hamper efforts to roll out the new technology.

Federal employees are increasingly viewing automation as a way to cope with reduced budgets and downsizing workforces. Four in five participants in a September 2017 survey said they need increased automation in the next five years to keep up with growing agency demands.