Federal RPA Solutions Have One Thing In Common: No Two Are Alike

Ruslan Grumble/Shutterstock.com

Robotic process automation leads from across government and industry met this week to share early lessons learned from efforts to automate federal agencies.

Members of the government’s Robotic Process Automation Community of Interest held an industry day Tuesday to share their common experiences and challenges in attempting to automate some of the rote processes that eat up so much of federal employees’ time.

While members of the community of interest were able to meet and share ideas on RPA adoption, those in attendance learned their individual use cases had as many differences as similarities, according to the team from IRS, which hosted the industry day in conjunction with the General Services Administration and the Office of Personnel Management.

For example, one IRS employee in attendance was able to offer six distinct use cases for RPA in their office alone, according to IRS Deputy Chief Procurement Officer Harrison Smith, who offered some insight into the industry day during a call with reporters Wednesday.

One of the big takeaways for Smith—which he plans to apply to the RPA projects under the new Pilot IRS program—is that automation efforts will not be uniform across government.

“They’re not all going to look the same,” he said. “You have to make sure that if it’s an automation solution for another environment that you have the technology [people] and you have the systems integrators able to talk to the people who are actually performing the work.”

This differs from the way government normally does business, Smith said, but having those discussions is the only way to figure out exactly the problem that needs to be solved—and, in turn, find the right solution.

“This concept, as opposed to going off into a closet and spending weeks and months and sometimes years and generating a ‘thou shalt do this’ list of things. [Instead,] have an industry day, have a telephone call, maybe have a screen share—if that’s appropriate given the sensitivity of the system—to say, ‘This is what we actually do and this is what’s frustrating and this is what I wish could really happen.’ Having that direct engagement with the folks who generate the technology,” Smith said.

Those conversations need to include industry, as well, he added, something that doesn’t always come naturally to government buyers. Industry days like the one held Tuesday can help, Smith said, but they don’t go far enough. As one systems integrator explained during a panel, program managers need to go beyond those integrators and have real conversations with the companies building the technology.

“If you’re not talking to the firms that actually generate the technology and provide the software and say, ‘These are our problems, this is what we’re trying to tackle,’ their next iteration of that software, it will have less and less chance it will actually improve your day to day processes,” Smith recalled the integrator saying.

Smith cited estimates that project spending on automation tools will triple in the next two to three years and predicted the RPA industry landscape will expand accordingly. He encouraged federal managers adopting RPA to have more of those granular conversations—with staff, with integrators and will the companies creating new solutions—and to focus those conversations both on current needs and the future.

“It’s really having an understanding of how do I match up what my current needs are with the solution that we’re going to apply in the near-term, but also keeping those lines of conversation open and moving ahead—making sure everybody is on a similar sheet of music,” he said.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.