Dealing With Cutbacks? Turn to Automation

Do less with more. One person doing two jobs. Make better decisions – but with fewer resources.

These sort of phrases have become the new edict of government. As budgets get cut and staff reduced, government employees wonder how, exactly, they are supposed to get everything done, when it seems like they have more and more to do.

One possible answer? Turning to technology – specifically, the technology of automation. Automation allows you to work smarter, work harder, but with fewer resources at your fingertips.

How, you may be wondering? It’s all about good business process management with automation. In short, automation means the linking of disparate systems and software in such a way that they become self-acting or self-regulating.

How does automation benefit you – and the government workplace? It’s obvious, especially when you look to the automation benefits of an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system.

An ECM allows employees to be more efficient and productive, focusing on high-value and mission centric tasks. For instance, rather than manually entering organizational data, organizing files, and physically delivering materials to coworkers, ECM allows automation to free government of the burden of paper.

The automation by ECM provides the opportunity for agencies to improve workflow and allow employees to use their time efficiently, rather than focusing on document management tasks.

Here are just a few of the things an ECM allow organizations to do:

  • Capture documents
  • Process case management requests
  • Access documents and information anywhere
  • Integrate with other transactional applications in an agency
  • Measure and monitor customized reports, and store documents.

Though there are some tasks that can only be handled by putting people first, there are plenty of workloads that computers and software systems can simply do faster, cheaper and more efficiently than human workers.

By removing document management tasks and turning many of them over to automation, workers morale and productivity will increase, as workers are placed into roles in which they can use their skills, and work towards the most important goals of an agency.

Here are some other fast wins that automation can enable you to achieve:

Workload management – automation change backlogs, and gives you access to fast information retrieval, which makes customer service better.

Decision support – easy retrieval and central storage of information allows you the time and the information to make better decisions.

Faster customer service – automation and ease of information retrieval and even the possibility of self-service is possible in a paperless process, giving your customers the sort of easy and fluid experience they are looking for.

To further illustrate the benefits of automation, we turn to this example about the benefits of automation – including huge cost savings – from Pennsylvania.

Although many may think of the Pennsylvania Treasury as a virtual checkbook for many of the Commonwealth’s citizens, the organization does much more. It helps keep taxes low by investing taxpayer money and offers other financial resources like college savings programs.

But it was not without its challenges. One of the Treasury’s main responsibilities is to make sure eligible citizens get funds they’ve been approved to receive. Even in times of high demand, these payments – like unemployment and other supplementary payments – must be processed quickly and efficiently. Additionally, because the Commonwealth was outsourcing the processing to the Social Security Administration, some payments were costing more than $10 each to process. And with more than 300,000 payments going out each month, the expenses quickly added up. So the Treasury went in search of a solution that would help them transform their paper-based processes to electronic automated ones.

By adapting Hyland’s OnBase Enterprise Content Management system, the Treasury sped up processes across the organization and responded to constituent need faster. One of its most notable successes is the automation of the unemployment payment process.

Even before the deluge of requests started pouring in during late 2008, the Treasury battled truckloads of paper to manage this process. In fact, despite the increase in demand, the Treasury needs little interaction with the process to ensure citizens receive their checks reliably and on time.

Using OnBase Workflow, 99 percent of these transactions are completely electronic – beginning with the time a citizen files an application to the time they receive their check.

OnBase is a proven enterprise content management solution for each level of government, helping each meet today’s challenges of smaller budgets and staffs while laying the foundation for simplified, efficient and mobile government information technology. 

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