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Robotic Process Automation: Enhancing the Human Worker

This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent guide, “Emerging Technology of 2019: Meet Your New Digital Coworkers.” Download the full guide here.

Working in government, you might feel you’re behind where you need to be. In addition to performing your outlined roles, you’re also burdened with auxiliary responsibilities – logging data, doing simple arithmetic and going in and out of your email inbox regularly.

In a recent interview with GovLoop, Jeff Brown, Senior Account Executive for Automation Anywhere’s Justice Vertical, discussed how robotic process automation (RPA) creates
more time for workers in resource- strapped government agencies. Using programmed bots, RPA software rapidly completes simple tasks on user systems.

RPA is changing the game for office workers everywhere. Whereas repetitive and basic tasks in a traditional setting can take tens of thousands of hours to complete, software-enabled bots can accomplish these same tasks with rapid speed and infallible accuracy – saving time and costs. For example, the State Department could use RPA in the processing of passport applications to standardize data input – removing time- exhaustive labor and the potential for human error.

“If you think about the way people go about their day, there are a lot of manual tasks that are not necessarily part of their job description but have to happen in order to complete the job,” Brown said. Brown added that the product is more important than the process, and employees don’t want their time taken up by dispensable tasks.

Considering an average workflow, workers frequently have to log into a database, locate the information they need, transfer it to a file and then organize it. This process could take 15 minutes.

For most workers, distraction or small mistakes could easily stunt workflow – but not with a bot. Bots could do the same task in seconds. Bots, while operating through a user interface, work at express pace, and do so without error or rest.

The potential of bots is limitless. While simpler tasks – such as email processing, data entry and website scanning – can be accomplished by bots with designated purposes, the incorporation of machine learning and predictive analytics can broaden and improve bots’ functionality. Bots can even improve on their own processes.

“There’s no limit to what they can do. The magic really comes into how you deploy them,” Brown said.

The versatility of bots is where Automation Anywhere separates itself. Automation Anywhere offers thousands of models out of the box, meaning they can be implemented much faster for even greater cost savings. Bots are built on a centrally managed, secure and scalable hybrid platform, and they are equipped with analytics and artificial intelligence.

As bots continue to evolve, humans can harbor apprehensions about robotic coworkers. However, government employees have little to worry about – bots can free them up for high-value work as opposed to menial labor. Governments, behind on responsibilities, need to keep employees productive for mission-critical responsibilities.

“It’s not a replacement for the human,” Brown said. “It’s an enhancement for the human.”

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Avatar photo Spencer Grady-Pawl

If bots are able to work without error or rest, then they should definitely replace me! At the very least, I’m excited about the possibilities enabled by automation-enhanced work.