Now more than ever, public sector’s digital experience is under scrutiny. Government departments and agencies’ quality of provided services is being compared to the best, frictionless digital experiences offered by the private sector, and the result is too many public sector organizations around the world are relying on manual business processes, rather than innovative technology, leading to inefficiencies and frustrated citizens.
Following the pandemic, it is clear that digital transformation is becoming a necessity. Many organizations are already fast-tracking their digital transformation programs to build resilience and improve productivity. Implementing intelligent automation technologies (IATs) can deliver cost reductions of up to 90%, process paperwork up to 10 times faster and deliver 67% more accuracy across paper-intensive processes.
John O’Hara is President at NICE EMEA.
However, one of the challenges the public sector might experience is linked to the need to apply drastic changes to pre-existing applications or platforms. IATs, such as artificial intelligence (AI)-based Task Mining don’t require changes to existing applications and platforms, and organizations can use AI-based Task Mining to identify opportunities for improving processes within a matter of weeks and start reaping return on investment (ROI) within a matter of months. Another subset of intelligent automation, Attended Automation solutions, can rapidly pull together different systems to support citizen interactions, while enabling public sector organizations to provide a resilient and agile response to today’s uncertain environment.
Intelligent automation can see what a human eye cannot
In simple terms, intelligent automation is the application of technologies like AI and machine learning (ML) to support robotic process automation (RPA) making software robots even smarter and more useful using existing data to create actionable insights and take automation to the next level.
For instance, task mining, an effective tool used to discover massive opportunities to streamline and automate processes to improve citizen and employee experiences, is a real example of intelligent automation applied. Yet, many organizations are missing out in this benefit.
AI used for task mining, combined with other tools, can be used to extrapolate data to maximize efficiency and savings: organizations can obtain process sequences and variations data that are not visible to the human eye. Businesses can easily monitor this data to understand how employees execute tasks on their desktop and identify and recommend the level of automation needed.
Improving performances through manual processes automation
In order to automate diverse and complex processes, including citizen-facing interactions, organizations need to rely on opened platforms, which can integrate both attended and unattended robots with powerful AI and ML capabilities. By digitalizing enormous amount of paper and scanned documents, and by extracting and processing data from millions of forms at their disposal, public organizations can avoid putting in place time consuming practices, such as managing and reading documents that come in a wide variety of formats (e.g., messy handwriting and scanned in low resolution). These kinds of solutions accurately classify, extract, validate and enrich pre-existing information turning it into structured data that can be used as business insights to drive automated processes and much more. This improves public sector employees’ working experience and gives them the chance to focus on service delivery and improve their performance.
A recent public sector project demonstrates that, through robotic automation, it was possible to read over 400 hand-written fields on scanned forms of over 16 pages each with a 99.4% accuracy, extract 100% of the data and perform the necessary work across multiple systems automatically.
It is easy to imagine the impact of doing this across thousands of incoming forms each day.
Automation doesn’t mean “replacement”
One of the major concerns of the public sector organizations is the loss of jobs to automation. However, automation doesn’t need to be a synonymous for “replacement”. Automation means “support,” it’s the help that people at work need. Digital innovation, the use of the latest technologies, and automation, can really help employees enjoy a better work experience while offering faster and more personalized citizen services. Automation means focusing on augmentation of the human workforce, rather than replacing people with automated systems.
Employee virtual attendant tools, for instance, can help people to achieve results based on complex calculations, sourcing data from multiple apps, copying-and-pasting, and so on. These are just some of the tasks that machines can do faster and that humans find tedious or repetitive. It can also guide people on complex rules and regulations in real-time, helping them with compliance and their KPIs. This is an example of how automation tools, AI, ML, and data analytics software allows people to focus their time and efforts on the things that really matter.
Scaling intelligent automation is the key
By scaling their automation solutions, organizations can achieve their digital transformation goals. Public sector organizations need to deliver better citizen experiences while achieving significant ROI on their technology investments. This can be done by using intelligent automation to free up staff time, optimize service delivery, and realize cost savings.
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John O’Hara is President at NICE EMEA.