Five Ways the Public Sector is Using Automation to Streamline Operations and Improve Performance
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Automation is shorthand for repetitive tasks and tasks requiring accuracy, speed, and consistency. In other words, it takes duties best suited for a bot rather than those that need human judgment or creativity.
The public sector may automate manual processes to increase efficiency, reduce errors, reduce costs and increase the speed of service delivery. Automation can also improve the information's accuracy, leading to better decision-making and reducing the workload of public sector employees, allowing them to focus on more complex tasks. Additionally, automation can help to ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, improve the transparency and accountability of government operations and improve the overall quality of services provided to citizens, making them more accessible, efficient, and effective.
State government agencies are using automation to review past claims and prepare for audits by the federal government. The technology enables state agencies to identify claims trends to reduce fraud and provide better services to citizens.
Hospitals use automation to generate thousands of monthly billing statements for patients with balances on their accounts. This reduces the time staff spends on billing by more than 50 percent without delivering less accurate results. It also reduces errors in billing because the computer doesn't make human-error-prone mistakes when entering patient information into the system. Hospital staff can now focus on higher-value work, such as assisting patients who need help paying their bills.
Government agencies use automation to correct document errors before someone in a different department processes them. For example, a DMV might use a bot to check the spelling of names and other information on forms before sending them to a second department, like licensing or registration, where an error can significantly slow down the processing time. Using a bot means more documents are processed faster, resulting in faster services for customers who come in person or online to DMV offices run by the state or local governments.
While most commercial organizations have moved to electronic signatures, many government agencies still operate with pen and paper. Most agencies can utilize electronic signatures for forms such as loan documents, permit applications, and other document-heavy workflows. A bot can capture data from PDF forms, convert it into usable data, and auto-populate fields in an application. This type of automation can save agencies time and money. Many state entities, such as the DoT, are looking to leverage automation for e-signing processes.
With rising healthcare costs comes an increase in insurance claims handling. Automating claims management processes can significantly reduce administrative overhead costs and provide a better experience for customers. There is currently a great deal of work being done on leveraging RPA for insurance claims management.
Three factors That Increase Business ROI from the use of automation?
Increase in Employee Productivity
A significant advantage of implementing RPA or BPA is that it increases employee productivity by removing the most time-consuming and repetitive tasks from their workload. This increases job satisfaction among employees since they no longer have to do tedious, monotonous tasks. They can now focus on more meaningful jobs and be more productive. This can have a positive impact on the organization's bottom line.
Increase in employee retention
Highly experienced and qualified employees are increasingly hard to find in this competitive job market. More often than not, companies need help to keep hold of their best-performing employees for a long time due to high-level job stress. As a solution to this problem, implementing RPA can help reduce job stress for employees and help them stay with the organization for a more extended period.
Greater accuracy and consistency
Implementing RPA increases the accuracy and consistency of data across different departments or teams. Since machine learning is at the core of RPA, it enables systems to learn from historical data and provide better predictions moving forward. Inconsistencies in data entry often result in massive wastage of resources like human capital, time, money, and other factors, which RPA prevents.
Three steps to getting started
Like many technologies today, automation can be applied incrementally to solve a specific business problem. As you progress from simple tasks like automating reporting to higher-value tasks like automating fraud investigation, you will have to make several changes to your application, infrastructure, and processes.
Determine if automation is right for you
The first step is to understand whether your processes can be automated in any way. Start by asking if any of your manual methods are tedious or error-prone and if there is a way to reduce the amount of human touch required. Consider automating some of the controls or checks within these manual processes. For example, suppose you have an approval process requiring someone to manually log into five different systems. In that case, you could automate that check within those systems rather than trying to build out an entire approval workflow. These small wins can demonstrate ROI quickly and pave the way for more comprehensive automation.
Assess your current solution for Automation
Three tools are available: screen scraping, a scripting language, and general-purpose tooling. It would help if you started by identifying which type(s) of tooling fits best based on your use case and existing technology stack. For example, A screen scraping tool may be the best option if your business uses several transactional systems since it doesn't require code development or programming. Whichever solution you choose should fit seamlessly into your existing technology ecosystem without requiring significant changes in code and infrastructure.
Develop requirements for your automation project
Once you have selected a tooling option, start defining the scope of work for each use case you want to address using one-page task maps. Task maps are an excellent way to organize all the steps involved in each process step so that you can clearly define each step required for the new process and the current manual operation being replaced. This will prepare you for creating user stories that will help guide the code development and user interface that end users will use. A good user story should include who will interact with the new interface (IT or business), what they will see on screen (UI), and what they will need to complete their task (input parameters). This level of detail upfront will ensure both rapid development and adoption at scale once automation has been achieved.
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January 9, 2024