by Vimesh Patel

Government is ushering in a new era of work, using automation and artificial intelligence to help the federal workforce achieve higher levels of productivity and decision-making.

Over the past two years, agencies have focused on shifting the workforce to "high-value" work -- a key goal of the President's Management Agenda -- by taking advantage of robotic process automation and other technologies to reduce error, improve compliance and eliminate repetitive administrative tasks.

Although RPA is a useful IT capability that allows agencies to eliminate low-value, mundane, transactional work, it can only make simple decisions. By adding AI to the equation, agencies can accelerate the ability of RPA to complete a multitude of tasks at once.  This can be particularly helpful when analyzing large swaths of data, enabling decision-makers to meet goals more efficiently and effectively.

The combination of these two technologies has delivered more real, tangible results that can be actively applied to digital solutions for civilian and defense agencies than either technology could do individually.

RPA, which provides software bots to automate high-volume, repeatable tasks within legacy processes and applications, has opened opportunities to massively transform government operations. "Current RPA programs operating within agencies are achieving roughly five hours of workload elimination per employee," according to the RPA Program Playbook, published earlier this year by the Federal RPA Community of Practice.

The Playbook continues: "If the government deployed RPA at scale and achieved only 20 hours of workload elimination per employee, the net capacity gained would be worth $3 billion -- and that is only scratching the surface."

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