RPA for increased efficiency in public administration

Digitalisation and innovation are of utmost importance for public administrations. They are an effective measure for cushioning large retirement waves, such as the one that is imminent in the civil service. Processes should be automated and digitalised to allow for faster transactions and make good use of resources such as time and personnel. An important step in this direction is the increased use of RPA (Robotic Process Automation) in the administration. In this article, we take a look at how RPA technologies can help administrative authorities and how they can be tested, implemented, and expanded quickly, cost-effectively, and flexibly for specific tasks.

What is RPA?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a technology that allows companies to automate business processes. This means that all standardised tasks that can be carried out by employees on the screen can be taken over by a so-called bot. The main advantages of RPA are that tasks are completed faster, more reliably and always in the same quality without fatigue, confusion, or oversights. Of course, this also improves the quality of the data. It is hardly surprising that RPA is a fast-growing market and more and more companies around the world are embracing this technology.

For more information on what the future holds, read our post on the 10 latest RPA trends!

What are the challenges of integrating RPA into public administrations?

Public administrations face quite a few challenges. IT-supported processes require civil servants to perform countless manual steps. In addition, frequently changing legal requirements lead to longer processing times and thus to lower efficiency. To make life easier for employees and citizens, new approaches to optimising processes are needed. One efficient tool is Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which can be used without costly adjustments to IT systems. Especially in the back office and in customer assistance, high-volume processes can be automated to promote value-added activities and achieve better results.

What benefits does RPA have in the public sector?

RPA helps compensate for skilled labour shortages

Skilled labour shortage is a well-known problem that the public administration also faces. The budget for additional staff remains limited, and fewer and fewer administrative staff have to cover ever larger areas of responsibility. This is where the use of Robotic Process Automation can help: monotonous work and standard processes can be automated, reducing the workload for employees. One case in point is the handling of entry and exit processes for new civil servants. There are a number of standardised processes that are still often carried out manually. These processes, which are time-consuming and repetitive for clerks, can easily be taken over by a bot.

Digital implementation of information services

In the public sector, answering enquiries on various topics is a frequent and time-consuming task. With Robotic Process Automation (RPA), enquiries can be answered automatically. The software can give citizens the required data from the database and generate an automated letter.

Data transfer between different systems

In the public sector, there are many systems that rely on data from other systems. If these interfaces are not implemented optimally, RPA can be used to make the transfer swift and error-free. The software bot ensures that the different systems are kept at an identical level and that the most up-to-date data is always stored. A good example of this is the transfer of new residential addresses to other systems in order to synchronise the data between different authorities.

Digital data modification

In electronic dashboards, the ability to digitally modify data is becoming increasingly important. In order to reduce the time spent by citizens, software bots can be used to note necessary changes in advance and send documents to the authority. The bot can then incorporate the changes and optimise the process for users. This also helps to reduce the workload of employees and avoid errors.

Document review

Reviewing submitted documents is another classic task in administration. Here, RPA can be used to check documents for completeness and confirm whether all required information and attachments are available. The document is then automatically filed in the appropriate archive and checked by clerks for subject-matter correctness.

How does the implementation of RPA work?

A bot can be easily integrated into existing systems and configured for almost any standard software that administrative staff work with. The first results are visible within merely a month. The bot acts as a kind of personal assistant on a notebook or PC that supports experts in their work. The trained staff takes over the definition of the respective workflow and the digital assistant completes the set task in a fraction of the time previously required.

Conclusion: the use of RPA in public administration pays off

The possibilities for the use of RPA in public administration are manifold. Bots can compensate for the increasingly serious staff shortages and increase staff satisfaction by taking over repetitive and time-consuming tasks. Citizens also benefit from accelerated processes, increased planning security, and a lower error rate. Public authorities can concentrate on more relevant issues, as the incidence of classic case processing is reduced. It is therefore not surprising to assume that technology will become standard practice in public administration as well.