The US federal government budget for fiscal 2020 calls on government agencies to adopt new technologies, such as robotic process automation (RPA), to speed up public services and save costs.
As automation transfers robotic work to computers, employees will be free to focus on far more creative jobs.
In addition, the government is urging agencies to improve customer experience in lines with private firms. The amount of time freed up by automation can be spent on human-based activities such as coaching junior staff, say analysts.
A few agencies have already adopted the technology to streamline their operations. NASA, for example, uses a robot that distributes funds among its units in a matter of hours. And the General Services Administration (GSA) is also saving approximately 12,000 working hours every year.
The news comes months after a study by Deloitte estimated that new technologies could help federal agencies free up between 266 million and 1.1 billion working hours every year.
In its report, the professional services firm said there are many repetitive tasks in what federal agencies do. “They spend about 4.3 billion hours a year documenting and recording information and monitoring and controlling resources.”
Re-skilling may lead to turning several existing employees into data scientists, and cyber and IT experts. Therefore, in the coming years, agencies can become more innovative, enabling themselves to carry out many sophisticated jobs such as predicting fraudulent transactions and identifying criminal suspects via facial recognition.
However, analysts say, the budget falls short of allocating more money for modernizing their IT infrastructure.