Governments need to buy more tech — starting with RPA

Public and government agencies in APAC need to be improved. Source: Shutterstock

TODAY, most companies understand that they need to get more tech savvy. However, the lack of technology to support digitization holds companies back in many ways.

In APAC, governments in some countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong, India and Australia have offered technology selectively – but in each case, its adoption has accelerated adoption and digitization among SMEs and local businesses.

Take the Revenue Collection or Taxes department, for example.

In countries where the government has introduced application programming interface (API) based access to their systems, companies have helped develop digital tax reporting and payment solutions that not only make tax filing easier, but make government easier as well (and cheaper) make tax collection.

However, most experts recommend that the first technology governments should investigate is robotic process automation (RPA).

RPA is considered to be one of the easiest technologies companies can use to climb the ladder of digital transformation. RPA is usually quick to deploy and quite inexpensive.

According to a recent McKinsey blog post, many governments have made significant strides in creating online processes for citizens to fill out applications and communicate with service providers.

According to the think tank, the obvious next step is to leverage automation on a large scale to bring internal operations and processes up to date so that they can become digital organizations at their core.

McKinsey highlights the fact that automation provides accuracy, consistency, scalability, and traceability – all of which are central to the public works department and government sector.

“The implications for government are likely to be improved service offerings, more transparency, and more consistent data and analysis for tasks like crime prevention. Automation can also increase employee satisfaction. Repetitive manual labor is often cited as a major cause of public sector worker dissatisfaction, ”the blog post said.

According to consultants at McKinsey, there are six technologies that are most likely to be useful in driving the change process – of which, of course, automation is the first.

An important point that the blog post offers is the following: In the areas of finance, human resources and procurement, around 60 to 80 percent of the tasks can be automated, creating the potential for long-term net savings (after taking into account implementation and ongoing software costs) of at least 100 % is created 30 percent.

This statistic alone should be enough to motivate governments around the world, and particularly in APAC, to move on with automation. However, there is a greater incentive for governments to consider this before they can go for RPA.

Deloitte, for example, who boasts of working with the police force in England and Wales, points out that process automation was the first step in digitizing teams and helping transform the units into what they are today.

Although case studies in this area are not widely publicly available as the sheer size of such projects takes months to implement without disrupting normal business, there are numerous examples of public sector organizations and government departments dealing with RPA.

But for real impact, governments need to step up their investments in technologies like RPA and make every effort to use technology to radically improve citizens’ lives and accelerate the digital journey for SMEs and local businesses.

Soumik Roy
| @ Soumikroy

Soumik Roy is a business and technology specialist. It helps small and medium-sized businesses understand what is most important to the growth and success of their business.

May 2, 2021