The newest federal IT trend is all about IPA — intelligent process automation, that is. IPA is a set of automation technologies federal agencies can adopt to revitalize IT modernization efforts.
It goes a step further from the more commonly known robotic process automation (RPA) by adding artificial intelligence for decision-making abilities and faster processing, resulting in an application that can supercharge IT functioning.
“Approximately 400 million hours a year are wasted on administrative functions in the federal government,” according to a report by automation technology provider Bizagi. “That’s a lot of time that could be spent doing better things to help the country. The emergence of IPA poses a solution for organizations who need to digitally transform and want to embrace emerging technologies, but are hindered by their legacy, homegrown systems.”
The ever-learning nature of IPA allows the technology to adapt to a federal IT department’s needs over time, making it a worthwhile long-term investment. According to Bizagi, IPA is also a natural companion to cloud computing and helps break down technology silos.
“Technology silos have narrowed the perspective of individual functions and customer touchpoints,” the report says. “With different silos, it is unlikely instantaneous omnichannel responses will be achieved unless a unifying element is added. Agencies need to take an end-to-end process view of the customer journey and install a digital conveyer belt to carry the information wherever it needs to go. You may well still need to break this down into its parts, but a wrap-around solution in the form of an IPA platform that orchestrates the whole customer journey is essential if you want to present a winning constituent experience.”
Bizagi lists four major use cases for IPA: onboarding contractors and employees, ensuring compliance with federal requirements, ensuring compliance with ethical requirements, and meeting federal executive requests.
“Digitizing this process ensures that all tasks are completed, but you can make onboarding even more efficient for the departments involved by incorporating IPA,” Bizagi said. “You can automate triggers in the process so that once one task is complete, it prompts the next person in the chain to complete their tasks.”
To ensure compliance with federal and ethical requirements, IPA can track and log documents and procedures to produce an auditable trail, as well as provide timers for due dates and streamlined approval and storage processes.
Finally, IPA can streamline requests for information from other departments, executives or congressional representatives. Normally, front offices clear requests and forward them to the right people, back-and-forth communication ensues, other officials are looped in, and confusion and stagnation can occur. This is especially problematic for agencies operating under tight deadlines.
“IPA provides a single, unified and flexible way of working that is usage-based, not user-based, that enables routing and tracking of these tasks everywhere in government down to the lowest level content provider, up to the highest levels in our government,” Bizagi said.
Beyond the various IPA use cases, Bizagi said improved customer service should always be the driving factor of any IT modernization strategy. IPA delivers that and more.
IPA helps federal agencies “eliminate the siloed perspective of individual functions and customer touchpoints and instead gain a holistic view of the customer journey so you can pinpoint exactly where it works, and where it doesn’t, so it can be made as optimal as possible,” the report said.