Automation in Government can pave the way for innovation

The private sector has led the charge on automation, and for a good reason; Doing so has freed up employee time and company budgets to focus on their larger initiatives. For some reason, Government has been slower to embrace this type of automation. The reasons why are unclear, but it’s suspected that the up-front investment in automation is the largest barrier. Another potential reason for the slow adoption of automation could be the misperception that it would eliminate jobs, which isn’t a popular idea is government.

What are some benefits of making the switch? 

Cost savings:

There are many benefits to making the switch - In procurement, human resources, and finance, there are estimates that 60 to 80 percent of tasks are automatable. This could result long-term savings of at least 30 percent. Automation offers a much higher accuracy than humans can. The ROI on investing time up-front when setting up automated solutions is massive.

Depending on the size of the government, tens of thousands of hours a year can be freed up.

Additional benefits in government are likely to be improved service offerings, more transparency, and better data for analysis that can help a government run smoothly.

Employee satisfaction:

Automation’s effects on employee satisfaction could be substantial— manual, repetitive work is frequently cited as one of the main sources of public-sector job dissatisfaction. According to Information Age, “The overwhelming majority (91%) of those using multiple apps or systems see connecting data, applications and systems as a beneficial thing for their organization to do, with 37% deeming it an essential action. In fact, on average, respondents speculated that they could see a 28% boost in efficiency through a greater focus on automation of data processes.” What could a team do if given 28% more time during their workday?  They could finally work on some of the initiatives that have been put on the backburner due to cost or time restraints.

Improved citizen services:

Automation has empowered many citizens to do many things online. Some examples, according to McKinsey:

  • The UK Government Digital Service has successfully migrated departmental publishing onto the GOV.UK platform and digitized services, including passport and driver’s-license applications.
  • Estonia’s tax-filing system allows 95 percent of residents to file their tax returns online.
  • US Digital Service has built a digital College Scorecard.

Automation of these tasks doesn’t put people out of work – it simply creates a more pleasant and efficient experience for residents. There are still plenty of workers needed to keep the system up and running, they’re just able to spend time on better initiatives with the new-found time savings.  


Digitally transforming organizations should be a priority for public sector decision makers. Read how technology has the means to improve constituent service, increase productivity, and streamline operations as well as more effectively source, deploy, and engage employees in the “Transforming the Public Sector Workforce” whitepaper from IDC.  

Published: Wednesday, January 22, 2020