DoD Departments Team Up to Actualize RPA

Robotic Process Automation

The Department of Defense (DoD) is steadily integrating robotic process automation (RPA) agency-wide through interdepartmental collaborations.

“What we’re trying to do is…foster the collaboration and sharing across DoD and the Federal government.,” said Erica Thomas, RPA program manager at Office of Undersecretary of Defense. “If you can beg, borrow, and steal from others let’s do that…You don’t necessarily have to start from scratch.”

At ACT-IAC’s BOTS Forum today, Thomas talked with representatives from Army and the Washington Headquarters Services (WHS) to explain how their teams jumpstarted DoD’s RPA programming. Former WHS Systems Support Lead Nichole Hyter shared the motivation behind the initiative.

“The entire DoD [financial management] community is moving toward analytics,” she explained. “RPA was an excellent opportunity for WHS to move forward in that opportunity…It gave time back to the analysts.”

According to the panelists, there are 16 RPAs in place at WHS saving the agency 25,000 hours of labor, and the agency’s approach to collaboration is helping departments with smaller budgets access the new tech.

“We also ensured that we saved the DoD, as a whole, money…This gave the smaller agencies that probably would not have been able to afford [RPA] the success that WHS had,” said Hyter.

Throughout DoD there are seven RPAs in development or testing, two RPAs in assessment or initial design, and over 50 additional ideas for RPAs to improve agency efficiency.

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