Automation and public sector transformation

Organisations of all types need to adapt to our increasingly digital world. But implementing new technologies comes with a degree of risk and disruption. For highly regulated industries such as the public sector, this challenge is compounded.

Compliance headaches and obstacles such as supplier lock-in and legacy systems are common public sector problems. Add an understandable dose of caution, and the result is a lack of public sector transformation.

In short, public sector organisations are missing out on positively disruptive software solutions and the benefits they bring. And one such disruptive technology is process automation software.


Process automation, as the name suggests, automates business processes. Specifically, you use automation software to target simple repetitive back-office tasks, or to augment multi-layered workflows.

Read more: What is business process automation (and what is it not?)

These days, process automation comes in a few flavours. But whether it’s robotic process automation or RPA, business process automation or BPA, digital process automation or DPA, it all amounts to much the same thing.

Indeed, in all its guises and all its labels, process automation is a value-added technology to the public sector — and a lucrative way to get started with public sector transformation.

On-premises benefits

One issue inhibiting public sector transformation is that of compliance — for instance, keeping sensitive data safe. Organisations are often reluctant to adopt new technologies for fear of breaking the regulations they’re bound to.

But this is far from an insurmountable problem. An on-premises automation setup, for instance, can help ensure easy compliance. With a self-hosted installation of your automation tool, all data can be processed locally. (Not stored in the public cloud.) And such a set-up is readily available with solutions like ThinkAutomation.

So, the workflows and processes you automate can be deployed across local systems. Plus, you can still use your on-prem data with cloud services as and where appropriate. This means that there’s no need to worry about either compromising data or losing its fluidity.

In terms of data, automation software can also assist with encryption and decryption. And, it can instantly alert you in the event of a failed process — helping to prevent compliance issues due to downtime.

When viewed from this on-premises angle, there is simply no valid reason why public sector transformation and automation cannot go hand in hand.

Integration vs legacy public sector systems

Another issue that can hold back public sector transformation is the issue of legacy systems. Specifically, the challenge of integrating them with new technology.

Many organisations in the public sector use custom solutions that have been in place for decades – the result of long, complex tender processes. These systems often come with supplier lock-in. So, the organisation is hemmed into slow, endless projects with the same vendor, with only incremental changes made.

Legacy systems of this ilk can be notoriously difficult to navigate, and even more laborious to replace.

However, this problem is once again a surmountable one thanks to automation. Automation software like ThinkAutomation can be leveraged to work as middleware. This means it will not only integrate with legacy systems, but also help you connect them to other newer technology and programs.

So, automation can even support future public sector transformation efforts.

Public sector transformation

As highlighted, then, the issues impeding public sector transformation are not quite so problematic as they’re often presented. With that in mind, what specific benefits does automation software stand to bring to the public sector?

It comes down to what to automate.

With a product like ThinkAutomation, for example, a single technician could build out any custom workflow spanning any common public sector resource drain. That includes routine processes such as parsing emails into databases and CRMS, processing attachments into needed system folders, extracting text from scanned documents, pulling data from old legacy systems, even things like GIS mapping automation for potholes.

But where to begin with so much scope?

Administrative jobs are usually the simplest place to start. Automation can save public sector workers from death by admin. It removes the need for manual data entry, helping with email and database management and so on. This means a reduction in job tedium and human error in data input.

Beyond admin, automation can also support those in more cognitive roles — that is, the roles that require complex thinking and reasoning. It supports such roles by easing access, storage and retrieval of useful data to inform decisions.

Unlock higher-value work

Process automation holds the potential to positively disrupt the way in which public sector employees handle draining, expensive, and repetitive tasks. This, in turn, drives efficiency, productivity and morale. All while adding value for the taxpayer.

Automation can take on an abundance of repetitive, predictable roles — including admin tasks and daily distracting jobs. Think email management, manual data entry, document movement. As it is, these predictable tasks and workflows act as a resource drain.

With process automation, you can build workflows that span any such public sector time sink. It can parse emails, act as an ETL tool, extract text from documents. It can handle the tedium of manual data entry — and in doing so reduce human error in data input.

Cost savings

An oft-presented issue within the public sector that inhibits public sector transformation is a lack of funding. However, introducing time-saving technologies — like process automation — brings enormous cost savings.

Less time spent on lower-value tasks means that teams can get more done with the same work hours.

In other words, process automation helps to reduce costs by boosting productivity and efficiency.

This, in turn, only adds value for the taxpayer.

Automation and public sector transformation

When you avoid innovation, you avoid a future with less waste, less operational drain, and higher productivity.

As the world continues down the path of digital transformation, there’s a need for the public sector to evolve with it.

What better place to start, than with automation?

Useful links

Automation tools: which do you need?

Mining and maintaining legacy software

Automation in the streets of Bozeman

ThinkAutomation free trial