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Human in the Loop - Essential in Automation for the Public Sector

Updated: Jun 26, 2020

Towards the end of 2018, local governments were urged by Scottish Local Government Chief Digital Officer Martyn Wallace to take advantage of AI, to deliver better outcomes.

So far, few councils have had the opportunity to invest in AI, but perhaps that is set to change? In December 2018 Local Government Minister Rishi Sunak announced the first round winners of a £7.5M digital innovation fund where 16 winning projects from 57 councils were awarded grants of up to £100,000 to explore using a variety of digital technologies. From voice activated virtual assistants to support for those living in care, to using data analytics to improve education plans for children with special needs. This is indeed encouraging news for us all.

As a whole, the public sector has gained a good understanding of the theory behind automating repetitive tasks. However, the idea of implementation and the perceived change to business practice that it would cause, and the perceived impact on jobs, might currently be a step too far. This article is intended to help interested parties envisage how Intelligent Automation might help the public sector, what that change might look like and what the benefits might be.

IA – not to be confused with AI

The main point of difference between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Intelligent Automation (IA) is that while AI is about autonomous workers mimicking human cognitive functions, Intelligent Automation is all about building better workers, both human and digital, by embracing and working alongside intelligent technologies.

In the public sector, IA has the potential to free up individuals from mundane tasks, scale up operations and reduce costs. One example could be redeploying knowledge workers to drive innovation by fully utilising their knowledge in more productive interactions, as Martyn Wallace says "I think in the public sector we have to see AI as a way to deliver better outcomes and what I mean by that is giving the bots the grunt work - as one co-worker called it, 'shuffling spreadsheets' - and then we can release staff to do the more complex, human-touch things,".

Improve efficiency through automation

Can Intelligent Automation help improve your customer services whilst reducing your bottom line? Whatever your public sector department Intelligent Automation can help.

The abundance and availability of data and information is both a blessing and a curse. Public sector employees are burdened with the task of analysing documents from multiple sources in multiple formats and completing forms. There comes a point where it must be overwhelming for them to maintain concentration and be consistently accurate – IA enables large-scale data analysis and therefore improved productivity and consistency.

Why is a Human in the Loop essential?

The knowledge and expertise embedded within the employees of the public sector are its biggest asset. Technology can provide support but real people are essential.

But, as customers demand faster, more consistent and higher quality service, the public sector needs to work smarter, increasing volume and speed of turnaround of tasks whilst maintaining or improving accuracy. Intelligent Automation brings value, efficiencies and cost savings.

The implications of adopting Intelligent Automation in the public sector is huge, as efficiencies and innovation for customer services will be better balanced.

SmartFlow is an IA platform that works best with a ‘Human in the Loop’. It’s ideal for the public sector that is looking to provide digital assistance to both their employees and customers. SmartFlow can be used to run mundane tasks, trawl through data in multiple formats, analyse information, complete forms and present back reports to the human who then takes the intellectual decision on how to proceed.

If you are interested in finding out more about how Intelligent Automation can support the public sector then please get in touch. #publicsector #smartflow #intelligentautomation #rpa #attendedautomation #humanintheloop

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