Wildfires, hurricanes, tornados, and a pandemic. Disaster management resources are spread thin as unpredictable weather surges and public health remains a concern. As agencies are forced to focus on a variety of pressing matters, is there a way to relieve some of the workload? Fortunately, there is. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is enabling local, state, and federal disaster response teams to focus on protecting the communities they serve by alleviating tedious aspects of the workload through automation.
“Automation is increasingly gaining acceptance in the public sector, so the use of robotics is a natural next step for the government to automate tedious, repetitive tasks for a variety of benefits,” said Chris Townsend, vice president of Federal Sales at UiPath.
In the case of disaster response and management, for example, RPA frees up teams to focus on the communities affected by these incidents. While there is a tremendous amount of documentation that accompanies these situations, bots powered by RPA have been trained to accelerate interactions between the agency and citizens to provide essential information more quickly. Staff are no longer spending hours fielding calls or stuck behind a desk inputting information, instead, employees can use their time to engage with those impacted and work to get the community back on track. Using RPA, unattended bots can collect, process, and showcase information that provides staff with the latest information so they are prepared when entering a scene.
“The amount of time they are saving, the efficiencies they are gaining, and the amount of dollars they are saving is unparalleled,” said Jim Walker, Federal CTO, and Director, Public Sector Marketing at UiPath in a recent Government Technology Insider podcast.
The General Services Administration estimates that RPA could free up nearly $1 billion worth of productive time in the government. For agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that are handling an array of tasks disbursed around the country, that savings could go to protecting and providing for those impacted by natural disasters.
From data collection to information sharing, RPA has several uses that allow disaster response teams to be better prepared and deliver essential services to citizens. “With all the demands on federal agencies, now is the time to automate and focus on citizen engagement and broaden the value of the digital workforce – it’s not taking any jobs, it’s taking tasks you’ve never wanted to do,” shared Walker.
“The water is warm, the value of swimming is known, it’s time for other agencies to automated,” he concluded.
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