Government departments under pressure to cut costs should turn to hyperautomation

With government departments under increasing pressure due to spending cuts, combined with a growing appetite among most citizens for digital interactions, technology is already available that can help drive the efficiency savings needed in back-office functions and yet still deliver a better, more streamlined service.

Experts at analytics leader SAS believe hyperautomation, the convergence of multiple intelligent technologies is the answer, with many in the private sector already benefiting from improved services and greater efficiency following implementation.

Amid the cost of living crisis, chancellor Jeremy Hunt has told every government department they must find savings of up to 15% of their budgets. Following the news, government departments need to quickly find and implement ways to achieve this, without cutting or reducing the quality of their services to citizens who in times of hardship, rely more on support from public services.

SAS has published its Hyperautomation Report which looks at the new customer-centric demands and fast evolving expectations around speed and convenience that have accelerated since the pandemic. A sample of 1,513 people in the UK and Ireland were asked about their expectations and experiences of service in different sectors, including the public sector.

Hyperautomation works through combining cloud, robotic process automation (RPA), and artificial intelligence (AI), to produce high-value autonomous processes capable of intelligent decisioning.

It can enable government departments to reduce costs by automating repetitive tasks and streamlining workflows, giving civil servants more time to spend on more valuable and important activity, whilst eliminating manual processing delays and the risk of human error.

Speaking about the opportunity hyperautomation offers to government departments, David Shannon, Head of Hyperautomation, SAS UK & Ireland, said:

“Government departments have long faced pressure to cut costs, but the current economic climate has increased the need to do so rapidly. It is important that civil servants can utilise the technology now available to help them simultaneously save money and improve the efficiency of public service. Whilst the individual technologies that make up hyperautomation are not brand new, combining them produces an unparalleled efficiency which, with the right expertise, can be achieved in a seamless transition.

“However, it’s important that government does not attempt a wholesale transformation of its services. It must continue to identify those citizens that are unable to use or don’t have access to digital channels, or perhaps prefer to continue with paper-based communications.

“As experienced professionals delivering important duties, many within the public sector may be sceptical about introducing new technology to transform their way of working. However, if we see the same results already seen in the private sector, civil servants can be reassured that intelligent decisioning, using AI, leads to positive online-only experiences - which is important because there’s low trust in automated services used by the Government (34 per cent) from the public, the lowest of all sectors we surveyed.”

SAS’s Hyperautomation Report revealed that one third of UK and Ireland customers across all industries say they would switch to another provider if they fail to get a satisfactory response in five minutes or less. Government departments may risk bearing the brunt of citizen’s frustration if there are similar delays with no alternative option available.

The report also found that while customers are placing a high value on speed and convenience, they are not prepared to sacrifice quality of service. More than half (56%) only want experiences to be faster if this can also guarantee no mistakes will be made or that a better service will be delivered.

Achieving both speed and quality requires a high level of efficiency from organisations – a feature only achievable through powerful analytics that drive intelligent decision-making.

To learn more about hyperautomation in the public sector, read the eBook entitled Supercharge Citizen Services. 

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