financial processes (Wright Studio/Shutterstock.com)

OMB, DLA join ranks of bot-friendly agencies

Robotic process automation got a boost from the Office of Management and Budget when Director Mick Mulvaney announced that OMB is working on a plan to use RPA to perform repetitive, "low-value" work required for financial analysis and contracting documentation. The plan is expected to be in place this year.

Mulvaney said in an Aug. 27 memorandum that automation will "reduce human error and improve compliance with contracting protocols and financial analysis and reporting" and that OMB will work with agencies to implement RPA and other automation technology to reduce costs of routine activities.

The news was an aside in a memo offering guidance to agencies on how to implement the Trump administration's management agenda item of reducing low-value work. The memo directs agencies to "develop and implement strategies for shifting resources to high-value activities and identify and eliminate "unnecessary or obsolete" compliance activities.

The Defense Logistics Agency is also digging into RPA. In the Research and Development group's  July/August newsletter, officials said DLA Information Operations (J6) will soon be implementing RPA capability, "starting with some high volume, manual processes in a variety of business areas."

Several agencies already have RPA programs. NASA developed RPA tools to help with financial management, procurement and human resources. Treasury Office of Financial Innovation and Transformation set up RPA activities to speed financial processes for entering data, scraping email, reconciling information between systems and validating forms. The Defense Information Systems Agency’s Accounting and Readiness Division piloted a few bots that automated different steps in the audit process.

Part of this article was first posted to FCW, a sister site to GCN.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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