virtual agents for IT support

State Department sees RPA as path to help desk efficiency

The State Department wants to improve help desk operations with robotic process automation.

In a July 16 request for information, the department’s Office of Consolidated Customer Support (CCS) said that as it modernizes and consolidates the agency’s 19 help desks, it wants to automate routine processes – password resets, data access and transfer requests and re-enabling disabled accounts -- to cut down on the time-consuming, manual, redundant tasks currently assigned to help desk staff. Other use cases involve using RPA to test web-based systems to ensure they are operational, send follow-up emails to customers and automate the processes of disabling accounts and modifying distribution lists.

The contractor, CSS said, must take into account all the ways employees interact with the help desk – online, by phone, by text or in person – to fully understand how people interact with the help desk and identify pain points in the current processes.

CCS is looking for a partner to help it develop a simple minimum viable product (MVP) pilot using the UiPath development environment in the cloud, and it expects its partner to test the solution with end users and create metrics for every stage of the project to track how the delivered solution improves how employees interact with it and how it makes the help desk more efficient.

The MVP should be intuitive enough that users succeed when they first try it.

Agile development is key to the effort, according to the RFI, and CCS plans four 30-day sprints that include developing user stories, integrating feedback from test teams and addressing backlogs.

The RFI is just the latest sign of federal agencies' growing interest in automation.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, for example, recently launched the CMS Employee Roll Call Bot that can flag when employees aren’t logging in or are having trouble accessing agency systems.

Responses to the CCS solicitation are due July 27.

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