Leading Change: Beyond RPA
Originally published on LinkedIn, May 14, 2023
Leading Change: Beyond RPA
If you've been having trouble keeping up with all the recent AI announcements across the tech industry, you are not alone! I have been spending some time this month catching up on some of the latest product updates integrating more generative AI capabilities into widely used apps and search engines. Along with these AI announcements, enhancements to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) capabilities, including Hosted RPA, have been bringing the potential for Hyperautomation within reach for many more organizations, especially within the public sector.
But what is Hyperautomation? Gartner defines Hyperautomation as:
"a business-driven, disciplined approach that organizations use to rapidly identify, vet and automate as many business and IT processes as possible. Hyperautomation involves the orchestrated use of multiple technologies, tools or platforms, including: artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, event-driven software architecture, robotic process automation (RPA), business process management (BPM) and intelligent business process management suites (iBPMS), integration platform as a service (iPaaS), low-code/no-code tools, packaged software, and other types of decision, process and task automation tools."
Anybody who has been following along since the announcement of tools like AI Builder in 2019 and the expansion of RPA capabilities through Power Automate Desktop in 2020, has already seen how customers have been laying the foundation for more impactful Hyperautomation in their environments for years. We are at a great inflection point now that Hosted RPA solutions are more widely available, allowing smaller automation projects to scale quickly and multiply their enterprise impact in a way that was too resource-intensive and cost prohibitive in the past.
As an industrial engineer by training (and taxpayer by obligation), I am more than eager to see how these technology solutions can be more broadly applied to enhance and accelerate the delivery of government services across all facets of our daily lives. From healthcare administration to benefits management, transportation to public safety, justice, education and communications - there are so many aspects of living that depend on the efficient and reliable delivery of government services across the state & local and federal levels.
And it's no surprise that among the current Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goals in the President's Management Agenda, automation is playing a key part in reimagining the future of Federal work for its top priority of "Strengthening and Empowering the Federal Workforce." Success metrics for CAP Goal 3.1 include "increas[ing] the use of emerging technologies that can automate tasks, allowing employees to prioritize the agency’s highest value work." (emphasis added).
NOTE: "Shifting from Low to High Value Work" was the focus of CAP Goal 6 in the previous administration, which may also be referenced by some other resources developed during that time. See OMB Memorandum M-18-23 (Aug. 2018).
Recognizing this opportunity, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) formed a Federal RPA Community of Practice (CoP) in 2019, bringing together over 1,400 members from 100+ departments and agencies. For those looking to learn more about applying RPA within the government space, they have a lot of great resources on their site, including an RPA Playbook, Federal Use Case Inventory, reports on the State of Federal RPA in 2020 and 2021, and this great video from the Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI).
Another great resource on how this is being applied in the Federal government is through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Their RPA Center of Excellence (CoE) has even more examples of how this has been implemented and governed in both federated and centralized service models.
And speaking of CoEs, there are plenty more resources available to help understand, establish, and sustain an Automation CoE as part of broader Power Platform and Cloud CoE initiatives. If you want to learn more about the Automation and Power Platform CoEs from the experts, be sure to sign up for office hours from the Power CAT team. Also keep an eye out for more automation sessions during Microsoft Build later this month. Digital attendees can register for FREE via https://build.microsoft.com/
If you would like to learn more about RPA and other premium Power Platform capabilities available to government customers, you can also join our next Federal Civilian Business Applications Customer Success Power Hour, Mondays at 12ET/PT also via the Fed Biz Apps COE Portal. Hope to see you there!
Federal Acquisition Institute, "Automation in Federal Work: Robotic Process Automation (RPA)," Jan. 13, 2022, at
Gartner, "Hyperautomation," at https://www.gartner.com/en/information-technology/glossary/hyperautomation
Jessica Hawk, "What’s new in Azure Data & AI: Azure is built for generative AI apps," Mar. 30, 2023, at https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/what-s-new-in-azure-data-ai-azure-is-built-for-generative-ai-apps/
Yusuf Mehdi, "Announcing the next wave of AI innovation with Microsoft Bing and Edge," May 4, 2023, at https://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2023/05/04/announcing-the-next-wave-of-ai-innovation-with-microsoft-bing-and-edge/
Microsoft, "Automation Center of Excellence strategy with the Automation Kit," Nov. 30, 2022, at https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/power-automate/guidance/automation-kit/overview/automation-coe-strategy
Microsoft, "Cloud center of excellence (CCoE) functions," Feb. 28, 2023, at https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/cloud-adoption-framework/organize/cloud-center-of-excellence
Microsoft, Federal Business Applications CoE Portal, aka.ms/FedBizAppsCoE or
Microsoft, Federal Business Applications Customer Success Power Hour, https://aka.ms/FedCIVBAPowerHour (current week's registration only)
Microsoft Power Customer Advisory Team (Power CAT), https://microsoft.github.io/powercat/
Microsoft, "Microsoft Power Platform Center of Excellence (CoE) Starter Kit," Feb. 8, 2023, at https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/power-platform/guidance/coe/starter-kit
Microsoft, "Overview of AI Builder 2019 release wave 2," at https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/power-platform-release-plan/2019wave2/ai-builder/ (last updated Sep. 16, 2021)
Microsoft Build, https://build.microsoft.com/
President's Management Agenda, https://www.performance.gov/pma/
President's Management Agenda Archive, "CAP Goal 6," at https://trumpadministration.archives.performance.gov/CAP/low-value-to-high-value-work/
Stephen Siciliano, "Announcing new releases for Microsoft Power Automate hosted RPA," Jan. 12, 2023, at https://powerautomate.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/announcing-new-releases-for-microsoft-power-automate-hosted-rpa/
Stephen Siciliano, "Automate smarter than ever before with AI Builder and Copilot in Power Automate," Mar. 16, 2023, at https://flow.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/automate-smarter-than-ever-before-with-ai-builder-and-copilot-in-power-automate/
Stephen Siciliano, "Jumpstart your business with Power Automate’s new desktop RPA solution," Sep. 22, 2020, at https://powerautomate.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/jumpstart-your-business-with-power-automates-new-desktop-rpa-solution/
U.S. Department of Agriculture, "RPA Center of Excellence," at https://www.usda.gov/rpa/coe
U.S. General Services Administration, "Federal Robotic Process Automation Community of Practice," at https://www.gsa.gov/technology/government-it-initiatives/federal-robotic-process-automation-community-of-practice (last reviewed Dec. 14, 2022)