The great potential of automation for public administration
Public and private sectors are two different pairs of shoes, and not only from a legal point of view but of course also from an economic one. Nevertheless, the population basically expects the exact same things from its public administration as it expects from its innovative bank, for example. In other words, security, reliability, speed, transparency, and time- and location-independent services, to name just a few of these demands. Technological progress, which has so far been used only sparingly in many places, is not necessarily a magnet for new, young professionals in the public sector. Other than that, digitization is steadily increasing the public’s demands on the public sector to provide high-quality services with less bureaucracy. The opportunities for automation to create faster and simpler processes for the population on the one hand and, at the same time, process optimizations and efficiency increases for the authorities, on the other hand, are available and can be integrated.
The greatest potential for automation lies in public administration, as it makes up the largest part of the public sector. It receives a huge volume of different types of documents every day, including correspondence, surveys, forms, tax returns, ballots, benefit applications and many more, which need to be captured and processed, while at the same time always seeking and maintaining proximity to the population. The first and essential step is to take away the fear of automation from the public administration and its employees and to show that it will not replace their jobs, but rather that technology will support them in their work.
Just because the fundamental task of public administration is not to generate profits does not mean that process optimization in the form of automation should not be implemented here as well. On the contrary, one of the primary goals of public administration is to provide services that benefit the entire population. Efficiency is just as important here as it is in the private sector. And not only are the demands of the population growing as a result of digitization and its possibilities, but the population itself is also growing steadily. In the future, services must continue to meet the highest security requirements and be of the usual high quality.
Due to the high volume of documents in public administrations, the benefits of automation are greatest where the documents are captured and processed. Instead of having to deal with most or all of these challenges manually and thus losing on the opportunity for fast response times, this is now done automatically using powerful AI-based OCR (Optical Character Recognition). The OCR software automatically recognizes, classifies and extracts all relevant data in the documents, which greatly reduces and, in an increasing number of cases, even completely eliminates the huge amount of data capture and processing that would otherwise be done manually. This, therefore, means more time resources for public administration staff, which they can now invest in direct interactions with citizens. By automating data capture and processing via AI-OCR, two birds can be killed with one stone. The office is once again focusing more on people and their individual concerns, and people are increasingly finding confidence in the public administration and thus, in the overall picture, in the state.
In everyday practice, automated data capture and processing supports administrative staff in work processes that, when processed manually, are error-prone, repetitive and usually also very boring. At the same time, faster process processing reduces costs and relieves employees of these tasks, allowing them to devote their often highly developed social skills and values to more important tasks, such as directly helping the public with their questions.
So, rationally speaking, the rejection of process automation, such as that of data collection and processing, has long since ceased to be of any benefit to the public sector. Especially with the social point of view of the public sector in mind, automating these processes with software offers great added value. Employees can free themselves from the manual and less fulfilling work and devote themselves to the value-adding tasks as a personal interface to the population.