The General Services Administration’s (GSA) chief financial officer said today that adoption of robotic process automation (RPA) technologies across Federal agencies is helping to reduce manual tasks performed by the Federal workforce, but without the worrisome byproduct of trimming Federal government jobs.

“The RPA work that we’re doing is eliminating tasks, not jobs…[Employees] are able to do more higher level work,” said Gerard Badorrek, GSA’s CFO and sponsor of the RPA Community of Practice organized by the agency, at FCW’s Emerging Tech Workshop on Oct. 30.

Introducing RPA technologies to projects helps ease the manual workload of Federal employees, Badorrek emphasized, and sets the stage for them to tackle bigger issues.  GSA predicts that implementing RPA to take over 10 hours of work per employee would increase labor capacity by $1.4 billion.

Badorrek explained that the Community of Practice aims to solve challenges and share information across the Federal government to any employees interested in RPA tech. On its own, GSA has six full-time employees working to spread RPA implementation, and the agency has reported 31 successful bot automations.

But despite some successes with the technology, RPA is not always the right call, he said. “We’ve been able to optimize and approve processes just because we wanted to apply an RPA to them…[but] if we don’t think there’s enough benefit, we’ve turned [clients] away,” Badorrek said.

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Katie Malone
Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.