Automation Continues to Be a Strategic Priority for the European Union
Margareta Chesaru is public affairs manager at UiPath.
Fostering digital transformation and ensuring a trustworthy deployment environment for artificial intelligence (AI) have never been higher on the European Commission’s (EC) agenda as they are now. The new President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, set the strategic direction of a “Europe fit for the digital age.” Digital transformation is one of the six main goals under the political guidelines for the 2019-2024 EC.
Executive Vice President for a Europe fit for the digital age, Margrethe Vestager, will drive the objective to strengthen Europe’s digital leadership. Part of this strategy is to fully digitalize the EC.
In her speech given in the European Parliament (EP) plenary on November 27, 2019, EC President von der Leyen said:
“We will automate work that is wearisome for us humans: carrying heavy loads, performing repetitive tasks in factories or in offices. And this will give us time. Time for what distinguishes human beings. Time for what computers can’t do: empathy and creativity.”
Creating simplified and automated working processes are key parts of the EC’s working methods. To deliver on these objectives, the EC will implement the digital strategy proposed in 2018, which aims for a digitized, inclusive, transparent, and effective Commission by 2022. That said, staff members and managers are invited to adopt a “digital first” mindset (similar to the ‘automation first’ mindset).
Over the last few years, several countries have released individual plans to promote the development and use of AI. At the same time, new technologies, including AI and automation, have revamped conversations on e-government, unlocking new opportunities for digital transformation.
The AI for public sector knowledge center of the EC monitors the implementation of new technologies across the European Union (EU). Among the key AI benefits reported are time and improved public services. Automation releases public sector employees from mundane, repetitive tasks, enabling them to focus more of their time on creative work and interactions with citizens.
At the same time, governments are heavily reliant on legacy processes to support their business functions. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) connects legacy systems without invasive implementation or infrastructure overhaul.
The EP acknowledged the impact RPA has on improving public sector processes and took note of “its interoperability with legacy systems” in its report published earlier this year. In a recent study, the EC’s science and knowledge service (Joint Research Centre), found RPA to be a mature technology, “sufficiently developed, resilient, scalable and reliable to be used in large government organisations.”
At UiPath, we’re already seeing public sector customers embracing automation. For example, in Denmark, the Municipality of Copenhagen has turned to RPA as a key part of its digital transformation journey.
The municipality experienced an almost 20% increase in the population rate over the last 10 years. This created a demand to serve more citizens, while also maintaining high-quality public services.
RPA Team Leader Rasmus Lund Stisager explains, “Copenhagen has to service a growing population with the same or a reduced budget and because of this we are always looking for new ways to automate and do things smarter.”
For a more in-depth discussion on the role that RPA plays in the public sector, make sure to check out our white paper <em>The Path to Digital Government: How Automation Helps Governments Enhance Citizen Services and Improve Agency Productivity</em>. In the white paper, we share best practices from countries around the world on how to achieve digital transformation and increased efficiencies through automation.