The General Services Administration (GSA) is using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology to increase efficiencies across the agency, and a top agency official insists that employees have no reason to fear that their jobs will be eliminated as a result.

“We hire individuals to do a job at this level, but to get that accomplished they’re doing work at a much lower level and that might be 30-40 percent of their job,” said Gerard Badorrek, GSA’s chief financial officer, on April 11.

“What we’re doing is freeing them up to do the higher-level work,” he said.

Speaking at AFFIRM’s President’s Management Agenda event, Badorrek warned against adopting a false equivalency between RPA and automation technologies used by other industries, such as auto makers which have replaced some assembly line workers with machines.

GSA’s goal, he said, is to eliminate, optimize, and automate. By keeping these three elements in mind, GSA is increasing efficiency, accuracy, and customer satisfaction. “One of the hidden benefits of RPA is process improvement and re-engineering,” he said.

“Overall, through the work that we’ve done with our partners at GSA, we’ve identified roughly 230,000 hours of work that we could either automate, optimize, or eliminate,” Badorrek said.

Across the organization “about 170,000 [hours] are robotics opportunities and the other 60,000 are either workload elimination or optimization,” he said.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.