Automation tools are helping state chief information officers (CIOs) drive more efficiency in government operations and advance citizen service delivery, according to state and local government experts.

At MeriTalk’s State Tech Vision virtual event on Sept. 27, Wyoming State CIO Bill Vajda and Andrew Graf, chief product officer at TeamDynamix, explained how process automation tools allow CIOs to have more time to focus on constituent-facing activities.

“When you look at the real business of being a CIO – the back office kind of functions that you’re looking to manage as efficiently as possible to free up resources that can actually take care of the constituent interaction – process automation tools can be very helpful,” Vajda said.

“If you think of the back office functions that a lot of CIOs sit on top of, those actually are good candidates for enterprise kind of process automation,” he added. “Every one of the directors has the same business concern. They’re trying to drive as much efficiency in their organization as possible, so they can take those resources and apply them to where the real bang for the buck is, which is the constituent-facing activities and functions of their directorate.”

Building off of Vajda’s point, Graf noted that TeamDynamix recently teamed up with Information Week to conduct a study that found over 50 percent of IT teams spend about two months a year on tasks that could be automated.

“That’s a lot of time to spend more time with your constituents,” Graf said of the findings. “I mean, think about improving the performance of IT, improving the happiness of the team members, but then also improving the constituents’ opinion of IT.”

“What we’re seeing is there’s a way with automation to not have to continually fight for more resources and allow the resources you do have to do the work that they like to do more –  meaning help people,” Graf said.

Vajda explained that when it comes to cybersecurity, it is “virtually impossible for any single analyst to stay on top of” every cyber threat that is detected. Mission-specific functions – such as cybersecurity – are typically excellent candidates for automation tools, he said.

“The issue of automating something kind of across government is a very complicated discussion. What I’ve observed though, is what unites everybody is the simple kind of ubiquitous functions like cybersecurity,” Vajda said. “Those kinds of things can be automated, very, very consistently across an enterprise.”

In order to better advance citizen and customer service delivery, Graf said automation needs to be part of the “new vernacular” of serving customers, team members, and constituents.

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