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Digital Process Automation: Keystone Foundation for a World Class Digital Government

Digital Process Automation (DPA) is the foundation goal for digital transformation initiatives

Digital Process Automation (DPA) is the foundation goal for digital transformation initiatives.

Process automation refers to the use of digital technology to perform a process or processes in order to accomplish a workflow or function, and DPA provides an overall umbrella concept for expanding this to encompass Agile development and design thinking with existing enterprise BPM (Business Process Management) practices and systems.

Pegasystems, reported on by Forrester as the leader in the DPA field, define four factors critical to the success of DPA:

  1. Customer centricity / customer journey mapping.
  2. End-to-end automation.
  3. Business and IT agility.
  4. Low code / no code platform and citizen development.

Read more about Pegasystems DPA here, and download a free white paper guide here, which introduces and explains the fundamentals.

Enterprise organizations like public sector bodies face a challenge of a plethora of new buzzword technologies: AI, RPA (Robotic Process Automation) et al, while also shifting from waterfall project approaches to Agile delivery.

Embracing Service Design as a catalyst for digital transformation means that it must address a full scope of enterprise systems as well as new web and mobile channel interfaces, and DPA offers the framework for this holistic approach.

DPA enables CIOs to avoid creating yet more silos as they adopt key new technologies such as chatbots and web self-service, and instead have these be a component part of a truly transformed digital organization.

The report highlights a critical point: Not to simply automate tasks and existing silos, but to design services around a complete end-to-end customer journey, one that spans across an ecosystem of departments and partners, enabling service design teams with ‘low code’ development tools to accelerate the implementation of the new processes they create.

Brilliant at the Basics: HM Land Registry

The building block of successful digital transformation is customer-centric case management, with measurable outcomes defined in terms they value as the definition of success.

An exemplar case study is HM Land Registry. Documenting their digital strategy plan here, they share their experiences of digital transformation and their future plans for innovation.

This can form a general digital transformation template model for other government agencies. It’s an concrete baseline for a maturity model building reference case study, particularly as their headline theme of ‘Brilliant at the Basics’ is ideal for characterizing the first step on the ladder.

Case Management Digitization %

The Land Registry case workers process 20,000 applications per day, with 650,000 received via post annually. Via a set of ‘Customer Targets’ they specify KPIs for the response rate levels expected of them for handling these, as well as ultimately a customer satisfaction rating for doing so.

Similarly they also state ‘Digital Targets’ for their performance goals in a second main area of focus of digital innovations, such as defining a metric of ‘we will average at least 99.6% availability for external e-services during published service hours’. The basic building block of Digital Government is the digitization of core business workflows like these claims, and the Registry reported an 81% level of automation in 2016, with a target of achieving 95% by 2022.

Having detailed Case Management targets like the Land Registry is thus the ideal end state of a basic level of digital maturity, it provides the foundation for then building atop with more dynamic innovations.

Digital Innovations

With this in mind they also state ‘Digital Targets’ for their performance goals in a second main area of focus of digital innovations – What might they offer in the future that they don’t currently, and how might this benefits their customers and ‘disrupt’ their sector?

Digital Targets build on the previous KPIs, such as defining a metric of ‘we will average at least 99.6% availability for external e-services during published service hours’.

It also identifies specific technological advances and the new digital services they might make possible, for example launching ‘the Digital Mortgage service to create, sign and register a mortgage for approved partners‘.

A key component of this focus is the inclusion of specific key technology trends, most notably Open Data and the Blockchain. Highlighting that:

HM Land Registry holds a rich variety of publishable data of potential interest to individuals, customers, governments, lawyers, conveyancers and financial institutions. Every plot of registered land has a unique register title with corresponding number and plan. Information stored relates to people, places, rights and restrictions.

the Land Registry describes how they publish a number of open data sets and highlights the essential dynamic, how these enable new digital services, such as MapSearch.

Other data sets include Price Paid Data and monthly Transaction Data, as well as the UK House Price Index.

Digital Street 2030

This all culminates towards their pinnacle digital initiative ‘Digital Street’, “groundbreaking research that is exploring how land registration might work in 2030”, and is also how they express their highest stretch target of pioneering a world-class capability:

We will then apply real-life scenarios to demonstrate how a fully geospatially enabled digital register might revolutionise future property transactions, including using Blockchain technology, putting HM Land Registry at the forefront of global land registration innovation.

Digital Street is a new prototype registry that will enable this new real-time, machine-readable information platform.

The goals are to harness AI and other emergent tech and apply them towards impacts like improving the conveyancing process. Here is where they see the potential for Blockchain in particular:

New technologies such as Blockchain might enable the register to be distributed among trusted parties such as lenders and conveyancers, giving them the ability to operate and update in a secure and tamper-proof manner. We will explore the benefits of this alternative approach to managing a digital land register.

Conclusion

Enterprise DPA systems like Pega offer government agencies a wholesale platform – The process workflows for automating the core case management activities, with integrated options for advanced innovations, such as chatbots and those powered by AI.

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Editor of the DigitalGovernment.io site.

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