How agencies can use AI to automate and augment operations to improve performance
Backlogs are the bane of government. Delays of weeks, months or even years are too often incurred in executing a number of everyday tasks, including adjudicating claims, scheduling appointments, hiring new employees, procuring services, conducting investigations and approving applications.
Few agencies are exempt from these challenges, and the resulting costs are both financial and reputational, as their inability to deliver core services in a timely manner directly impacts their ability to execute the mission. However, for those people whom agencies serve, the stakes are even higher, as delays can have livelihood, peace of mind, or even life and death consequences.
Root causes of backlogs
These backlogs happen for two reasons: an overreliance on ad hoc, manual processes that create operational inefficiencies and/or a need for subjective, often specialized assessment or adjudication that exceeds capacity. Underlying issues can include poor access to decision-making evidence and information, and fluctuating demand with frequent or unpredictable spikes.
Addressing operational challenges using AI
Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions are ideally suited for these types of situations. They can automate low-value, repetitive tasks, executing them more efficiently and accurately than humans, freeing individuals to play higher-level roles requiring greater empathy, cognitive analysis and more strategic thinking. AI can also improve the speed and quality of decision making, allowing for better navigation of increasingly complex and massive amounts of data; allowing us to more consistently arrive at the best possible outcome.
In commercial markets, AI is being used to streamline and optimize operations and provide more personalized customer service. Think of an insurance company that approves a claim with just a photo from your smartphone. Within the federal government, it has been used widely in the national security and cybersecurity realms to detect patterns of anomalous behavior, predict where bad actors might strike, and take anticipatory measures to thwart the attack. Using these same methods, AI is also now being used to detect fraud, improve health outcomes, predict crop yields and approve claims.
Using AI across the public sector
The Essential Insights: Artificial Intelligence Unleashed report highlights five ways agencies can use AI to solve some of the toughest, most complex issues facing the federal government. This is not some futuristic vision, but a call to action as the capabilities described here are already planned or in use in the public and private sectors.
These findings demonstrate that federal agencies are ready and willing to employ AI within their operations. Based on the success that we have seen in the commercial sector, this should have a meaningful impact on customer service and mission delivery, as government talent is able to spend greater time and attention addressing more complex issues and challenges.
According to Accenture research, over two-thirds of U.S. federal agencies plan to make investments in AI technologies in the next year. Additionally, 82 percent of federal executives agreed within the next two years “AI will work next to humans in my organization, as a co-worker, collaborator, and trusted advisor.”