Speaking Wednesday at FedScoop’s ITModTalks, Kelly Fletcher (pictured), CIO, U.S. Department of State, said financial reporting was one of several areas where the agency is using AI and automation to improve the efficiency of back-office operations. State’s federated structure and global mission can make the process especially challenging, according to the IT executive.
“To make a monthly financial statement was making two months … using RPA we’re now doing it in a couple of days,” she said.
The CIO also cited the organization of COVID-19 repatriation flights as another area where State has deployed robotic process automation to great effect. Previously, diplomats requiring return flights to the United States had to fill out forms by hand, which were subsequently typed up by other State Department employees.
Fletcher said that in this example, RPA had helped reduce the number of staff needed to carry out the mundane task of data duplication and had also increased the speed at which staff are being reimbursed for expenses incurred while abroad.
She said also that while State has used the two automation initiatives to create more efficient business operations, the agency is ultimately focused on giving United States diplomats the highest quality data wherever they are.