Robotic Process Automation (RPA) at the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), Office of the Comptroller
The DS Comptroller (DS/CFO) plays a critical role in all aspects of financial planning, budget execution, and proper internal controls to support to the Bureau’s mission of providing protective services for the State Department around the globe. To comply with this important objective, the DS/CFO counts on a large group of dedicated employees and contractors that perform numerous tasks ranging from financial activities to audit and compliance. Many of these tasks are repetitive and take significant time away from the employees who need to focus on areas where they can add value and contribute to the objectives of the Bureau. Manipulating and comparing spreadsheets, processing reconciliations, or entering data into applications, are examples of the many highly automatable tasks carried out daily by the DS/CFO Team. Countless hours are invested in these activities that are often prone to error and contribute to the employees’ burnout.
To address these repetitive and time intensive tasks, The MIL Corporation (MIL) established an RPA Program at the DS/CFO Office. The program, led by project managers, business analysts, and RPA developers, enables DS to evaluate their processes to identify those that are highly automatable. Then, they can create a solid pipeline of automations to be developed. The program methodology follows an end-to-end approach that allows for a deep dive analysis phase for each process, where all requirements are gathered, and feasibility is assessed. It moves to the generation of an automated solution design, development, testing, and deployment, and it concludes with a hyper-care period to aid and accompany the users with adapting to their digital assistants. The program ensures that RPA standards are met, and that proper engagement with the different IT departments and security considerations and approvals are on track for any of the ongoing projects given the sensitivity of the DS environment. As part of the RPA DS/CFO governance, the MIL RPA Team is highly involved in collaborating with the Department of State RPA Community of Practice, DS/CTO, and Security Officers (ISSOs). All bots are approved and prioritized according to their benefits and DS/CFO management direction. Our program encourages the active participation of DS/CFO users through the RPA Portal hosted within SharePoint, where they can submit potential ideas for future automations and can contribute to the program’s growth and the efficiency of the organization in general.
Thanks to the MIL RPA implementation, the DS/CFO Office is transforming their workforce to interact with digital bots that are replacing hundreds of hours of manual work. With two bots already in production facilitating the areas of audit review and SharePoint site maintenance, the benefits are starting to show. The program includes a solid pipeline of bots that will assist in areas such as timecard data entry, travel processing, reconciliations, and internal controls. The benefits do not stop there. RPA is not only delivering reliable automations, but as part of the RPA analysis, we have been able to improve processes, change the way business is done, and bring about standards and efficiencies.See more Financial Services Case Studies