Finance wants to automate its shared services hub

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Finance wants to automate its shared services hub

RPA for the back office.

The Department of Finance will begin rolling out robotic process automation in its new shared services hub later this year to drive down the cost of delivering corporate services.

The service delivery office (SDO) was created when the core transaction services responsibilities of the education portfolio’s shared services centre were transferred in December last year.

It is one of six hubs that have been established across the Australian public service to consolidate core transactional corporate services – finance and HR – and back-office systems of 60 agencies.

However, the SDO is struggling with the high cost of providing the transactional services because of "the resourcing needed to deliver the services in a manual, non-standardised environment", and is failing to meet the service expectations of the agencies it serves.

These are the same operational efficiency issues faced by the former shared services centre when it was stripped of its core transaction responsibilities.

But Finance is hoping to change that by embedding a "sustainable and scalable robotic process automation capability" to transform the way the office delivers services.

It expects this will improve efficiency by up to 25 percent by June 2018 through a combination of "process standardisation, process automation and undertaking the requisite organisation changes to embed a sustainable and scalable RPA capability in the SDO operating model," according to a brief posed on the Digital Marketplace.

It is looking for a supplier to examine the office’s core business processes and optimise, re-engineer and automate these where it deems fit "to realise improvements and harvest benefits", as well as work with the office to "establish an internal robot development".

The department want suppliers to outline their experience working with RPA software such as Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, and UiPath.

Finance has already undertaken a proof of concept on four of the SDO's business processes, which it said resulted in a 10 percent reduction in the time taken to compete tasks.

The chosen RPA software will be installed in the SAP Hana Enterprise Cloud or on-premise. It will need to support SAP and selected third party additions, Windows desktop environment, Office applications, and have the ability to interact with databases and image recognition.

The department expects to award a contract in September and begin automating processes by the end of the year.

Finance is also preparing to introduce a dedicate whole-of-government ERP panel for the use of the shared service hubs and reduce the more than 200 ERP systems that are currently in use across the public sector. 

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