Every day NASA receives 100 emails on average from grant recipients. These emails are encrypted as they contain sensitive information. The employees at NASA would decrypt the email and copy it to another system. The entire process used to take up 2-3 hours of an employee every day. Soon, NASA started using automation to streamline the process. Since then, NASA has been able to save up to 10-15 hours per week.

NASA is just one example of how automation can help government agencies enhance their operations and improve productivity without any errors. There are many more benefits of using automation. Government departments and the Public Sector can:

  • Save costs on repetitive work caused due to human-prone errors
  • Focus on building deeper engagement with the citizens and improve their experience
  • Re-imagine the existing governance model to meet the current challenges of citizens
  • Make data-driven decisions to offer improved services to citizens

However, government agencies (federal, government, and local) are still reluctant to adopt automation despite the benefits. Let’s understand why.

Why Are Government Agencies Still Reluctant To Adopt Automation?

  1. Security concerns

According to a Fedscoop survey, 41% of the respondents cited security concerns as one of the primary reasons for not adopting automation. Governments deal with a lot of sensitive information related to citizens. Governments are reluctant to adopt digital technology because software-driven bots need to access the information to automate the process. The government needs to consider many complex access control policies and other security concerns before adopting automation. They need to implement strict security policies and establish a governance model to monitor, minimize, and mitigate security risks during automation. They also need to ensure that no one has unauthorized access to the automated business processes. This will help them to prevent security risks.

  1. Lack of training

When automation is introduced, the processes transform, and the human workforce needs to be trained to work with new tools. Workflows accelerate and a greater degree of transparency comes into the operations. These are fundamental changes that not all workers are geared to address. They cannot function without proper training. However, the Fedscoop survey revealed that 37% of respondents stated that lack of training was one of the major reasons for slow adoption. Most feel unprepared and less confident about using new technologies such as automation. There is also a fear of losing jobs. To fully leverage the potential of automation, government agencies need to invest in training the workforce to perform better. The lack of skills could cause hindrance in the automation strategies. Government agencies must also build a culture where the workforce feels confident and secure to embrace automation and improve productivity.

  1. Workforce displacement

One of the major bottlenecks to automation is the fear of workforce displacement. According to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 14% of the jobs in 32 participating countries are on the verge of getting automated. Governments must consider the issue of workforce displacement while automating the processes. They have to balance between automating the processes and reducing the human workforce. Sometimes workforce displacement could become a bone of contention during elections, given the sheer size and voting power of the government workforce. That’s why most agencies are reluctant to adopt automation. However, this balance can be achieved by upskilling the workforce or offering financial and psychological support to the displaced workforce.

  1. Lack of executive buy-in

Over 20% of the respondents in the Fedscoop survey said that the lack of executive buy-in is one of the reasons why governments don’t adopt automation. There are various hurdles that they have to face – right from a reluctance to replace legacy systems with automated tools, re-engineering processes, training the workforce, and establishing new security and compliance policies. All these changes require the government to spend a considerable amount and time. Given that all the processes are mission-critical, government agencies are reluctant to implement automation despite implementing a pilot project successfully. Hence, it’s important to show how other government agencies have implemented automation and achieved success. This could help the agency to shed its inhibition and gain support from the executives to implement automation.


According to the US Office of Personnel Management, automation of half of the government agencies’ work could reduce the workload by 30%.  However, to bring in automation, government agencies need to overcome their reluctance and adopt it proactively. Governments should be willing to re-engineer some of their processes, re-train the workforce to adapt to the new technology, and find ways to bring changes both at the job level and at the government’s level. The interfaces must be built to promote human-machine interactions efficiently.

Given the enormous re-designing required during automation, government agencies must work with a trusted partner who can help them in the process.

Trinus has been helping government agencies to re-imagine their governance and operating models and improve process efficiencies and effectiveness across all platforms.

To know more, contact us.