Identifying Needs Upfront Helped to Assess Agencies Holistically
Tennessee identified three independent work streams for the first statement of work when engaging process automation.
- Infrastructure assessment and architecture design. Develop an infrastructure that supports process automation and future needs.
- Process inventory and prototype development. Prioritize a backlog of 40 opportunities and design, build and showcase process automation for four processes.
- Define the center of excellence and operating model. Develop the recommended mechanisms to support the state of Tennessee.
“The software we chose was very mature in the marketplace,” Pucci told the NASCIO 2023 conference.
With its software, Tennessee established an enterprise-level automation program and began onboarding its 23 executive branch agencies in fiscal year 2022. The state plans to onboard all agencies by the first half of fiscal year 2024.
In determining how to deploy automation, Pucci and his colleagues looked at state government agencies holistically, not individually.
“We did an analysis and found that each agency has three to five divisions that are the same,” he said. Agencies typically included a division dedicated to human resources, another dedicated to communications, etc. The legal office in an agriculture office shared the same back-office concerns as the legal office in a child services office.
“We were identifying common enterprise automation that we can use across agencies,” Pucci said.
Stabilizing Processes and Costs Across Agencies with Automation
As a result of its process automation program, Tennessee reduced infrastructure costs, footprint and maintenance by running all automation in the cloud, Pucci said. The state saw an 80 percent reduction in servers and achieved nondisruptive economies of scale. (The state initially had roughly 40 servers and an additional 20 for disaster recovery, Pucci said.)
“It is important to have not many unknowns. It was important to us to ensure the infrastructure cost was going to be constant,” Pucci said. With the flat costs of infrastructure, as well as operations and maintenance, the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration was able to successfully make a business case for enterprise automation.
The state also reduced operations and production support costs thanks to the reusable enterprise automation processes deployable across multiple agency divisions.
Up to 40 divisions, for example, use an automation for enterprise Family and Medical Leave Act processing. Many divisions likewise use automation for employment verification for active employees. Each automation represents an end-to-end process that “stays the same and is used across divisions,” Pucci said.
The process automation for employee verification is a common service that saves about 300 hours per year for each organization that uses it, for example.
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