Easy as RPA

Robotic Process Automation (RPA). It may sound like a premise to a movie where robots take over the world, but it's very real and it's helping organizations realize modernization goals. Despite the name, RPA has nothing to do with robots. It is about software that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automate high-volume, repetitive tasks. This can include queries, calculations, and maintenance of records and transactions.

In government, RPA is already being implemented in a wide variety of applications.

  • Inspections - As agencies look to modernize the way they perform inspections of the water we drink, the roads we travel, and the buildings we travel to, they are using RPA to move off paper-dependent processes.
  • Claims review -- RPA is built into an intake tool used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid that ingests records, automating the process and identifying potential problems.
  • Procurement - RPA is being used to automate and streamline the close-out process of government contracts, freeing up staff to work on actual programs, rather than spending time documenting that work.
  • IT asset management - Managing IT assets is a combination of automated and manual tasks. The introduction of RPA greatly reduces the need for manual intervention when it comes to enforcing governance and process, freeing up staff to work on mission-focused projects rather than tracking the technology used on those projects.

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Behind the Curtain: National Contract Management Association

As we've written here, the contracting and procurement market is at an interesting crossroads. The current workforce is aging and retiring making it difficult to find and train incoming talent. Additionally, new technologies such as AI and blockchain are being introduced and changing daily workflow. Now more than ever, the contracting community needs ways to keep the workforce trained on tried and true processes of this profession as well as get up to speed on emerging technologies and tactics. Luckily, an organization exists to do just this.

The National Contract Management Association (NCMA) celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2019 but with the industry pressures detailed above they have no plans of slowing down. The group brought in a new CEO in 2018 to lead their growth and support for members. Kraig Conrad comes to NCMA with 20 years of association leadership and experience helping organizations evolve to meet changing member and market needs. Kraig took some time to share how NCMA is ramping up efforts to support contract professionals through their events and training. Continue reading

Machines Among Us: Today’s Reality of Artificial Intelligence

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) used to be the foils for heroes in science fiction movies. The Day the Earth Stood Still; 2001: A Space Odyssey; I, Robot; The Matrix; RoboCop; and Terminator all show a day when machines take over the world with disastrous consequences for humans. The reality is AI is already here today and it is nowhere near as villainous as the movies portray. AI helps diabetics better manage their sugar; enables driverless, electric vehicles that are better for the environment; supports the efforts of cyber warriors; and makes medicine more personal and precise.[Tweet "Machines Among Us: Today's Reality of Artificial Intelligence. #GovEventsBlog"]

Artificial Intelligence is used to describe the activities of a machine when it mimics the cognitive abilities of humans. This cognition allows the machine to take action toward a stated goal. But how do machines become intelligent? Like humans, they must be taught. Machine Learning is a type of AI focused on giving computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed. Using algorithms (designed by humans), machines can make predictions using the massive amounts of data they are able to process.[Tweet "AI = the activities of a machine when it mimics the abilities of humans. #GovEventsBlog"] Continue reading