How Microsoft Power Automate could transform the public sector

Mike Lewis
Mike Lewis

The news has been filled with concerns about technology taking over our jobs of late. Nevertheless, these suspicions couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, when leveraged properly, tools like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) could completely transform how we operate, helping private enterprises and public sector services overcome challenges and improve the experience for clients and employees alike.

Microsoft Power Automate is one such RPA tool. Far from sending robots in to completely turn things around, the idea behind this revolutionary low-code technology is that anyone can create strings of simple code – no data science experience required – to instruct the relevant machines to execute mundane, repetitive tasks. This frees up time for already burdened teams to focus on other, more strategic tasks, allowing them to improve the services they offer in the process.

With the UK’s public sector currently in crisis, it is the perfect candidate for implementation. Indeed, the NHS is currently 154,000 full-time doctors and nurses short, with numbers expected to rise to an overwhelming 571,000 members of staff by 2036. Likewise, the British police force is 30,000 officers short, and the country has also fallen prey to a dangerous teacher shortage and cutbacks that threaten to completely destabilise the public transport industry.

With so much at stake, not only for the United Kingdom but for multiple other nations worldwide, it is essential that governments take swift action to provide an adequate response to public needs and maintain citizen satisfaction. With budgets at an all-time low and recruitment rates suffering, it’s clear that the solution must be digital, enhancing existing teams with the powers of RPA technologies rather than continuing to cling on to unattainable new hire and productivity targets.

Low-code solutions like Microsoft Power Automate can help by:

  • Creating workflows that boost efficiency;
  • Identifying and eliminating any bottlenecks in existing processes;
  • Freeing up valuable employee time to focus on strategic and public-facing tasks;
  • Reducing costs by cutting down hours and eliminating the need for additional recruits and human training – at least in terms of repetitive tasks;
  • Helping public services overcome backlogs and eliminate pileups created as a result of limited capacity;
  • Allowing public services to respond smoothly and swiftly to frequent regulation changes and updates.

There are many ways in which the above advantages can be brought to the fore, with the following examples illustrating the true diversity of RPA solutions like Microsoft Power Automate.

Microsoft Power Automate can be used for data management and migration

In addition to programming machines to transfer data automatically, RPA technologies can also be leveraged to improve data hygiene. This means deleting any duplicate or unnecessary data and alerting organisations of any data gaps, for example. By improving the quality of their data and facilitating ease of centralised access, public-sector services can provide an almost real-time response to citizen needs through AI-powered data analysis, ultimately driving better quality for all. And the best part? Machines are much less likely to produce any errors, as they won’t give in to fatigue or boredom like humans might when dealing with repetitive tasks.

Microsoft Power Automate makes administrative tasks easier

From accurate data entry to the processing of mundane forms and applications, RPA technologies remove a hefty burden from administrators’ hands. The decisions, results and reports generated all facilitate a speedier response to frequent needs, helping to ensure that cases are dealt with promptly, documents like passports and driving licenses are issued without delay, and healthcare and legal issues are handled as quickly as possible to prevent circumstances from getting worse. Deadlines won’t be missed, the public will feel more satisfied, and civil servants will have more time to dedicate to improvements and innovations.

Microsoft Power Automate helps governments to get their finger on the pulse

Public opinion is incredibly valuable. By instructing machines to gather and analyse comments and survey data, potentially even generating reports, it becomes much easier to determine what people want and when and how they want it. This allows the government to plan and budget accordingly, allocating its resources to things that genuinely matter rather than hoping for the best and missing the mark.

Microsoft Power Automate saves time and money

Of course, by automating simple and frequently performed tasks, public-sector organisations of all kinds will save considerable time. Not only will this reduce their overall spend when it comes to paying staff hours and wages, but it also reduces costs by eliminating the risk of errors or issues being overlooked. For instance, RPA technologies might be leveraged to conduct automatic fraud checks or carry out instant benefits and tax calculations. If something seems amiss, the system will point this out, allowing appropriate remedial action to be taken.

Microsoft Power Automate makes countries safer

RPA technologies are great at detecting real-time threats and immediately triggering the appropriate course of action. It’s not just cyber threats that they can mitigate, either. Whilst automating data processing, management and migration helps eliminate unauthorised access to sensitive data, automated vaccine and public health records can help the government keep track of specific disease states like Covid-19, thus allowing them to take swift remedial action when appropriate. Automatic reminders can also be issued on behalf of healthcare services, helping to safeguard the future of national healthcare as we simultaneously protect public health.

Microsoft Power Automate helps governments to prepare for the future

Whilst the benefits of RPA technologies are generally immediate, with Microsoft Power Automate flows being created and implemented in as little as two minutes, these low-code platforms also help governments to plan ahead. By collating, analysing, and reporting on education data, those in charge of the country’s learning can better allocate their teachers and resources, providing better curriculums, streamlined timetables and more efficient enrolment – all of which will better prepare future generations for careers to come.

Microsoft Power Automate improves public-sector reputation

Last but by no means least, RPA is the perfect way to improve the public sector’s reputation. By dealing with cases as efficiently as possible, people will no longer grow ill as they wait for healthcare, frustrations regarding legal matters will die down and crime rates will fall, as criminals will recognise that there will always be consequences. This all translates into improved public trust, which is essential to any successful nation.

How Microsoft Power Automate works

Microsoft Power Automate is a low-code RPA platform that can be used by anyone, without any coding experience, on desktop, web or mobile. It can even be used on Microsoft Teams for better teamwork on the cloud.

The visual interface is incredibly easy to use, with hundreds of pre-built connectors and thousands of templates to choose from. Users must simply drag and drop the elements they need into the interface to make a start.

Those looking for more custom solutions can also describe their requests using regular language. Their instructions will then be translated into OpenAI Codex, allowing Microsoft Power Automate to generate a corresponding flow.

Flows can be cloud-based, desktop-based or related to business processes. Whichever build method or flow type you choose, it’s easy to optimise using the AI builder, and flows can be run in a matter of minutes. Interoperability is never an issue, whether you’re working across the Microsoft suite or want to integrate with non-API legacy systems. Likewise, those looking to scale their solutions can do so easily using Microsoft Azure.

Overall, public sector institutions using Microsoft Process Automate can expect a return on investment of 140% after just three years, with net profits of existing customers totalling $8.32 million US dollars.

Getting started with RPA

Getting started with Microsoft Process Automate couldn’t be easier. Creating valuable workflows that could generate huge savings in time, money and reputation takes just minutes. Organisations won’t be required to replace their existing systems or technologies to get started, making it the perfect, low-stress way to refresh public services and rescue them from the brink of collapse – not only improving citizen satisfaction but also improving the workplace outlook for civil servants, hopefully encouraging additional applications in the years ahead.

Interested in finding out more? Contact a member of the Equantiis team today to book an initial consultation.






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More about the author

Mike Lewis
Mike Lewis - Commercial Director

As Commercial Director, his focus is on the Sales and Marketing aspects of the business. Passionate about value-oriented sales, cross-functional stakeholder engagement and effective change management, with the goal of always focusing on delivering material impact to our clients. Across his career, Mike has worked with a variety of sectors, including Not For Profit (Charity and Housing), Healthcare (Public and Private), Finance, Banking, Retail, Distribution, Manufacturing, Automotive and Broadcasting. Outside of work, Mike is a keen DIYer, was a skydiving coach for over 21 years, holds a Private Pilot’s Licence, RYA Competent Crew (Sailing) and is passionate about all things music related.