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In the past year and a half, we’ve seen the world transform and businesses follow suit. Many organizations were already undergoing digital transformation efforts in some capacity prior to the pandemic, but when it was evident that remote work was here to stay, these efforts became a necessity in order to keep productivity at its highest in a challenging business landscape.
The adoption of workflow automation solutions has been key to these transformation efforts, by providing employees the tools needed to refine their own work style and create positive change across their entire organization. This holds true for large enterprises but is especially true for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), as adopting these kinds of solutions dramatically impacted their ability to remain in business last year.
Even government agencies are no stranger to the impact of last year’s events. Given their line of work, government employees realized the immense importance of document management. There was an immediate need to keep a closer eye on the process, as highly sensitive information still had to be shared and officiated in a digital medium. Now, with the Biden administration considering work from home to be a permanent offering for federal workers, using workflow automation solutions to streamline the filing of critical documents and refine mundane processes could be the next golden opportunity for the rapidly growing automation industry.
Document Management and eSignature
One might think that government agencies use more traditional methods in their work, such as sharing and signing physical documents, to keep sensitive information protected from any digital disruption. However, back in 2000, the ESIGN Act was signed into effect, meaning the federal government began recognizing electronic signatures as valid, equivalent to a traditional “wet” signature. Technology has advanced quite a bit since this act was signed into effect, but this early stepping stone paved the way for the digitized businesses we’ve grown accustomed to today.
eSignature alone has taken the spotlight in the past year, becoming a critical part of how any organization operates and how they manage a large volume of documents on a daily basis. These solutions have advanced in security for any kind of organization, even a government entity, to be able to verify documents. To provide more clarity, an electronic signature must have records attached to it, such as IP address, time, date, and service provider. Additionally, instructions on what software and hardware requirements are needed to access the documents after they have been electronically signed should be posted and updated as needed.
These detailed requirements are what enable eSignatures to be applicable to government work, allowing direct compliance with international laws like ESIGN, UETA, and eIDAS. Of course, it is true you cannot sign everything using eSignature at the moment, specifically documents related to wills, testamentary trusts, or court orders, but we’re on track to get there in the future.
Workflow Automation Is More than Document Management
Taking a step back from eSignature specifically, it’s important to recognize how workflow automation solutions can benefit government agencies, especially considering the ongoing remote work offerings that so much of the business world utilizes. Specific technologies, like AI and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), continue to play a major role in workflow automation processes, including predicting, analyzing, aggregating, and integrating data.
As of late, AI has proven to be extremely flexible, fitting into any given industry or enterprise, including government-level work. Applied AI, as well as solutions designed to deal with specific functions of a job, can be found everywhere. Additionally, advancements are quickly heading towards developing more sophisticated functions like deep learning algorithms, considered some of the most powerful forms of AI.
AI also applies to no-code solutions, which enable the average employee with little technical experience to become a developer in their own right, without the need for IT resources. Implementing these solutions can have a profound impact on an individual workflow by eliminating mundane tasks and leaving more time to focus on more critical functions of a job. Looking at government work, the mass collection of documents related to tax season, for example, can be streamlined and accomplished faster by implementing this kind of technology.
The beauty of no-code solutions is that they require little technical background, as the tools are designed to be used by anyone looking to refine how they operate day to day. They also allow no-code developers to rise to the occasion and create positive impact across their entire organization. Especially with remote work continuing, government agencies and businesses alike can find this to be an invaluable resource.
Redefining the Future of Government Processes
It’s clear that remote work is here to stay. With the plans for the U.S. government to continue offering remote work options to their employees, it’s likely we’ll see a continued ripple effect across the entire business world as we know it. Because of this, eSignature and workflow automation solutions will see greater adoption from all types of businesses looking to keep up with modern demands and implement improved processes that take advantage of hybrid-remote workspaces.
It remains unclear what exactly this remote future will look like years from now, and what the lasting impacts this style of work will have on society as a whole. However, it is certain that companies that are looking to adopt workflow automation and digital document management solutions now will be setting themselves up for the most success in an increasingly hybrid work environment.