ROBOTIC PROCESS AUTOMATION PILOTS
In 2018, Tony identified that the process of getting vendors on GSA schedules and renewals was time consuming and burdensome. In addition, if vendors want to be on multiple schedules, they have to complete several repetitive forms. Tony recognized that this process could be simplified, saving both GSA and vendors time, money and workflows through the implementation of robotic process automation (RPA). In practice, RPA works as a “digital workforce” alongside employees, so workers can focus on the projects and tasks that deliver more value to constituents.
As an early believer in RPA, Tony dedicated time and energy to completing an online training course earning a certification through UiPath Academy. Tony led an RPA pilot through a proof of concept on his personal computer so he could determine and demonstrate to the GSA CIO’’s office that RPA was a viable product for his organization. After proving the value and need for automation to be used more widely through the GSA, Tony raised awareness about robotics by conducting over 50 demos to introduce business units and stakeholders to the applications of robotics within the organization. Over time, Tony built up excitement about offloading mundane work and creating more efficiencies – though it took persistence.
Tony’s position at the GSA directly impacts and unites the private sector and the government. His efforts improved the experience for both parties and revolutionized practices within the FAS. Tony’s efforts to implement RPA at GSA has transformed the process of vendors getting on the GSA schedule. By leveraging bots to automate the process, the cycle time was reduced from 6 months to 45 days, cutting the time required by 25 percent.
Tony Frater is a program specialist at GSA, helping the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) deliver products and services across the government. In his role, Tony and his team manage 40-50 billion dollars in procurement on behalf of other federal agencies. In order to manage this quantity of work successfully, Tony regularly works to improve processes and create greater efficiencies.
At the time, RPA was not widely used in the federal government, but Tony’s work has opened doors for other agencies to use bots. His success in leveraging automation to improve internal efficiencies has confirmed that bots can be safely integrated in federal agency environments and that RPA is a viable business option to improve processes and the government's work with the public.
SERVICE TO THE
CITIZEN AWARD WINNER
DEPUTY REGIONAL COMMISSIONER,
NORTHEAST & CARIBBEAN REGION
FAS / GSA