Federal agencies are increasingly measured by their ability to deliver highly personalized services and benefits, administer more complex policies and regulations, and update field operations on a moment’s notice. All of these activities require a far higher level of process agility and intelligence than is common in government today according to the findings of the Accenture Federal Digital Process Maturity Survey. Federal agencies looking to meet these heightened expectations will need to take greater advantage of digital process automation.
To put the challenge into perspective, the survey found that almost six out of every 10 business processes were either fully or partially manual, with just six percent described as fully optimized and digital. Furthermore, just 22 percent described the underlying business rules and logic as well-documented and fully implemented in enterprise systems, leaving many agencies subject to often ad hoc and inconsistent decision-making.
Business processes and service delivery were historically designed around the need to serve a broad audience as consistently and efficiently as possible. This one-sizefits-all model meant that the constraints of traditional enterprise systems were not a significant drawback. This was especially true in government due to the policy, statutory and regulatory restrictions that agencies often face. The growing maturity and pervasiveness of the Internet and digital technologies have upended this model.
Today’s audiences expect truly personalized services and experiences drawn from one-to-one engagements. And these increasingly complex online interactions are not limited to only citizen experiences.
Digital process automation allows federal agencies to extend the strengths of their core or flagship business processes to all their operations. For example, automating every facet of HR – from onboarding and open enrollment to career development and expense reporting – to deliver a consistent, best-of-breed user experience with greater efficiency and control for every interaction. And doing so in a way that is easier to use, faster to deploy and less costly than previously possible with traditional development models.
However, the survey found that significant work is required for federal agencies to achieve this state of end-to-end operational agility and intelligence. Specifically, current digital process maturity is low with many agencies still reliant on swivel chair integration. They also recognize that their failure to modernize puts the mission at risk.
As a result, agencies are beginning to pivot to the new and are showing early progress in doing so. By looking at their successes and challenges, agencies can determine the right path forward for their digital transformation efforts.
Despite the currently tense economic situation, the platform for the automation industry once again drew numerous exhibitors and trade visitors to Nuremberg at the end of 2019. Attendees were particularly impressed by the high level of innovation and the sheer number of practical solutions presented by exhibitors.
At this 30th edition of the SPS, a total of 1,585 exhibitors presented their latest products and solutions to a highly qualified trade audience. Further, they provided information on current trends and innovations in the accompanying program of product presentations and talks. In fact, the number of exhibitors with their own booths was bigger than ever before. “The SPS certainly supports the automation industry: It provides an opportunity for valuable interaction with trade visitors and industry players and attracts representatives from the trade press who attend to find out about the latest trends and innovations, and discuss them with the exhibitors face-to-face,” stated Hans-Jürgen Hilscher, President and CEO at Hilscher Gesellschaft für Systemautomation mbH.
An analysis of the exhibition clearly demonstrates the event’s international importance: Exhibitors from a total of 45 countries attended. After Germany, most of these came from China, Italy, Switzerland, and Austria. The 63,708 trade visitors came from 90 countries, with 26% of these coming from outside Germany.
Despite the challenging economic climate, the SPS once again proved itself to be the leading exhibition for smart and digital automation. In fact, the number of exhibitors with their own booths was bigger than ever before. In addition to the innovation on display, the booth exhibitors showcased a range of new products and solutions to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. The international audience also appreciated the guided tours on machine learning and AI, product and machine simulation, industrial security in production, and cloud ecosystems. These gave a brief overview of the innovations and exhibits from the respective areas as well as real-life use cases.
On the road to digital production of the future
The direction the industry is heading was reflected in the new name, SPS – Smart Production Solutions, and was also very much in evidence in each of the 17 exhibition halls on site. In addition to topics from the IT world, including machine learning, digital twins, cloud, and big data technologies, security was also a major area of focus. The Industrial Security area in Hall 6 was therefore particularly well received by visitors. In this area, exhibitors including genua, Fortinet, and the German Federal Office for Security (BSI) provided information about the latest products and applications in industrial security. The shared booth “Automation meets IT”, which has returned every year since 2015, once again proved a particular draw.
With its unique concept, SPS covers the entire spectrum of smart and digital automation – from simple sensors to intelligent solutions, from what is feasible today to the vision of a fully digitalized industrial world.
SPS is the highlight event of the automation industry. It is a source of inspiration and a platform for innovation. The highly-qualified visitors come to the exhibition with specific problems. During intensive discussions at the stands, they can compare solutions from different manufacturers to find the perfect solution for the automation tasks in their companies. The SPS exhibitors’ advisory board was founded in 1997 in order to align the event with market demands. The advisory board members represent the SPS exhibitors and influence the future development and direction of the event.
Experience a wide range of highly professional podium discussions, product unveilings, and company presentations at our exhibition forums. Informative and interactive discussions addressing industry topics take place under the direction of publishers and trade associations.
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