OMB looks to bots to take on 'low-value' work

process automation (Omelchenko/ 

The White House is planning to use automated bots to handle repetitive tasks in financial management and contacting. Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, announced in an Aug. 27 memorandum that OMB is working on a plan to use robotic process automation to perform repetitive, "low-value" work required for financial analysis and contracting documentation. The plan is expected to be in place this year.

Mulvaney said that automation will "reduce human error and improve compliance" and that OMB will work with agencies to implement bot-driven automation to reduce costs of routine activities.

The news was an aside in a memo offering guidance to agencies on how to implement the Trump administration's management agenda item of reducing low-value work. The memo directs agencies to identify and eliminate "unnecessary or obsolete" compliance activities and to update OMB on progress eliminating such low-value work.

The memo also announced plans reduce governmentwide compliance requirements by the Office of Personnel Management and the General Services Administration. OPM is looking to streamline the process by which executive service candidates are vetted, with an eye to onboarding talent more quickly.

GSA's Office of Government-wide Policy completed the migration of four data systems to the cloud, eliminating some redundant and burdensome data collection on government-owned vehicles, aircraft and property and federal employee travel.

OMB also announced it was shelving policy memoranda in acquisition, IT and financial management because their provisions were obsolete or revised by subsequent policy or statute. These include a 2008 memo called "Guidance on the Federal Desktop Core Configuration" that was issued when Windows XP and Windows Vista dominated the federal computing landscape.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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