Transforming the US Navy: A journey in automation and collaboration

Transforming the US Navy: A journey in automation and collaboration

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The yearly UiPath “Forward” event series focuses squarely on automation and ancillary technologies, such as artificial intelligence.

In an era where the integration of technology and AI continues to shape the future of work, the United States Navy is thankfully not far behind in adapting to the winds of change.

“We’ve been on a multi-year journey; we started off very siloed,” said Nicole Otero (pictured, right), automation as a service program lead for the Secretary of the Navy. “I think a lot of organizations start that way when people understand what [robotic process automation] is. And then we’ve been on this beautiful journey of trying to centralize our mission. At the Secretary of Navy level, we have implemented those standards that go down into the commands and support both the Navy and the Marines.”

Otero and Rebecca Young (left), consulting manager at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd., spoke with theCUBE industry analysts Lisa Martin and Rebecca Knight at the UiPath FORWARD event, during an exclusive broadcast on theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio. They discussed the Navy’s transition toward automation and standardization, with Deloitte as its implementation partner, showcasing how this transformation was achieved through collaboration and the deployment of citizen developers. (* Disclosure below.)

Standardization and centralizing the shared mission

The Navy’s automation journey began in silos, much like many organizations exploring RPA for the first time. Following the recognition of the need for a centralized mission, standardization became key in creating a seamless transition for over 20,000 organizations that constitute the U.S. Navy, according to Otero.

On the other hand, the role of education, transparency and citizen developers in any automation journey can’t be overstated. While Deloitte plays a vital role as the implementation partner, it’s clear that empowering Navy personnel to become citizen developers was a game-changer, according to Young. The idea is to teach Navy personnel how to automate simple processes, reducing the need for external contractors. The organization’s push for citizen developers not only fosters efficiency but also results in significant cost savings for the government.

“We are supporting the Navy — it’s a contractual agreement,” Young said. “They are telling us what their dreams and their visions are. You have to really believe in what they are supporting. An area that we’ve been talking about a lot too is collaboration, but we’re also working at implementing citizen developer, which is brand new for us. It’s going to be an amazing next step in enabling the dawn throughout.”

One notable concern with the rise of automation and AI is the fear that it may replace jobs. There was skepticism and resistance among Navy personnel who believed that bots were poised to take over their roles, Otero pointed out. However, the Navy worked on dispelling this fear by presenting automation as an assistant rather than a job usurper.

The focus is on eliminating mundane tasks and freeing up personnel to focus on more meaningful, analytical work. Additionally, the introduction of the citizen developer program also boosted enthusiasm among Navy personnel, leading to wider acceptance, Otero added.

Here’s the complete video interview, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the UiPath FORWARD event:

(* Disclosure: Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. sponsored this segment of theCUBE. Neither Deloitte nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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