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Army extends enterprise resource planning system to Navy hospitals

TAKE NOTE (Insights and Emerging Technology)

The Army is now fielding its enterprise resource planning system (GFEBS) to Navy hospitals as part of a Defense Health Agency consolidation.

Launched in 2012, the Army’s General Fund Enterprise Business System (GFEBS) is one of the largest ERP systems globally, handling more than $164 billion in transactions annually.

DHA saw an opportunity for the Army to be the service provider for tracking accounts receivable and medical supply procurement for Navy and Air Force hospitals, which were on different service systems.

Following a 2019 pilot with 500 people across DHA, GFEBS became available to the first 350 Navy users Jan. 1.

“That takes them off their legacy system,” said Heather Putman, GFEBS product director, on Thursday at the Financial Systems Summit 2020.

The first wave centered primarily on the Washington, D.C. region and included the Naval Medical Research Center in Silver Spring, Maryland; the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland; Naval Health Clinic Quantico in Virginia; and Naval Hospital Jacksonville in Florida.

The second wave of hospitals goes live in April, a third in June and a fourth in September, Putman said. The Air Force adoption of the system will come later.

At the same time, GFEBS is migrating to a commercial cloud provider.

Development in the cloud will begin in February, with all GFEBS operations on track for migration in fiscal 2021, Putman said.

“We’re one of the last programs across the Department of Defense to go into a commercial cloud environment,” she said. “And we’re also taking that opportunity to improve the database that we’re sitting on to get customers faster-running transactions and a much more usable system.”

In the past GFEBS focused on hardware that took time to procure and secure, but the cloud will make the system easier to update and more agile, scaling up and down based on the needs of the customer base, Putman said.

The challenge in the interim is the split between on-premise and cloud hosting…

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UNDER DEVELOPMENT (Insights for Developers)

RPA Can Help On The Road To Digital Transformation

Digital transformation (DX) is at the top of most corporate strategies these days. But what is it? IT Partners believes DX is a strategy that drives customer experience, streamlines operations and reduces costs — and do it in a way that can impact the business immediately, not several years from now…

New technologies and business models have the potential to upend entire industries, threatening well-established companies in verticals like banking, insurance, retail, government and more. Corporate leaders know they need to raise the bar and deliver on promises around digital transformation, but many are struggling.

The key is a probably a balancing act between short-term success and longer-term project initiatives that may take many months or even years to deploy. So Where Does a Digital Transformation Framework Start? Maybe with RPA…

RPA – Defined

One technology fueling short-term gains with significant ROI results is robotic process automation (RPA).

The Institute for Robotic Process Automation defines RPA as, “the application of technology that allows employees in a company to configure computer software or a ‘robot’ to capture and interpret existing applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses and communicating with other digital systems.”

Software robots are easy to design, build, and deploy. They don’t require complex coding like integration platforms do. So, when considering a digital transformation strategy, RPA can be the driver of short-term success and ROI. RPA is not the answer to all Digital Transformation or Business Transformation Projects, so lets not misinterpret what I am saying here… RPA is an easy way to streamline critical processes, often extending the life of legacy systems. While RPA is valuable to furthering the overall path to digital transformation, there is more to deploying RPA than just the design, building, and deployment of automatons… There are Governance and Security concerns, a CoE needs to be established…etc…etc But this is for another blog…

How RPA Supports DX

If we put the famous Taylor motion studies of the early 20th century to work today, they would show a vast savings of time and resources where processes, and especially strings of processes, are automated and run according to the rules of the system. And because digital transformation puts so many more components of your operations into that system—so they all sit at the same digital table, as it were—the potential for further efficiencies among the many sub-functions of your business is exponential. That’s why digital transformation must include Robotic Process Automation in it’s business transformation strategy.

So what are some of the ways RPA can support the DX effort?

  • RPA tackles build and deploy challenges more quickly than traditional solutions can — in days and weeks instead of months.
  • With the ability to access data from multiple, disparate sources such as legacy, ERP and external systems, robotic process automation doesn’t require re-engineering of old processes, or ripping out platforms that are core to your operations.
  • RPA allows companies to adjust processes as requirements change or new ones emerge. Consider reconciling invoices, rather than perpetuating manual reconciliation or taking months to build a custom, complex integration, RPA can quickly solve the problem with no negative impact to the business.

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Dig Deeper – Digital Workforce As A Part Of
Digital Transformation
The Importance Of RPA

Q&A (Post your questions and get the answers you need)

Q. I have heard that RPA is no different from macros or merely a Band-Aid that would have a short lifespan in the enterprise.

A. RPA can be more, much more.

As the category matures, it will prove to be both a gateway for developing practical applications of AI in the enterprise and a tool for digital transformation initiatives. And the leading RPA vendor UIPath, is making big strides in delivering on MORE, moving well beyond RPA’s early bot-centric model for automating tasks and pointing toward a future where RPA is a robust platform for building applications that automate complete business processes..

UiPath is adding a new framework called AI Fabric, and it is also making it substantially easier to bring machine learning into automatons.

As companies began implementing this technology to eliminate rote and repetitive work, RPA’S limitations became evident: First, the tasks RPA automates sit within larger business processes where work requires coordination between multiple people or functions. Second, decisions are often required in the midst of these processes. For example, in processing an invoice from a vendor, the finance department may need someone to approve the invoice before scheduling payment. RPA might automate entering the information into a system, eliminating that rote work. But it hasn’t been able to route and manage the approval request process.

UIPath has now reinvented RPA, announcing a vision to provide organizations with a complete application platform. In this new way of thinking about RPA, organizations will build automation applications that manage the interaction of people and bots in processes. In addition, the introduction of AI Fabric makes it substantially easier for organizations to use machine learning to make decisions and judgements and incorporate these into automatons.

It’s worth stepping back for a moment to assess where this has all come from and why Gartner reports that RPA is “…the fastest-growing segment of the global enterprise software market and 2020 is the renaissance year for RPA hyper-automation.”


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