Innovation in the workplace: a snapshot

Innovation in the workplace: a snapshot - Transcript

Interview with Emilio Franco
Senior Director of Procurement Business Modernization
Public Services and Procurement Canada

So your team is implementing new technology practices to bring federal procurement into the digital age with the Electronic Procurement Solution. Can you tell me what that is exactly?

Yes absolutely! You know, buying stuff in government really isn’t easy. There’s a tone of old legacy systems that are outdated and we are still dealing in 2019 with a whole bunch of paper. So what we are trying to deliver is an experience that is very similar to what people expect in their everyday life. You know you go home, you pick up your phone, you scroll through, you shop, you put things in your shopping cart, you check out and you’re done!

And so what we are trying to do is really bring government procurement into the digital age. And we are going to do that by leveraging best in class, cloud based technology for the Electronic Procurement Solution. And what that is about is delivering modern buying experience that we are used to in our everyday lives into government while in the same time giving procurement professionals the tools they need to deliver and execute on strategic procurement. It’s making it easier for people working in the government that are trying to just get the things they need making that easy to deliver services.

So what would you say is next for procurement modernization in your eyes?

I think it’s amazing what’s happening in the world of Artificial Intelligence, and I’m really excited to what that world will bring particularly for how it help advanced modernization procurement as you move into the future. You know companies like Facebook are training robots to negotiate, there is a company called Made In A Free World that’s actually using Artificial Intelligence to detect slave labour and ethical issues in supply chains around the world, and there’s a local company called Mindbridge that’s using Artificial Intelligence to detect fraud based on system irregularities and improper transactions in general agile company.

You know its amazing stuff that’s happening in the world that will all become available to us in the Government of Canada, because what we done is acquire a cloud based technology that is continuously updating. So as the technology modernizes, as the world of Artificial Intelligence continues to grow, we will only benefit from this continued innovation.

Interview with Natalie Lalonde
Director General, Internal Audit and Evaluation
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

How can students and new public servants contribute to modernizing comptrollership?

It’s important to always keep an open mind and be curious. When you come out of the university you want to learn a lot of things. We have a good knowledge and we want to learn something else and it is important to maintain that through our entire career.

How can students help modernize is to ask questions. Question the status quo. Do not be afraid to say what you know and perhaps demonstrate a different way of doing things, because you come in with a breath of fresh air inside teams that have often been working together for a very long time. Therefore, use this wisely and do not be afraid to talk, do not be afraid to say what you think, but I think what you bring is really your curiosity and your ability to learn.

What type of project are you leading to help modernize the comptroller function?

For the comptroller function, I think it’s important to stay modern and agile. So for me, what is important is that we promote different techniques of how to do things. We are developing our capabilities to do data analysis. Data analysis is not something new, and as always been done in audit, but what we are doing is really using information that is much more wide versus what we are used to. By digitizing everything we do, the data becomes more and more accessible. Then we try to use data in a more useful way and from different sources to better support the work we do in our audits. To try to develop an important skill for senior management.

In addition, as the Executive Chief of Audit and Evaluation, I’m looking for ways in which audit and evaluation can work together to provide an exponential service to senior management. We each have our own resources, we also have our own strengths and weaknesses, and what I want is to put the two together. To try to develop and important skill for senior management.

Interview with Shirley Carruthers
Deputy Chief Financial Officer
Global Affairs Canada

Your department implemented Robotic Process Automation to undertake routine transactions. Can you tell me how this initiative got started?

Sure, our Robotics project was conceived as part of our overall Enterprise Data Strategy.

As a first step within the strategy we wanted to put an emphasis on improving the overall timeliness and quality of our financial data – and we knew automation was a great way to accomplish this objective. 

In what other areas of financial management could you see this innovation applied?

Again, I see a lot of opportunities to leverage this technology!

We are planning to automate any and all repetitive transactions; including the management of financial commitments, salary recoveries, invoice entries and more.

Moving forward, all projects will have their unique challenges, but we now have the infrastructure largely in place to leverage this technology for all routine transactions – both financial and not financial. 

What can students or newly appointed public servants expect from working in financial management today?

Technology has presented us with an opportunity to elevate the function at a greater pace than ever before, I see this as an exciting time for Finance and Finance professionals.

The way we work with data is changing, and with these changes, finance professions will need to be more digitally and data minded in everything they do – and in this way we will be continue to advance the function as we move into the future.

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