If going digital with your government services wasn’t already a top priority when 2020 started, there’s a good chance it’s gained new urgency over the past months. Unfortunately, greater urgency doesn’t mean it’s suddenly become simpler to figure out the best way to modernize your government agency with the resources you have available. It can still be overwhelming to try and get started — but it doesn’t have to be.
Dave Lane is an experienced eGov Solution Consultant with Vision33. He’s also been a city councillor for the past seven years in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. With his background in municipal governance and his consulting expertise in government technology solutions, Dave offers a unique view on the challenges and benefits of digitizing and modernizing government services. In this blog post, you’ll learn about three of the top considerations when your government agency is planning to take better advantage of technology.
Read on to find out how you can be more effective with solutions that enable automated workflows, integrated databases, and cloud systems. To hear more from city councillor and eGov Solution Consultant, Dave Lane, about how today’s governments are navigating technology and digital transformation, get on-demand access to his 30-minute presentation by clicking here.
1. Automated Workflows
No matter what services your government agency offers, each one has its own process. Some services may be administered entirely by your department while others may involve several. Whether or not you’re familiar with the term digital transformation, that’s exactly what’s happening when you review your processes and look for places where technology can be incorporated or leveraged.
“How do you manage a workflow process that includes various team members from different departments? Computers help a lot with that,” remarks Lane. “Technology and software are powerful tools for workflow management.”
You may already think of your agency’s processes as workflows, but there’s likely room for improved and increased automation and self-serve options. Whether it’s introducing a new online citizen portal, or a smaller change like setting up a new automatic procedure, an experienced consultant can help you make a match between your available resources and your priority goals. Tools for better workflow management offer more than just convenience — they have the potential to eliminate or drastically reduce certain tasks, adding up to hours and hours of recovered staff time.
“If someone wants to gather information from your government and they can log into your website, dig through the regulations and policies, and get that information on their own — they've probably saved a staff person a couple of hours of back-and-forth emails or phone calls,” Lane points out. “And that resident or contractor could have done that maybe at 3:00 AM, if that was the only opportunity they had, instead of trying to wait.”
2. Interconnected Databases
How easily can you share information with your citizens and other stakeholders? There may be certain documents or statistics that you’re required to post publicly. But what about other data and resources? How would it make a difference in your community if more people had more access to more information?
“By having a digital database and having it set up so you can collect as much data as possible, this is going to make that information accessible not just to the staff, but to the public,” comments Lane. “You've got a big push from the public. They're demanding better access — not just to your services but to the information. People are expecting communication and engagement from their government.”
Replacing primarily-paper filing systems with digital information databases also allows for different government departments or agencies to work with a single integrated system with shared data. When a mailing address is updated with one department, it can be updated everywhere. On a higher level, integrating multiple sources of information from across departments also gives critical visibility into overall government operations.
“It enables you to connect those pieces of data together,” explains Lane. “You can produce reports that let you know things like: how many invoices do you get a month? How many outstanding applications haven't been processed yet? It can help you stay on top of your work, and that is enabled by having a powerful database with a powerful piece of software.”
3. Cloud Systems
Historically, privacy and security requirements have resulted in some government agencies opting to install on-premise systems to power the government platforms they use. Looking at today’s options, though, cloud systems have advanced considerably over the past years. Software developers are aware of the unique concerns facing the public sector and have worked to find suitable solutions.
Cloud systems tend to have advantages over on-premise deployment models, and there’s a clear, established trend of favoring cloud deployment options in the private sector. So, when governmental privacy and security needs can be met, cloud solutions are an attractive choice to power your government platform.
“The cloud can mean many things to many people, but ultimately — instead of having a server in your building, which anything could happen to, you put it somewhere more secure,” describes Lane. “It's replicated in multiple places so that your data is still safe even if one server goes down.”
“The nice thing about software that's stored in the cloud is that it's constantly being updated and upgraded,” continues Lane. “If there are any bugs, they're fixed. Your IT staff don't have to worry about that. If there's a new version with a new feature, it'll be installed automatically.”
Learn More About Digitizing and Modernizing Government Services
Working in the public sector comes with its unique challenges, pressures, and expectations. You’re dealing with different constraints than the private sector, but your citizens still want the same level of service they get from private companies. We understand because we’ve been helping government agencies manage these challenges and expectations for more than 20 years.
At Vision33 we have over 100 technology consultants with firsthand government experience and we’ve been a partner on over 55 government technology platform implementations. Our experienced eGovernment team thrives on finding the right-fit solution for any public sector challenge. Watch this on-demand presentation recording to hear more from municipal councillor and Vision33 Solution Consultant, Dave Lane, about the challenges and benefits of government technology solutions — and how you can plan to take your next smart step forward.