5 key tools for council and state digital transformation

Last time, we covered the pressures that states and local councils face to deliver citizen services, stay within possibly declining budgets and work with the existing skill sets of their staffs. It’s clear that technology is the answer to these issues and calls for digital transformation, but what technologies should you use and how can you embrace technology if your staff needs training and your budget prospects are unclear?

State and local governments in the US face similar trials and have responded by deploying a platform strategy that simplifies the necessary IT support while maximising the flexibility the platform offers. Enterprise content management (ECM – or what Gartner now calls content services) is one of the existing tools they have leveraged to offer web-based services, reduce staff workload, and standardise and centralise processes to ensure easy and manageable staff training.

What have been some of the benefits observed by these organisations?

  • Much faster government processes, as much as a 50 percent reduction in the time to delivering a decision
  • Significantly reduced or eliminated document storage costs altogether, which can run into the millions of dollars per year
  • Better situational awareness for field staff and emergency responders, enhancing their ability to protect their residents
  • Increased governmental transparency, with web-based records searching, legislative agendas and status updates for citizen submissions

Choosing wisely

As public sector organisations, we don’t get the option of buying new technology frequently. Our investments need to be right or we risk damaging news headlines and disappointed citizens and staff. If ECM or content services is on your road map, what should you look for to ensure the best investment? What specific tools have had the most benefit for local government?

Here are my top five things to look for:

1. Case management tools

Solutions in this space include platform tools that allow rapid application development to avoid the time and cost of custom code. These applications can be modular in deployment and support many program and mission objectives.

Case management is the right approach to support staff and provide better service to your customers. And, removing the need for custom code means you have invested in a philosophy that is financially sustainable and agile.

2. Enterprise content management

Government processes often mean paper and lots of it! Most government transactions begin and end with it. Ditching paper and embracing ECM enables digital transactions and provides collaboration options, putting an end to the costs of paper and the drain of filing and archiving it.

It also means being able to move to mobile access and online services. The right enterprise information platform will offer the potential to eliminate silos of information with a single, secure, central content repository.

3. Capture

The paperless potential is more than just eliminating filing cabinets, it includes capturing paper and the data it contains without manual data entry. It also includes providing the tools necessary to move to electronic forms. Pursuing capture tools can reclaim staff time, supporting other efforts like online services and refocusing on improving the customer experience.

4. Business process automation

If you face the need to speed processes and make them web-based, automation is a good answer. The right platform connects ECM tools, case management tools and workflow to relieve workload pressures (faster government) and enforce business rules (better government) to support staff and ensure compliance with programmatic and statutory requirements.

In addition, the combination of case management, automation and paperless processes provides better visibility for business unit managers who are responsible for improving processes and identifying bottlenecks. Automation is an essential functionality for future federal investment and the goal of providing online services.

5. Enterprise file sync and share

Many government processes require consultation and collaboration with other entities. This means emails back and forth to share documents, content, reports, photos videos, etc.

Across all levels of government and agencies, securing critical content and tools for collaboration is essential. Document review is a key activity of government and an integrated and secure way to share documents is a welcome tool that can speed tasks while providing an audit trail of that activity.

Driving digital transformation

The five functions above are critical to drive digital transformation and do it with tools that are agile and modular – providing an investment that can grow and respond to changing expectations for states and local councils. These capabilities offer internal and external user improvements and strike at the heart of government costs surrounding paper-based process.

Importantly, it is possible to get these tools in a single platform investment if you select the right solution. So, as you evaluate options, consider the experience of other local governments around the world and use their experience to drive your successful digital transformation.

Terri Jones

Terri Jones

Wondering what goes into a document management or ECM software deployment in government? Terri Jones, Hyland's government marketing portfolio manager, has your answer. In her 10 plus years in both state and local government, she's managed IT departments, implemented ECM strategies and written legislation and program policies. If that isn't enough to prove her IT expertise in government, she has also designed and implemented data systems and websites to manage compliance and funding in excess of $90 million annually. Have a question for her? Contact her at terri.jones@onbase.com.

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