In government, we struggle to develop a consistent, multi-year roadmap. Sometimes, we’re too busy, but often, it’s because our mission and initiatives change with every election cycle. One of the things I love about enterprise content management (ECM) solutions is that no matter who’s in office, they support the heart of government – the documents that record and drive our processes.
To be successful, it’s important to analyze your political environment and select a path for your ECM solution that is appropriate and sustainable through multiple elections. Despite political changes, an ECM solution will always improve government. However, since documents are a key component of every department and process, how do you select what to do next? If you are not sure where to start, consider the following ideas to begin the quest for faster, cheaper and better government:
1. Be strategic. Always think of how you can leverage your ECM solution to:
- Increase transparency – Provide constituents and vendors with visibility into transactions to offer insight to decisions. Give staff visibility into processes to see the progress of the work they do.
- Create more self-service options – Reduce pressure on staff to complete these tasks and meet the growing expectation of a connected constituency.
- Share services with other government entities – Share technology licensing, hosting and expertise to save money and provide a way to procure critical solutions, even with a reduced budget.
- Use mobile devices – Not only do constituents expect mobile apps, staff also benefit because mobile devices reduce response times while enhancing their capabilities in the field.
2. Use ECM to develop a roadmap. Things to consider include:
- Adoption and buy-in rates for an investment – If you can pick technology and processes to impact, why not choose the ones that will impact the greatest number of people or processes first?
- Lowering your total cost of ownership (TCO) and enhancing your return on investment (ROI) –What projects will reduce the TCO while enhancing your ROI? In bad budget times, every dollar counts.
- Prioritizing projects and available funding – Some funding streams survive or increase – even today. Perhaps your roadmap should start in a department with available funding. Those investments can then be leveraged over time by other departments.
3. Meet the needs and challenges of your organization. These issues include:
- Reduced staff – Reductions in government rarely come with less work. With ECM, you can manage the same amount of work with less staff.
- Funding cuts – Losing funding may mean that you must change the way you run a program. ECM reduces administrative burdens by eliminating slow, paper-based processes that consume time and budget.
- Constituent demands – The relationship between constituents and government can be a key reason for implementing projects, especially for things like transparency, online services and faster/easier processes.
- Compliance problems – When documents are lost or processes don’t follow required procedures, your agency may perform poorly on audits. If this has happened, a starting point could be an ECM solution – it’s a signal to your auditors that you’ve taken their findings seriously and are addressing their concerns using workflow automation and document management.
In each of these cases, technology like ECM or document management can help government craft a roadmap for upcoming IT projects. And with that roadmap, a new type of government can be created – one that is digital, automated and paperless.