Emerging technology trends in government: How the pandemic and citizen expectations are a force for change

A group of government officials stand on the steps of a grand government building, presumably discussing emerging technology trends in government.

Modern content services enable digital transformation in government to enhance citizen and employee engagement. Learn more about the trends driving change:

Organizations across all industries in the private sector have made significant progress in their digital transformation efforts in recent times — from streamlining business processes and improving customer experiences with modern mobile and web apps to integrating legacy platforms that extend their value and life span.

The public sector, however, has not always kept up with the pace of innovation.

Budget and resource restraints, along with heavy reliance on paper-based processes, have made it challenging for agencies to modernize. And the pandemic only exacerbated the need for transformation when office locations closed.

According to a GovLoop survey, 81% of respondents were working remotely at least part-time during the pandemic, but only 42% believed their agency was prepared for remote work when it began. Ensuring continued service delivery was challenging, especially when demand for urgent assistance reached an all-time high.

A particularly hard-hit agency was the Department of Labor. As the unemployment rate in 2020 skyrocketed to Great Depression levels, one state labor department fielded up to 877,000 calls in one day — more than it typically received in a full month.

Responding promptly to citizen needs has become paramount, and agencies need cost-effective, integrated solutions to ensure they can always deliver on their mission.

Every level of government sees the coronavirus as a tipping point for transformational shifts. 72% of respondents said reducing manual processes is the top priority or a major priority in the wake of COVID-19.$GovLoop$

Many agencies have already implemented electronic forms, online case management and other digital tools that can help meet the expectations of constituents in the 21st century, but there’s still a ways to go for most agencies to achieve peak digital maturity.

A government worker smiles from behind her desk as she assists a constituent or citizen by navigating the request in a digitally modern enterprise platform.

Evolving citizen expectations are a force for change

Improving the citizen experience is a driving force behind digital transformation projects and a top initiative according to NASCIO’s State CIO Top 10 Priorities for 2022.

Bringing better service to people across all levels of government — federal, state and local — is now top of mind, with or without a global pandemic thrown in the mix. The same digital transformation trends that are driving the private sector to transform and optimize enterprise systems are also a significant force for change in the government sector.

Improving processes and updating legacy systems allows an agency or department to provide better, faster services and programs to constituents.

Digital tools are not just enablers for speedy, efficient service. They’re also the preferred communication channels of nearly every demographic. As reported by GovTech, for most services, more than half of all citizens are interested in both digital and mobile access instead of in-person-only service. This reflects the upward trend of device ownership, according to Pew Research:

  • 90% of US adults use the internet
  • 81% own a smartphone
  • 74% own a desktop or laptop computer

The world continues to grow more digitally interconnected, and government agencies need to adapt to these dynamic changes to thrive.

Leveraging information is at the center of digital government

The heart of digital transformation is information, whether in the form of applications and forms, supporting documentation, citizen records, case files, permits or licenses.

Centralizing this content online and making it readily accessible to employees, whenever and wherever it is needed, is an essential part of achieving digital government.

A modern content services platform can be the key that unlocks your agency’s digital transformation. At a glance, the scalable, configurable and secure platform enables agencies to:

  • Electronically capture and access documents from wherever staff are located — in the office, in the field or remotely — for full availability
  • Automate workflow and document routing for accelerated reviews and decisions
  • Leverage rapid, low-code application development for faster solution delivery
  • Modernize and complement the systems your agency already uses for maximum return on investment

What’s more, leading content services accommodate a range of configurable capabilities that can meet your desired goals today and in the future as your needs evolve.

Get the ebook and checklist! Content services for government: This ebook and checklist duo defines the capabilities you need and identifies the key signs of a well-rounded partner.

Modernizing with cost-effective tools

Modernization of legacy systems can:

  • Optimize processes and reduce information siloes
  • Increase employees’ adoption of emerging technologies
  • Reduce IT maintenance and support costs
  • Bolster security and mitigate risk

As previously mentioned, a modern content services platform comprises a suite of configurable tools that can drive modernization for the benefit of your agency. Just some of these tools include:

Automated and intelligent capture Extract relevant data from documents — whether they arrive as paper, email attachment or image format — and store it in a secure, centralized repository Decrease time-consuming manual data entry
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Eliminate repetitive, manual data-entry tasks Make online information for staff more accurate and processes more efficient
Cloud and shared services Achieve secure content storage and collaboration while ensuring ownership and control Decrease operational and infrastructure costs over time
Federation services Manage all records in one place and perform federated search across all data and record repositories Retrieve records and respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests easier, faster and more cost-effectively

Using these digital tools in a modern content services solution helps improve back-office processing speed and efficiency.

Additionally, enabling citizens to interact with your agency in the channels they prefer can lead to greater satisfaction in your service quality and increase trust in your organization.

As a result, constituents on the front end get faster decisions and delivery of services, resulting in greater satisfaction from their interaction with your agency.

Integrating systems without rip and replace

A key piece of the puzzle is connecting systems and providing a unified digital experience. For this, low-code solutions provide a fast, easy means of bridging legacy and modern systems — without the risk and pain of “big bang” migrations.

Low-code solutions negate the need to involve higher-level developers, which makes the process faster and empowers those in the actual department to play a more active role in designing the systems they need.

The learning curve can be significantly less with a lot of the newer low-code options, to the extent that you don’t need someone with a computer science degree to be able to see success. Low-code can support many basic tasks that even a business analyst can drive, and that can be a huge value add.

By updating enterprise services, linking disparate systems and making information flow more freely, your agency is essentially “polishing” the user experience — both inside the department itself and at critical citizen touchpoints.

Increasing collaboration among employees also impacts constituent satisfaction, with greater information-sharing and access to workflows leading to better cooperation.

Adapting to new workforce models

Digital content services will become especially important as the world adapts to new workplace conditions.

With nearly 75% of state and local officials saying they believe hybrid work to be their agency’s long-term model, you’ll likely continue to see some level of disruption from the 9-to-5, in-person office arrangement. It is essential to equip your workforce with all applications and information they need, regardless of where they’re working. Delivering the required content quickly, seamlessly and securely is now a necessity for meeting the high standards of today’s constituents.

Around-the-clock availability of content is therefore crucial. Instant access to a broader range of files, images and other content — in the form of both structured and unstructured data — will go far for improving internal communication and equipping staff to perform their jobs to the best of their ability.

Secure delivery of that content is also imperative. Cloud-based content is secured at both the data-center level with enterprise-grade systems and encryption, and again at the end-user level with secure authentication.

Driving future success today

The tools to accomplish better delivery of services and raise levels of citizen experience are an essential part of any agency’s digital transformation plan — and they’re readily available through modern content services providers. Digitally equipping staff to carry out their daily tasks will lead to satisfied, engaged constituents and employees.

The time is now to change the narrative and give them what they expect, right from the start.

How can content services benefit your specific agency? Browse this government agency map to see how a modern, digital solution can help you improve efficiency, service delivery and visibility.

Hyland's team of technology professionals share leadership insights, technology news and insider information about how content services can help your organization deliver the best experiences of the digital age to users and the people you serve.


Hyland’s team of technology professionals share leadership insights, technology news and insider information about how content services can help your organization deliver the best experiences of the digital age to... read more about: Hyland