There’s never been a greater need for digital services in government

Government agencies face tough challenges in updating and upgrading their IT systems and infrastructure – including budget constraints, increased workloads, and insufficient IT resources. Meanwhile, there has never been a greater need for technology to keep government functioning and ensure the delivery of mission-critical services.

That’s why agencies should maximize the use of technology to best continue normal operations. After all, they still need to be accessible, even if their physical locations are closed.

Also, industry analysts predict the remote workforce is here to stay in government. Recently, Joe Thomas, VP of Research, and Dustin Haisler, chief information officer at eRepublic/GovTech discussed the attributes of the new normal in state and local government, including:

  • Work from home for non-essential government functions will be the new norm
  • Business processes will be reengineered for remote work
  • CIOs will be pushed to modernize IT infrastructure
  • Fiscal constraints will drive the need for innovation and new technology

Equipping your staff now to be able to do their jobs and effectively deliver constituent services from any location – at home or in the field – will also pay dividends to future-proof this new way of working for the long term.

But you can’t rely on paper-based processes or legacy systems to deliver those services. Agencies will need to use innovative technologies for better communication, coordination, and collaboration. This will empower their responses to the needs of constituents and communities.

Embracing digital services

Embracing digital services is the key to managing the ever-increasing volume of applications and maintaining service delivery to citizens during this turbulent period. Many agencies will need to sharpen their focus on digital transformation strategies that may have already been planned, but implementation has been limited to date.

In fact, businesses across all industries are leveraging emerging technology to significantly increase the speed and ease of customer service as a result of the global situation.

“The new norm has seen homes becoming temporary offices and many business activities shifting online,” according to ZDNet. “As a result, businesses across myriad industries –government, retail, finance, real estate, health, and education among several others – have turned to digital tools to support this new way of working.”

More than 50 percent of government respondents stated their ability to deliver digital services with a remote workforce as “not good” or “fair,” according to a recent survey GovTech conducted. Only five percent of these same respondents say they currently have optimal technology and processes in place, but 45 percent plan to expedite their technology investments and process improvement initiatives.

It’s essential. Especially now.

Unfortunately, outdated paper, email, and spreadsheet-based processes that take up valuable time and resources while requiring in-person office access to documents are still prevalent. The current situation has put a glaring spotlight on these challenges as many agencies are struggling to deliver on their missions with a remote workforce and no digital tools.

Agencies should look to automating workflow and intake via digital channels – from mobile devices to online portals – to provide efficient, consistent, and uninterrupted services.

Citizens need to be able to interact with agencies, submit applications, and get status updates online, and spend less time on the phone trying to reach someone.

One step at a time

State and local agencies that do not embrace a digital strategy in response to current events risk falling even further behind on any efforts to drive efficiencies, costs savings, and the improvement of the constituent experience. With the right tools, your agency will not only be able to reduce paper, eliminate manual processes, and digitally transform operations, but you will also be able to create new service models that build citizen trust and confidence in government.

Consider starting with automating one process, then gradually expanding across other processes and departments. Make sure your agency is equipped to function online. Look for tools that allow you to quickly spin up apps to support new programs and services, as well as the tracking and reporting they require.

But most of all, take one step at a time.

And the first step should be finding a single platform that offers a comprehensive range of configurable content services – from automated capture, process automation, and case management to secure storage and instant data access from any location. Because you can’t transform without the right tools.

Ready to hear more on how you can best leverage technology today? Watch our recent webinar with e.Republic/GovTech: Taking Government Online Fast – For Employees and Citizens.

Sheryl Altschuler

Sheryl Altschuler

Sheryl Altschuler is Hyland’s solution marketing manager for the government and higher education industries. In her role, Sheryl’s responsibilities include go-to-market planning, positioning, content development and market research and intelligence.... read more about: Sheryl Altschuler

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