In an era characterized by rapid modernization, increased constituent expectations, shrinking budgets, and unpredictable outside disruptions, local governments’ reliance on arcane paper-based processes drains its scarce resources and limits its ability to fully serve constituents.
Here are eleven reasons for local governments to embrace digital transformation and go paperless by adopting a modern, cloud-based government management platform such as GovPilot.
Consumers in modern society are accustomed to the ease of shopping, ordering food, booking travel, banking, and more all from their screens. They expect to be able to conduct business online. Paperless processes provide constituents with on-demand access to applications, information and other services that traditionally require a trip to city hall. By digitizing operations, governments can more efficiently process claims, applications and license requests, resulting in higher constituent satisfaction.
Automated workflows promote transparency by automatically notifying constituents as each step of a government process is completed. Placing information in publicly searchable databases also saves government agencies time and money spent complying with open data requests.
Efficiency and Productivity
Saves Employees Time
When documents are stored in the cloud instead of in physical files, employees save time requesting documents from other departments, searching for misplaced reports and physically updating files. Inconveniences such as having to print notes from a meeting and physically deliver them to absentee coworkers can be eliminated through digital workflows.
When an inspector visits a property, he or she can view and update the property's file in real time via a mobile device. This cuts time needed to enter the data later and because the document is located in the cloud, all departments have immediate access to the updated information.
Document management automation cuts steps from a project’s journey to produce quicker results of a higher quality. Digital workflows enable government employees to track a project’s progress, automatically notify the correct people once a milestone is reached and create reminders so tasks are not stalled due to interdepartmental miscommunication. Digital forms, filled out by the public and employees, automatically populate databases with information, reducing the need for manual data entry.
Data is Accessible
With cloud storage, files can be located through simple queries, rather than through hours spent rummaging through civic archives.Case workers can access and update files from their mobile devices. Property-specific data can be retrieved in real time from the municipality’s GIS platform, ensuring that every department has access to the most current information. Reports and analysis can automatically be generated in a matter of clicks.
With centralized documents, all departments work together from the same information. Data and information silos are eliminated. Employees across all departments can access, manage and make decisions based on current and accurate data. The incidence of costly human error is reduced and communication bottlenecks are removed, facilitating seamless interdepartmental collaboration.
Improves Cyber Security
In the second half of 2019 alone there were 2,202 reported cyberattacks against local governments in the U.S. On-site servers are expensive to maintain and difficult to secure, and they’ve become the favorite target of cyber criminals who utilize ransomware to extract large sums of money from local governments. By transitioning to a cloud-based environment, records are stored securely and backed up several times per day. Maintenance and security costs are also eliminated, as the cloud provider becomes responsible for cybersecurity.
Enables Remote Work & Business Continuity
From the mundane to the truly catastrophic, disruptions are bound to happen. Whether a blizzard or flood that closes roads making it impossible for employees to drive to the office, or a global pandemic which forces a months-long remote work policy, local governments must be able to operate regardless.
If government offices are closed, can services continue to be delivered? Can constituents submit applications? Would paper documents and files be safe in the event of a fire or flood?
In an age of increased and more destructive natural disasters, local governments are the first to respond. Business continuity and responsiveness is critical. Forego paper and securely store critical information in the cloud. Enable employees to access crucial data, from any location, through any device, at any time.
Digital transformation is a critical component of resilience.
Revenue & Budget Friendly
Digital document management eliminates the cost of printing and mailing documents to citizens. Online payment options also reduce transactions’ processing costs. Increased productivity resulting from digitization defers cost over the workforce. Finally, the transition from on-site server-based platforms to cloud-based platforms can reduce maintenance and security costs.
Generate Unrealized Revenue
With records digitized and easily analyzed, employees can find opportunities to increase revenue for the budget. Are there 2,000 registered dog owners in your city? Pull a report and email a link for a $25 annual renewal payment each year - which residents will be able to pay directly through your website. That’s $50,000 added to the budget.
Save on storage! A cloud-based storage system requires no physical space! Papers such as FOIA and OPRA documents that are legally required to be stored for seven years, can be stored in the cloud, rather than in rows of filing cabinets in office basements.
The Digital Transformation Process
Digital Transformation Journey
The term, Digital Transformation is everywhere these days. Across industries the term is applied differently and often is in reference to technologies ranging from IT infrastructure, to big data, to machine learning and AI. Generally speaking however, Digital Transformation marks a radical rethinking of how an organization uses technology, people and processes to fundamentally change business performance.
It is important to remember that digital transformation is a journey. It does not happen all at once or overnight. It happens in steps and phases as new technology is implemented and continually improved, as employees are trained and adopt new IT systems, and as organizational culture shifts from manual processes to digital systems. GovPilot and our implementation or onboarding process, has been designed to make a transition to digital government as smooth and straightforward as possible.
Over the last decade, a wide range of industries have replaced their paper-based processes with digital applications, to incredible effect. Importantly for governments, removing paper processes promotes efficiency and productivity. Files are stored in the cloud, safe from cyber and physical threats. The ubiquity of WIFI and mobile devices means that data can be accessed and updated by employees at any time, from anywhere. Time previously spent locating paper files and performing data entry can be dedicated to addressing higher level matters. Services can be rendered to constituents quickly and transparently.
Of all sectors, government may have the most to gain from investing in new technology and going paperless. Local governments, subject to frequent budget cuts and restrictions on revenue generation, can conserve scant resources and even boost productivity through digitization. Digitization can also improve relations with a constituent base growing increasingly accustomed to immediate, 24/7 service as a standard component of the customer experience.
Ultimately, cloud-based government management platforms such as GovPilot are capable of delivering the flexibility, security, and affordability that local governments require to improve both constituent services and budgets.
Interested in learning more?
Our Solutions Specialists are ready to speak with you about your government's current processes and needs, and make recommendations that are specifically tailored to your local government. Schedule a FREE 15-minute consultation. Let's talk!
Local governments across the U.S. have found success with GovPilot. Read our Case Studies.