3 reasons state and local governments need a strategic approach to online services
Most people probably don’t think too much about how an application performs that is, until they need it and it doesn’t work. Whether you’re using an online transit scheduler for your commute, applying for financial assistance or supplemental benefits, or completing online business permit forms—if it doesn’t work, it’s a problem.
These aren’t just minor inconveniences in today’s instant-access era. These are systemic issues negatively impacting the citizen experience, Valuable time can be wasted at the DMV. Social workers may be unable to help citizens in dire need of obtaining benefits or services. Business owners may lose money and time trying unsuccessfully to obtain permits or renew licenses.
These scenarios illustrate what’s at stake: the digital reputation and image of government agencies, department officials and associated IT organizations. Externally, citizens’ trust in their government erodes. Internally, employee perception of IT takes a nosedive.
The common denominator in meeting citizens’ changing expectations: reliable applications that provide seamless, centralized access for citizens and businesses alike to transact with government—when and how they choose.
However, there are caveats. Applications involve layers of systems, code, network nodes and infrastructure comprising a complex IT ecosystem—with many things that could go wrong at any time. One snag can cause an outage affecting countless end-users.
Too often, IT teams have relied on reactive solutions enacted too late in order to maintain continuity. Instituting a proactive application performance management (APM) strategy offers many benefits for state and local government organizations providing services to citizens and businesses.
State and local organizations are uniquely poised to capitalize on IT strategies that can help provide better constituent services and experiences, maximize budgets and operate more efficiently.
Here are three reasons why it’s never too early to implement an APM strategy.
- Better constituent services beget state and local success: Effective, resilient and consistent IT operations not only improve government customer experience, they also dovetail with smart, broader CIO strategies. But how does an agency or department get there?
Start by building the strategy into the application from the beginning—including establishing a baseline for application health. Then, by tracking the entire business transaction in real-time ¾from the initial user inputs to the end result¾ a proactive APM strategy will provide the broader situational awareness and the ability to more quickly pinpoint, analyze and remediate snags. The result: mitigation and proactive prevention of system failures.
- Good strategies can maximize budgets and increase productivity: Sound IT investments can create cost efficiencies and provide taxpayers with an improved customer experience.
With holistic visibility into the application ecosystem, an APM solution will provide stakeholders with much-needed, critical business intelligence. Improved situational awareness of application health delivers a faster and clearer picture of problematic anomalies by providing context into what’s negatively impacting the user experience—whether it’s browser incompatibility, inefficient code, infrastructure problems or the myriad of other potential issues.
With that context in mind, decision-makers can optimize performance and drive engagement.
- Efficient operations change the game: Providing consistently efficient, reliable and customer-focused applications drive another level of citizen engagement. There’s a wealth of intricate, complex layers and technologies that power applications, but what really matters is how they power top-notch user experiences.
Today, the ability to identify usage trends, analyze performance metrics and respond accordingly at the speed of technology is imperative. Behind the smooth operation of the interface should be proactive measures unifying teams that previously worked in silos – allowing them to quickly identify potential issues, convene the right resources and efficiently make the fix. And that all should happen well before any red alerts, further maximizing internal efficiency and effectiveness.
State and local governments have a unique opportunity to take the lead on constituent services. Armed with an APM strategy that holistically tackles visibility and proactive response, agencies can make doing business with the government a more efficient, satisfying experience that builds both citizens’ and businesses’ trust¾a priceless win for state and local organizations looking to boost prosperity and improve their digital image.
John Conley is the Business Development Manager for US Public Sector at Cisco. He previously served as the Assistant Deputy Chancellor of Educational Technology at the Ohio Department of Higher Education, where he chaired the eTech Commission, Ohio Technology Consortium and OhioLink Advisory Board.