Government as a Service: Maximizing enterprise content management solutions for civic innovation
From reduced operating budgets to election hacking to community planning issues, state and local entities are faced with more and more challenges in their day-to-day operations. At the same time, changes in technology and the expectations of both employees and constituents have made it more important for governments to make sure communications are streamlined, processes are standardized, and departments, agencies and organizations are positioned to offer the best possible services in a timely manner. Residents, on the other hand, are also looking for a central, simple, safe and responsive place to interact with their local government.
We are already seeing the rise of government as a platform — an evolution of siloed functions, processes and roles that traditionally exist in government. In 2020, we’ll see cities, counties and states turn to enterprise content management (ECM) systems to facilitate this transformation, as a centralized ECM system can offer a single portal for residents. Individuals and businesses can log into their government’s platform and handle a plethora of tasks — from requesting garbage pickup, to renewing a business license, to scheduling a DMV appointment, to registering to vote and more. Similarly to how technology improvements in the early 20th century allowed Americans to settle across the country, we’ll see technology become the mortar between the “bricks” of our online civic infrastructure.
Empowering digital citizens
As governments continue to digitally transform services, it’s essential they consider the types of solutions they are putting forward with a human-centered design approach. Creating an easy way for people to provide input, find services and connect to the relevant information they need is essential in empowering constituents. A recent Accenture survey of 5,000 citizens from five countries found that 67% of respondents want government to make it easier to interact with digital services. More than half of respondents (51%), would increase their use of government digital services if offered a single portal to access multiple services. When services are easily accessible, people are more likely to use them and, most importantly, get what they need in a timely manner.
ECM solutions will play a big role in centralized access to services in the coming years. As a unifier of information, integrator and system of record, ECM enables governments to centralize processes, functions and communication so that citizens can have a one-stop-shop experience.
The rise of partnerships and the ‘As a Service’ model
As the population grows, so does the need for services. One way governments are able to address ever-growing and increasingly diverse needs is through partnerships. CIOs of government agencies have an obligation to ensure that services are delivered in a cost-effective, flexible and efficient manner. In the last several years, we have seen a rise in collaboration between government and information technology (IT) partners, especially around business process automation. According to the NASCIO 2019 State CIO Survey, the use of “As-a-service” models is expected to expand by 92%, and the use of managed services is expected to expand by 61% over the next three years. As partnerships continue to demonstrate effective collaboration and success, government CIOs recognize a shift from a direct provider of services to a “broker” of services. This is where a new discipline of managing complex and diversified portfolios of services as well as service providers are necessary to bring together agency needs and demands with technologies and evolving workforces.
Government as a platform aims to address the rising complexity of service delivery, by enabling all government departments and agencies, plus partner organizations to offer services through a trusted platform such as an ECM system. This approach not only simplifies service requests for citizens, but it also has the potential to give governments a more holistic view of citizens. ECM systems that offer reporting and analytics features can also enable governments to consider the types of services requested, frequency of requests and other data points in order to better allocate resources, optimize services and their delivery, and ultimately become better stewards of taxpayer dollars.
Enhancing citizens’ digital experiences
According to the Pew Research Center, public trust in government is at an all-time low. While the research findings are bleak, governments are making huge strides to rebuild trust and improve the public’s overall perception of government. As agencies continue to turn the tide and better align with citizen expectations, it is imperative to take a human-centered design approach to ensure platforms are delivering the right services in real-time.
The implications of public mistrust are dire: If citizens do not trust their government, they are less likely to engage with it, making it even more difficult for departments and agencies to be effective. The government as a service approach, however, fully embraces new technologies and innovations to increase citizen engagement. This constant evaluation and feedback will be key to the evolution of platforms, processes and service delivery for generations to come.
Ryan Park is the state and local government marketing manager at Laserfiche. In his role, Ryan focuses on supporting and growing the state and local government user community, executing process optimization strategies, and helping agencies enhance the citizen experience. Park has presented at industry conferences on effectively leveraging enterprise content management technology to drive responsive and quality citizen services.