August 25, 2020
The global health pandemic has made it even more difficult for state and local governments to balance budget limitations against constituents’ expectations for effective, reliable community services. Automating back-end business processes, asset management, finances, and procurement is one of the surest ways to wring more and better results out of every dollar.
There’s nothing like a moment of deep urgency to crystallize the need for cloud capabilities like automated back-ups, redundancy, and disaster recovery. But what are the most effective strategic investments to help agencies meet today’s challenges while charting the course to a more operationally efficient, cloud-enabled future?
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Our 5-week blog post series reviews key areas state and local organizations should consider in order to ensure uninterrupted services to constituents despite a future that’s difficult to predict. This week, we’ll look at process automation as a cornerstone strategy to optimize operations and sustain vital constituent services.
Consideration #3: Sustained constituent services
Citizens and businesses have always had a keen eye for the value they get back for their tax dollars. When they need their government, they expect it to show up for them with accessible, efficient services. From licenses, permits, and bill payments to field services like inspections, to the array of virtual functions made necessary by the pandemic, constituents want what they want when they want it. It’s a challenge that every state and local agency strives to meet.
Legacy software systems often make it tougher and more expensive to deliver on that commitment. Before the pandemic, many departments and agencies were making the switch to more streamlined, cloud-based systems that freed up limited staff resources for more important duties. Now, amid the continuing uncertainty of COVID-19, state and local organizations with secure cloud capability have found it much easier to maintain business and service continuity, significantly reducing the potential for interruptions or closures.
For agencies that are still grappling with that change, the big, vexing question is how to get from here to there, at a time when citizens are watching closely. “Improving the delivery of government services by becoming more ‘citizen-centric’ is one significant way to improve constituents’ satisfaction with public agencies,” Forbes magazine wrote last year, in a post that suggested reducing red tape, shelving the paperwork, and re-envisioning the citizen experience as important steps along the way.
But the Information Technology Association of Canada summed up the current state of play well, in an August 2019 paper that applied equally to the United States. “Embracing cloud computing—in which software, platforms, and infrastructure are services accessed via the Internet—will allow government to move away from its reliance on outdated, expensive data centers and traditional IT,” ITAC wrote. Their “tremendously slow adoption comes at a considerable cost, in terms of wasted resources, technological debt, and missed opportunities to access better, greener, and more secure IT services.”
If you’d like to learn more about automating business processes to sustain constituent services, we invite you to: