In the midst of COVID-19, local government staff found themselves facing an administrative titan of a task. How could local government continue to deliver services to citizens when administrative staff were required to work from home?
Local citizens needed answers and services urgently, and local governments needed to rework their systems in record time. Departments needed to provide information about healthcare services and security. They Needed to be able to enforce new policies, as well as deploy provisions and aid, while simultaneously responding to individual citizen requests in real time, all while shifting to working remotely.
Anyone who has worked in local government would immediately see three major obstacles here: first, the immense amount of cross-department communication needed, second, the number of digital systems involved, and third, the immediate cessation of any system reliant on manual or paper-based processes.
Cities and towns often operate differently from department to department, making working as one cohesive body difficult to do. Modernizing internal infrastructure has become critical for governments looking to better serve their citizens in a rapidly changing time.
But in order to fully understand the value of it, we must understand digital transformation means for local governments.
Digital Transformation: More Than Going Online
Simply put, digital transformation is the use of new, fast, and frequently changing technology to solve problems.
Cloud adoption is a necessity to accelerate digital transformation – it provides the foundation for implementing and scaling new technologies. Two-thirds of enterprises had yet to achieve the anticipated benefits from their cloud migrations, according to Accenture research. The most common reasons – security and compliance risk (65%) and organization complexity (55%) – quickly fell to the side in re-orienting local government IT and systems as a result of COVID-19.
In a business setting, digital transformation means the application of these digital tools to fundamentally change the way you operate your business and deliver value to your customers. For a company, proving the need for implementing a digital transformation strategy is easy. Delivering better and more efficient services to existing clients allows a business to grow its customer base, which in turn means more profit.
For government bodies, the metrics may be more complex, and so the desired outcome may be different. Nonetheless, digital transformation is just as crucial for a government department as it is for a business.
So what does digital transformation look like for a municipality?
Many factors drive digital transformation within a municipality. Some elements are internal, such as increasing efficiency & processes, or increased demand for more transparency. Other factors that come into play are an aging population and budget cuts. With large cohorts of boomers, who have been working in government for years, now nearing retirement, digital transformation allows governments to encapsulate their knowledge to pass on to a new wave of workers.
But the most important factor driving digital transformation within the government is the proper governance of information.
What does proper information governance look like?
A single business has multiple lines of input, on any given day.
Whether that’s a person transferring information into a digital system, or a sensor tracking data, each type needs to be entered, validated, stored, and integrated across different systems.
A good digital transformation strategy allows for safe and efficient data management, and — equally important — liberation. We can’t afford to have information locked up in certain systems, but we must also retain control over how it moved and who has access to it. Understanding which systems need to speak to each other is critical. Digital transformation done right allows for all these different inputs to be classified, and shared, most efficiently.
From a Citizen Standpoint
That may be great for the government, but what about the people it serves? How does an up-to-date digital system better serve a citizen? It helps to think of it from the user’s point of view.
Let’s take a request for a service from a citizen as an example. You might ask yourself: what’s their experience? Do they know their request has been received or seen? Are we letting them know that the work is occurring? Are we letting them know that work has been completed?
These inquiries can often be hard to accomplish when you’re working with 35 to 50 lines of business — as in a typical municipal or county government. To add another layer of complexity, municipalities often provide several different types of services, unlike a corporate business, which typically addresses one specific need.
So what now?
The need for digital transformation within government departments becomes more apparent each week. Successful government bodies have already begun adapting their digital tools to meet the needs of their citizens.
These government bodies are not only already seeing a positive change in efficiency and information sharing, but, as time goes on, will also find more room for innovation.
We’ve partnered with governments across North America to help them bolster their offices, staff and systems for the challenges of 2020 and beyond. With Spatial DNA’s decades of expertise and governments’ in-depth knowledge of their specific area’s needs, we’ve been able to partner to streamline their workflows, integrate systems that help residents get the services and support they need, free staff to work on creative tasks, and liberate data.
We do this through a proven collaborative process where we:
- Design a holistic integration solution that respects your current tech and staff skills.
- Configure and test your designed integration workflows and automations.
- Then coach your staff to manage and extend your no-code integration solution.
Are you ready for a digital transformation? Contact Spatial DNA today.