As the public sector continues to raise the bar in terms of customer service quality, citizens are increasingly expecting equivalent customer experience improvements, accessibility, and efficiency in their interactions with state and local governments.
Combined with the immense public service challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, these citizen expectations have catalyzed a significant acceleration toward government digital transformation over the past five years. According to a recent Wakefield survey, 91% of American government agency respondents report having successfully advanced their digitization efforts in 2022. Gartner estimates that citizen digital services have tripled in the last year.
While for many state and local government organizations, the journey to public service at the speed of digital has only just begun, digital transformation for government is already delivering a myriad of benefits to citizens and employees alike.
From delivering faster, more efficient services to constituents, to improving security, productivity, and organizational resilience, in this article, we’ll take a closer look at the power of digital transformation for government, including what it is, its benefits, and how to implement a government digital transformation strategy that works.
Government digital transformation refers to the process of applying digital technologies to government operational infrastructure to enhance efficiency and transparency and improve service delivery to constituents. The aim of government digital transformation is to reduce the number of time-intensive, bureaucracy-heavy procedures required of citizens in order for them to be able to access the government services they require.
By replacing outdated analog systems and paper-based processes with more efficient digital equivalents, state and local governments can operate more effectively while delivering core tenets of their public service mission – easier access to the services and programs upon which their constituents rely to thrive, and more effective governance processes.
Government digital transformation not only revolutionizes the ways in which the public can access critical services and information, but it paves the way for the implementation of new transformative technologies in the future. For example, it’s estimated that emerging AI data analytics technology will save governments approximately 1.2 billion hours of work.
Government digital transformation is a broad concept that can be applied to any application of digital technology to improve operations within state and local governments, but some specific examples include:
The implementation of digital tools and technologies can simplify and streamline the administration-heavy processes around onboarding and personnel management in state and local government HR departments.
For example, when the HR department of the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida digitized their confidential personnel records, which needed to be referenced, updated, and searched consistently, they were able to reduce the time employees were spending searching for a single file from 30 minutes per query to mere seconds, regaining an estimated 100 hours per week.
Paper records have long been a primary contributor to inefficiencies within state and local governments. Historically, when a citizen requires a particular record, they would need to visit the relevant government agency in person, queue, and then wait for the requested record to be located, retrieved, copied, and supplied. Often, records are kept off-premises in warehouses or other storage facilities, meaning that a single record request could take weeks or even months to complete.
Once paper-based records have been digitalized, they can be indexed into searchable databases for instant retrieval. These databases can be made available to the public through online e-government portals, meaning records are remotely accessible to anyone who needs them instantly, 24/7.
Another example of digital transformation in government is the introduction of online digital ID and authentication processes, in which citizens can authenticate their identity documents remotely through online channels, giving them increased access to critical forms of identification that allow them to claim a range of important government services, including social security grants. A growing number of US states are currently rolling out this technology. Louisiana’s digital ID card, for example, has been considered the legal equivalent of a state driver’s license or social security card since 2020.
From improving service delivery and access to cutting costs, government digital transformation delivers a host of important benefits for state and local governments looking to elevate and streamline their operations at every level.
Executing public services through digital channels is less expensive than in-person service delivery. Digital transformation entails setting up digital channels through which citizens can interact with their state and local governments, and access the services they require without having to appear in person to fill in paperwork.
According to the US Chamber of Commerce, federal government agencies alone spend an incredible $143 billion on information collection annually. These costs are a direct result of the inefficiencies and resources involved in paper-based processes. For example, 106 billion forms were processed by the federal government in the twelve months prior to August 2022 alone.
Digital transformation for government can not only save the public an inordinate amount of time and money (the American public spent 10.5 billion hours on government paperwork in the surveyed time period), but it would also save state and local governments billions of dollars in human resource costs. The General Services Administration estimates that eliminating just 20 hours of workload per employee equates to a saving of over $3 billion in net capacity.
Additionally, government digital transformation allows state and local governments to significantly reduce the costs associated with paper records and documentation, and manual processes, including file storage costs and labor savings.
To calculate how much your organization would save through digital transformation, follow this handy guide.
Digital transformation has the power to improve customer satisfaction significantly. By facilitating efficient, responsive interfacing with state and local governments, digital processes can transform the speed at which public services can be delivered.
But good public service delivery is not only about convenience and accessibility – it’s a question of trust. Citizens who are satisfied with a public service are more likely to trust the broader government than those who are not.
Government digital transformation allows for the streamlining and automation of workflows and processes, saving employees and the public hours of time and reducing the administrative burden on departments. Digital public services deliver higher operational efficiency than analog equivalents and involve less case-handling time. Constituents who have access to digital public services spend less time interacting with public administrations, and, according to the OECD, organizations that are most digitally advanced are up to 15% more productive than their less digitally mature counterparts.
Implementing a government digital transformation strategy is no small task, but with the right implementation approach, you can accelerate time-to-value and quickly reach the point where you’re delivering an elevated customer service experience to your constituents.
Start by assessing your organization’s digital maturity. Where are you, right now? What areas of improvement seem most urgent? How much will digital transformation measures cost? From this data, you can begin to develop a digital transformation strategy that not only directs resources to your most urgent problems first but allows you to implement changes without disruption to service delivery.
The foundation of government digital transformation remains the elimination of paper-based record-keeping and processes. By scanning and imaging your existing records and documents, and implementing a day-forward imaging strategy, you can index records and documents into a searchable database for instant retrieval and extensive process automation.
Document digitalization improves speed, accuracy, and security, allowing your employees to carry out their work much faster, with fewer errors, in a manner that is fully compliant with privacy and data protection laws in your state.
When selecting the right digital transformation solution for your organization, it’s important to choose a solution that scales with your organization as it grows, and seamlessly integrates with existing systems to deliver true interoperability throughout your state and local government ecosystem. Integration capabilities are also important for preventing extensive service disruption during the implementation process.
Image API has played a critical role in the government digital transformation strategies of state and local government agencies across America.
Sarasota County Schools is a public school district in Sarasota Country, serving 43,000 students. An inefficient paper-based student record system was becoming increasingly difficult to manage. Due to space constraints, staff members sometimes had to drive up to an hour each way to access files stored off-premises, and transferring files from one school to another took up to five days.
With Image API, Sarasota County Schools digitized their student records across all 53 schools in the district in a phased process. Using Image API’s Content Management Application, Axiom Pro, all records were indexed for instant retrieval, and now staff members can capture, store, search, retrieve, and share student records across the entire district digitally, improving accessibility, implementing process automation, and repurposing valuable storage space for more high-value student activities.
Nassau County in New York was tolerating an increasingly inefficient and expensive paper-based record-keeping system. Their probation record file room occupied an entire floor of office space, which needed to be paid for monthly. Manual processes to retrieve and process records were time-consuming and prone to errors, with files often going missing due to misfiling or loss.
Image API digitized Nassau County’s entire backlog of records, implementing Axiom Capture and Axiom Pro for day-forward records capture, document management, and process automation.
Nassau County was able to reclaim an entire floor of file storage space for other purposes, eliminating paper-based processes, increasing security, accuracy, and efficiency, and improving record access across the county.
Escambia County’s HR department was able to save up to 1 hour per public records request by digitizing their employee files with Image API.
The department handles over 3,500 active and terminated employee files, which in their paper form were taking up an inordinate amount of space, and leading to significant delays and bottlenecks during manual retrieval.
After digitizing these records and implementing Axiom Pro to manage them, files can be instantly searched and retrieved, even between departments, taking record request fulfillment time down from one and a half hours per request to just 30 minutes on average.
For almost three decades, Image API has been helping state and local governments achieve unprecedented efficiency through a full-service digitization and digital content management solution. Our digitization solution includes:
Flexible, scalable, 100% secure high-volume imaging services to digitize any document format, at scale.
Image API’s Axiom Pro platform is a cloud-based document management system that allows you to store, secure, search, and manage digital documents with unprecedented efficiency.
Visit www.imageapi.com for more information.
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