More and more municipalities worldwide are transforming their websites to create friendly, intuitive portals where citizens can find information, access services, and even pay taxes and fees. Citizens love it, and rightly so. But do these types of eGov initiatives improve day-to-day operations behind the scenes for government employees?
It depends. Many upgrades to municipal websites have been cosmetic—visually appealing on the outside, but still linked to legacy systems and processes on the back end, thus bringing little change to how public-sector workers do their jobs.
The fact is, despite the digital revolution that is driving many enterprise decisions, we still see massive amounts of paper circulating throughout city government offices. Many processes that start digitally on a website land back on paper once inside city offices. It’s the sad consequence of having a partial solution—of investing in external improvements without giving due consideration to internal processes and priorities.
Admittedly, eGov transformation is a big job. It’s not fast, simple, or cheap. But as Bill Gates once said about the use of PCs in business, it’s not optional. Governments will inevitably convert traditional analog bureaucratic processes into digital workflows so that any public worker can easily follow and complete a transaction. It’s the foundation for modern service, and the best way to reduce transaction costs to a fraction of current amounts. The conversion requires the use of advanced electronic document management (EDM) tools, such as SharePoint, and case management workflows (commonly developed on Dynamics CRM). These steps are then combined with the right business process modelers and identity management tools such as Forefront.
True, this internal transformation is not highly visible and may take work to justify, but the benefits for the community become apparent in short order. With the potential for savings on per-transaction costs and worker time, the investment in internal modernization is justified. In the current economic environment, it’s a priority whose time has come.
The transformation is fascinating, especially when you see how local governments around the globe are addressing workplace modernization. Are you seeing these types of changes at the local level? Leave a comment here or send me and e-mail—I’d love to hear from you.
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