10 Questions to Ask to Transform Your Agency Through Smart Procurement

After moving to a new state, I recently visited the DMV to apply for my new license. I arrived at the DMV when it opened at 8AM on a Saturday. There was already a line out the door, and 2.5 hours later, I was all set and ready to head home to enjoy the rest of the weekend. On my trip back home, I started to think about what could have made my experience better. I thought of a couple ideas:

  • Better time management: ever been to Disney World? They have Fast Pass tickets so you can return later at a designated time and move quicker through the line when you return. There is absolutely a science behind managing the volume of people in a line, and Disney seems to have it down. The advantage that Disney has is that their consumers are looking forward to the experience, while DMV visitors are focused on how quickly they can leave. If the DMV could think of a more efficient way to manage a line, with either a Fast Pass, online appointments or other ways to keep the line moving, the experience would greatly improve.
  • Continue to push for self-service: at 8AM on a Saturday, the line was out the door and wrapped around the building. Although not unexpected, the DMV needs to keep on pushing towards self-service on the web. For traditional transactions that need to be done at the DMV, they should explore ways to move them online.
  • Get rid of paper: imagine if the paperwork I was filling out for my new license was done on a tablet. Rather than having me write in my information, I could fill the information out on a tablet, have the paperwork synched to the cloud, and the attendant could see the information once my number was called. This would eliminate the redundancy of both of us filling out information, and reduce error. Our conversation would then be confirming my identity and giving the documents one last look for accuracy, which would speed up the entire licensing process. I could even have the document emailed to me for my personal records, rather than a printed receipt. This is where the power of the cloud, ECM and mobile all come into play.

My experience was just another reminder of how ECM technology can help agencies streamline and improve processes for licensing and permitting. Time and again, we’ve heard success stories of case management leveraging ECM to transform the efficiency and effectiveness of social programs. Why can’t these methods be applied to license and permits project?

There is great opportunity here for government in document management, but for government professionals, purchasing the right software to achieve these means can be a challenging process. Agencies must navigate complicated and lengthy RFP's, define clear contract terms and work closely with vendors to meet organizational need. Even after a contract has been processed and signed, agencies must work diligently to achieve the contract terms, implement services and fully leverage the value of the purchase.

Transforming agencies to improve time management, self-service and removing paper all starts with smart procurement. Agencies must think through what's going to achieve the highest mission need and advance the agency. So where can agencies start? Here's 10 questions I'd recommend to start with.

  1. How do our current purchasing processes adapt to IT needs while remaining compliant with legal and funding requirements?
  2. What are the terms and conditions of our purchasing contract, and can they adapt to meet IT needs for our agency?
  3. Are shared services a possibility? Are there any inter-agency agreements that can be made to share services and reduce costs?
  4. Is it necessary to create our own contract? Or, can we purchase through state term schedules or GSA?
  5. Have we met with vendors? How can vendors help us to become more informed while creating our RFP?
  6. Are we solving the right problem? What will the outcomes of this RFP be, and how will we measure success?
  7. What's the impact on the workforce? What kinds of efficiencies will the technology provide to our agency?
  8. Have we met with core stakeholders and discussed their needs?
  9. How will we measure the success of the technology adoption? What are the long-term outlooks verse short-term gains?
  10. Is this project susceptible to organizational turnover? How can we be sure that this project is sustainable?

Preparing for the future constituent starts with smart procurement, and by asking some foundational questions, agencies can start to create an IT roadmap to meet future needs.

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OnBase is a proven enterprise content management solution for each level of government, helping each meet today’s challenges of smaller budgets and staffs while laying the foundation for simplified, efficient and mobile government information technology. To learn more, visit Hyland's resources page on GovLoop.

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