4 Essentials for Your Government Portal

Government agencies are quickly transforming to increase efficiencies and productivity as they adopt emerging technologies. With the emergence of web portals, increased consumer adoption of mobile devices, and higher demand for online services, government institutions are tasked to use technology to meet the demands of citizens in new, innovative ways.

To meet citizen demands and leverage emerging technology, agencies have worked diligently to craft comprehensive digital government strategies. The philosophy behind digital government strategies is to place the citizen at the center of government services and interactions. In many cases, government has created online portals to enhance citizen experiences. For many government agencies, the ultimate goal is to have their core audience shift channels from in-person customer experiences, to a more efficient and improved customer experience in a digital space. This means that agencies also have to focus on converting slow and burdensome paper based process to digital.

As a result, government websites are becoming more transactional. Transactional websites not only improve services to citizens, they also facilitate implementation of substantial cost saving measures and increased efficiency agency wide. In the public sector, technology continues to provide solutions to modernize and transform government services.

These trends are essential, as they come at a time when government is under heavy pressure to modernize, while operating with undersize and overworked staff. There are so many trends forcing government to transform, and online portals are working to solve some of these. Including efforts to:

  • Provide easy access to information so it is more readily available to citizens

  • Move away from a waterfall approach and towards agile methodology

  • Preserve equity through digital technology.

  • The role of government and when to use public/private partnerships.

  • Keep up with the speed of technology and heightened expectations of how services should be delivered to citizens.

  • Train the workforce of the future.

  • Smart IT adoption of big data, mobile and cloud.

These are imperative issues that leaders are discussing everyday in government, and guiding their agencies to help build the agency of the future.

Last month I wrote about the importance of web portals for government. They are helping government in many ways to advance the way they deliver services. They also connect departments and services through the use of web portals, which makes it easier for citizens to get the information they need, and provide a platform that connects government agencies. Yet, the success of government portals hinges on a few factors:

1. Understanding the community needs and desired services

Unfortuanetly, building government portals is not as easy as, “if you build it they will come.” Leaders need to understand desired functionality and how the site will be used.

2. Understand user design

User design is important and must be considered when developing a portal. Information and resources may all be located within the portal, but it should be an easy user experience for everyone to access.

3. Develop a feedback loop

There should be a simple way for users to get help and solicit feedback, this will help organizations make a more streamlined approach.

4. Develop a content and document management strategy

Documents power government services. Organizations must be thinking about how document management comes into play with online portals. Leaders must think about how they can automate some of the tedious document management tasks, and how to turn physical paper-based process into digital.

These six factors are certainly important. But let’s step back and focus on what makes technology stick: it’s people. Innovation does not just magically occur within an agency, there is a champion who is leading the agency toward improved efficiencies. Without connecting people to process, we’re going to continue to be held back from fully leveraging technology.

We see this every day when GovLoop is writing our research reports or conducting interviews. The research team is reminded that often, technology solutions are the easy part. It’s gathering buy-in, getting support and understanding user need, and then mapping your solutions to those needs.

Portals and online services are going to be essential to driving government forward. We use them all the time in our private lives and engaging with the private sector, and now, it’s governments turn to continue to move services digitally. Ultimately, this will create a healthier and more vibrant community, driving government into the next century.

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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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