Declining local government budgets drive a need for innovative solutions to reduce operating costs
Local government budgets for municipalities, cities and townships are shrinking at a staggering pace. Declining property and business tax revenues are impacting local governments ability to provide basic services to the public. As a result, budget planning directors and business analysts are looking for opportunities to streamline workflow, improve efficiency and share resources across departments to drive down costs while maintaining these services for the public.
Often when a service is requested by the public it has to first be determined which department(s) can resolve the request and take action. Once ownership is determined then the request is filtered out to appropriate departments to render the services and it may involve interaction between departments (D2D) or between the public and the department (P2D). Either way there is a manually written request somewhere, that can’t be statistically reported on or easily tracked. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some cities that have tackled this issue and track information electronically in a database somewhere. But imagine if there was a system that enabled them to not only operate more efficiently but leverage the data captured during the process? The result would be spectacular, projects for the city could be determined based on targeted analysis to problem areas based on the data collected. One such shining example is the city of Warren, if you have a moment see the amazing work they have accomplished, http://cityofwarren.org/index.php/citistat.
I am sure you are reading this thinking but how is this possible, “how can we establish a shared services model?” There are several critical elements to successfully implementing a shared services model:
There is real results that come from implementing these tactical solutions in local government. If you don’t have IT resources then leverage your peers in neighboring municipalities to help. Most are very proud of the work they have accomplished and more then willing to share. Also, things have changed in the last couple of years with cloud technologies dominating the market. It is not necessary to have a data center or a room full of servers to support mission critical solutions such as what we discussed above. Many of the products on the market are Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based and therefore pay only for what you use, they host it, configure it and support it. Take the time to consider how a shared services model could help you to manage your budget and improve public perception, it is worth the effort.
Author: Rhonda Wille