I had the pleasure of spending several days with gifted CIOs from counties across the U.S. at the National Association of Counties Conference in Washington, D.C. While budgetary constraints seemed to be on everyone’s mind, there was also the notion of change on the horizon. Change that could really help counties become more efficient and effective.
I heard lots of buzzwords during the conference, but two really resonated with me – “consolidation” and “optimization”. I believe that as counties ask themselves whether the benefits of enterprise content management (ECM) outweigh the cost, it’s imperative to consider enterprise value in the context of goals like consolidation and optimization. So how would you measure enterprise value in your county?
My suggestion to counties that need to make a case for implementing an ECM solution county-wide is by demonstrating its effectiveness at meeting the challenges and goals of the New Normal government.
The upside to consolidation
For years during my governmentcareer, consolidation was regarded as a way to eliminate costly areas. What was initially motivated by budget has turned into a survival strategy that reexamines and streamlines processes and the traditional ways of doing things. There are lots of residual benefits to cleaning up and simplifying the way we work, but none more obvious to the public than the improvement of constituent service and return on investment/cost savings.
Look for one ECM solution to be the core solution that connects to other systems, stores information in one central location and shares information between departments and locations. Consolidating systems and sharing technology results in lower maintenance costs and less IT support. The cost is spread over multiple departments and agencies and IT staff only needs to learn one system. That’s consolidation that matches both reduced cost and staffing, but also leads to more efficient government.
Optimization is not just for databases anymore
An exciting discussion posed at the conference was how counties enhance and optimize existing IT talent by sharing both application development and expertise. Counties are taking revolutionary steps by publicizing the innovative solutions they have created or purchased, and then act as advisors to other counties looking to pursue similar projects. So, with better communication, counties work together to advance technology standards/efforts for counties while helping each other optimize their own internal solutions in the more traditional sense.
The reality is that the more you use a solution, the more expertise you develop that can be repurposed elsewhere in your organization. For example, the high volume capture configurations you create for human services programs are also repurposed in other departments that receive large numbers of documents.
By implementing an enterprise ECM solution, your IT staff builds on the knowledge they gain through each project to make the next go faster. From everything I have heard this week, government is on the move. Counties are embracing enterprise solutions to consolidate costs and make the most of staff time. That’s a new normal for government that everyone can support.