Faster, Cheaper, Better Government – Part 2: Start with the Basics, 5 Ways to Be Faster

In Part 1 of this series, I discussed my experiences at the Cityworks conference in the context of the historical and continuous reductions in the number of public sector jobs. Despite these staggering job losses, I believe government leadership can transform this bad moment into a watershed for creating the “faster, cheaper, better government” model.

The topic is both important and broad, so let’s start at the beginning with some examples of “faster” government, including:

Providing quicker responses – Government operates faster when information is easy to retrieve. However, when needed information resides in separate databases or filing cabinets, it takes longer to find answers. Since most government information is split between departments and locations, connecting people with information is essential for faster retrieval.

Reducing backlogs – The unfortunate result of a reduced workforce is that less work is done in a day. The good news is that organizations can cope by changing the way they operate – eliminating tasks like printing, copying and filing. By eliminating manual tasks, staff has more time to provide better, faster service to constituents.

Making faster decisions – Increased and backlogged workloads results in slower decision making. Constituents become very unhappy when delayed decisioning slows down critical progress for things like providing shelter for the homeless, emergency assistance during a crisis and the development of businesses that can help the community’s local economy. You can relieve backlogs and improve the reputation of your government by using technology to track and act quickly on these services.

Here are five ways to get your government operating faster:

  1. Easy information access – By connecting documents and data with codeless integration, you put all needed information at your staffs’ fingertips.
  2. Focus on exceptions – One way to operate with a reduced staff is to use technology like workflow automation. Because workflow automates repetitive processes, staff has more time to focus on the human side of work. Not only will it shine a light on the places staff should focus their time, it also highlights problems and bottlenecks in your processes.
  3. Eliminate tasks – By implementing technology that automates processes, your staff doesn’t spend time printing, copying and filing paper. They now have to time to focus on more important initiatives and deliver faster responses to constituents.
  4. Reduce the number of solutions you support – One way to accelerate the use of technology is to reduce the complexity of your systems. You can accomplish this by implementing solutions that are easier and cheaper to support, and buying enterprise solutions that can be used in other departments and for different processes. By reducing the number of solutions, you also reduce the amount of IT support needed to administer your solutions. It’s like having extra staff that is free to develop additional solutions and realize more benefits, faster.
  5. Provide self-service – Let your constituents help themselves! This isn’t bad customer service – it’s government using technology the way constituents want to be served, with 24/7 access to information. Since constituents can help themselves, your staff can address other tasks.

Faster government is critical for surviving the current crisis and meeting the expectations of the next generation of constituents. Technology will get you there by realigning the way your staff uses their time. And when that happens, government will not only be faster, but cheaper and better.

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