Faster, Cheaper, Better Government, Part 3 – Top County Trends to Watch
I just attended an illuminating technology summit hosted by the National Association of Counties (NACo). The group began offering these summits to help elected officials learn about technology showcasing proven examples of how it helps counties better serve their constituents while weathering difficult financial times.
As I listened to the day-long panels, two themes stuck out in my mind – first, the interest in county government moving to paperless processes and second, the broader theme of consolidation that implies simplifying your IT structure. As I listened to these presentations, I was struck by three things that became huge contributors to their “faster, cheaper, better government” efforts:
1. The role of technology in eliminating low-value tasks
Officials from Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, and Leon County, Florida, discussed using enterprise content management (ECM) to eliminate the burdens paper-based processes placed on their staff and constituents. With an investment in ECM, these counties:
- Reclaimed employee time spent filing, printing and photocopying documents
- No longer lose documents
- Instantly retrieve needed information
- Eliminate costs associated with paper documents by electronically routing them
2. Eliminating redundant and under-used applications (and associated maintenance payments)
County officials also discussed the need to review, assess and eliminate some of the many solutions they purchased over the years. In large counties, supporting and upgrading these applications is complex. Many discovered solutions that were abandoned but still a part of the maintenance burden on IT staff.
To solve this problem, IT staff members developed maps of all their solutions and ranked them by age and usage – a tool that helped them focus on applications that should be eliminated or replaced. Doing so supports the overall effort of counties to consolidate and standardize their IT investments. Many are seeing tremendous time and cost reductions as a result. In fact, San Diego County reported a 25 percent reduction in IT unnecessary applications and saved millions.
3. Speeding up government with technology
All of the above contribute to this category because less paper results in faster processes in areas like accounts payable and property tax work. By reducing the number of IT solutions your county supports, you’ll be able to deploy needed projects faster – like self-service websites, mobility for field staff and transparency initiatives. The potential for faster IT deployment is one way counties benefit from popular trends like mobile solutions and web-based applications.
As you consider how to create “faster, cheaper, better government,” counties are already leading the way. The foundation for this progress is managing the documents that drive government and revisiting your IT portfolio. So, if you’re looking for a place to begin, start with your core – the documents and your IT infrastructure. If you do, you’ll meet the save budget while repositioning your IT investments to support a simpler, leaner and more nimble outlook.
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