On April 12, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued OMB 17-22, a guidance document providing agencies with information regarding several deadlines they’ll need to meet for agency reform. While lifting the hiring freeze that was imposed by an earlier Executive Order, it requires agencies to revisit their programs and to develop an Agency Reform Plan for a “lean, accountable and more efficient” federal government.
The memo comes at a time when national and federal governments all over the world are exploring the “digital transformation” of government. This trend recognizes that government customers expect a level of technological advancement that the private sector has already embraced, but the public sector has struggled to afford and implement. The sheer size of the federal government presents challenges for change, but OMB 17-22 points out that technology is a permissible and a critical piece of the way forward.
Transforming the paper-driven world of government requires one essential technology: enterprise content management (ECM). State and local governments have already embraced these models – servicing huge numbers of citizens every day by eliminating paper, automating processes, offering self-service options and using this foundation to evaluate their progress and position themselves to respond to any changes from the federal government.
5 capabilities to consider
What can your agency learn from their model? Here are five technology capabilities that your agency should consider as you develop your plans for 2018 and 2019:
1. Eliminate paper with ECM
Paper equates to staff time and process delays, not to mention increasing costs and storage requirements. In a leaner federal agency, eliminating paper is an immediate savings and redirection of staff time to better citizen service and more efficient programs. State and local governments offer many examples of the use of ECM.
2. Originate processes through online services and portals
Lean, efficient and accountable processes starts with offering interactions online. This helps government meet the expectations of citizens and makes it easier to launch a transaction without the worry and additional staff time needed to find work, provide updates on progress or deliver information, documents or decisions through the mail.
3. Automate processes
Continuing to deliver programs and services while operating at lower staffing and budget levels is challenging. And, losing institutional knowledge of program rules compounds those challenges. Automating business processes can free staff, deliver better progress updates and process visibility, and focus staff attention on exceptions and items that demand a human touch. Using a workflow engine means enforcing business rules and offering tools to ensure that compliance requirements are met even if your staffing decreases.
4. Utilize dashboards
Demonstrating the benefits of programs, understanding workload and even identifying bottlenecks can be easy when using an ECM platform and process automation. This provides an instant view of how your programs are progressing and, importantly, how well you are delivering citizen service. This view is only possible when you abandon paper and embrace automation to track activity.
5. Case management and rapid application development
Your continuing review of what programs are offered, and how they are offered, means that rapid application development (RAD) is essential to provide the tools your front-line staff needs to meet service delivery expectations. If your programmatic offerings change again as you prepare for the 2018 and 2019 Budget Blueprints, a RAD platform provides not only flexibility, but affordability and agile development. An agency IT toolkit needs this capability to service the changing landscape of federal program delivery.
Your Agency Reform Plan is a challenge and an opportunity. As your agency approaches OMB 17-22 requirements and deadlines, look for these technology tools to meet its requirements while positioning your agency to exploit digital transformation.
Not only will these tools will make your agency better, they will support your front-line staff and will serve you now and into the future.