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Digitization Makes Government More Responsive

As agencies move away from paper and on to digital platforms, one point of friction is dependence on signatures for documentation — of identity, of receipt and of agreement. Paper-based services can bring an otherwise digital process to a grinding halt.

Streamlined digital workflows allow agencies to respond better — and faster — to constituents. “If you improve the user experience internally, it also enhances the user experience externally for customers,” according to Shonte Eldridge, Senior Director of State and Local Government Strategy and Solutions at DocuSign.

Remove HR Roadblocks

Think about hiring and onboarding, where countless forms and documents are passed back and forth. “If the workflow’s not digitized, you’re sending emails and hoping the candidate gets them,” Eldridge said. “You have no idea if the candidate’s opened it or seen it or signed it or it’s on its way back to you.”

Getting rid of the literal “paper trail” means rethinking what purpose those documents serve at every stage and answering those needs online. “Let’s say you decide that digitizing your hiring process is most critical. The first step is mapping the hiring process from beginning to end — the time it takes from posting the position to hiring a person,” Eldridge said. “The map will show you where signatures and approval points occur and help pinpoint where slowdowns are happening.”

Track and Retrieve Correspondence

Internal correspondence is an obvious choice for a digital approach. A paper-based workflow offers multiple opportunities for delays, errors and security breaches, and the risk of losing the document altogether.

Imagine a budgeting request. “We’ve done this packet, printed it out, and sent it to whoever needs to sign off on it, but there’s an error in one calculation,” Eldridge said. “Now they can’t sign it and send it back. [You] find and fix the error, reprint it, put it back in interoffice mail… How much time do you think that’s taking?”

In an automated system, Eldridge explained, “I can go in and make that correction seamlessly and indicate that that change has been made, so everybody can see it. We’re all working in the same document.”

Manage Compliance in Procurement

Bids, contracts, and other documents move both within the agency and to outside vendors. You need to manage the contract from the request for proposal through renewal or expiration. This is a case for contract lifecycle management, Eldridge said.

Contracts may also need to be updated to conform with new legislation or policy. “[With an automated system] I can just go in and pull all those contracts, highlight the clause that’s been changed, and resend them to the company,” she said. “They re-sign and send it back, all in one system.”

Digitize to Meet Your Mission

Automating workflows can help agencies do more of what they’re intended to do, Eldridge said. “Governments want to get back to their mission. Staff want to spend more time providing services, not doing backend stuff,” she said. “They’re looking for solutions that help their people and make the process more efficient. We are simplifying the process of government. Simplifying how things get done.”

This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s guide entitled “Your Guide to Becoming an Adaptive Agency.”

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.com

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