This blog post is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent guide, "Taking Government Cloud Adoption to the Next Level."
Information technology is an enabler that has changed the way agencies perform their mission, but the growing complexity of IT infrastructures has compromised both functionality and internal collaboration. Especially in large organizations, it can be difficult to find the right people or information to complete a task. Government has been using the cloud for less than a decade, but it is already helping agencies tackle this challenge. By connecting people and information within a secure, mobile, cloud-hosted environment, government agencies can create a digital workplace that drive cross-departmental collaboration and facilitate efficient business processes.
Apollo Gonzalez, Chief Technology Officer at Catapult, a company that provides application development, enterprise solutions and infrastructure services, has been instrumental in implementing digital workplace solutions. In an interview with GovLoop, he explained why the cloud is key to these solutions and how the digital workplace benefits employees and constituents alike.
According to Gonzalez, the cloud makes it easier to create digital workplace solutions because it offers a stable infrastructure
that is fully managed by vendors, and accessible to multiple stakeholders. “Digital solutions and the cloud, together, are a perfect marriage,” Gonzalez said. “Technology companies give agencies the service they need and have implemented it a thousand times. They know exactly how it works, where it needs to be improved, how you should use it, and they are constantly making it better.”
This means that agencies can easily update its digital content and disseminate information without worrying about development, provisioning of sites, or testing. Cloud-based solutions, such as Catapult’s digital workplace offering Fuse, come largely pre-built at less cost and effort to agencies, and leverage the experience and manpower of partners to assist with content management and user adoption strategies.
In government, employees are constantly looking for ways to share information across the agency. Gonzalez sees the digital workplace, enabled by the cloud, as a way to streamline processes so that agency staff can retrieve data quicker and collaborate more effectively. Cloud and digital workplace solutions allow employees to access information securely and easily in one location, use powerful search tools to find pertinent documents, and communicate across teams.
Digital workplace environments can even help agencies recruit and empower the next generation of civil servants. Also a college professor at the University of Houston, Gonzalez has found that recent college graduates, “expect that the environment that they work in during school will be what they see when they go work for a corporation or government entity.” Agencies can attract millennials, and boost engagement and productivity amongst a multi-generational workforce, by providing employees cloud- based tools where they can effortlessly share assets, and the flexibility to work where and how they want.
In addition to the benefits a digital workplace offers employees, it can also help improve constituent experiences with government. By creating platforms that are mobile, responsive and intuitive, citizens are more likely to participate in agency programs and services. Further, analytic reporting can help measure customer satisfaction and allows agencies to use insights to improve services and overall efficiency.
Finally, Gonzalez said that digital workplace solutions “as a service” assist overloaded IT teams by streamlining requests, minimizing support tickets, and automating repetitive tasks, freeing up IT personnel to focus on more strategic initiatives.
Catapult is currently implementing Fuse, their digital workplace solution “as a service” at multiple agencies. Because of the cloud, Catapult can constantly improve and update the system to the scale government needs, without the huge investment in time and money associated with solutions built from scratch. Once implemented though, the Fuse digital workplace can transform an agency from the inside out.
“A digital workplace should connect people, process, information, and technology to create a more productive, innovative, and engaged workforce,” Gonzalez said. That’s why Catapult focuses on building long-term partnerships so they can continually support agencies’ digital workplace solutions, allowing agency leaders to focus on their organization’s mission instead of worrying about the back-end systems.
The cloud is crucial for enabling the digital workplace, because it allows agencies to leverage private sector knowledge, resources, and manpower. The digital workplace improves agency efficiency by empowering employees, facilitating open communication with constituents, and by automating operation processes within the organization. Cloud-based tools make government employees more efficient at their jobs so they can more effectively deliver services to the American people.
For more information about taking cloud to the next level, you can find the full guide here.