Beauty and the Beast, X-Men, and Jekyll and Hyde are all stories we know well. A common theme within them is transformation. The Beast is transforms from human to beast and back again, Mystique shapeshifts at will, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are two halves to a single whole. By nature, humans love to see a transformation happen, but we are far more hesitant about transforming ourselves and our lives. Unfortunately, this fear can hold back our businesses and industries. With enough resistance, no change can happen, leaving organizations stuck for years at a time.
Over the past several decades, many industries have been more open to transforming processes. Some are better equipped to make drastic changes than others, making it seem that some organizations have been left in the dust. The truth is, several sectors are inherently slower at implementing change due to the nature of the beast, the complexity of the processes, and the training required. While taking the time you need is more than okay, you don’t want to get stuck in a rut. If you’re hoping to start a digital transformation, constant momentum is essential. You don’t need to see drastic changes, just steady adjustments.
Government is one example of an industry in which immediate change is rare and unfavorable. After all, changes within the government directly impact the community in which it serves. If your state government suddenly declared all Wednesdays as non-working days you are sure to have many furious companies and a mixed reaction from the general public. For big changes like this, you need to ease people into it and convince them it’s a good idea. When it comes to digital transformations, it’s key to have your internal employees on board and reflect the trends of the outside community.
How Can You Implement Digital Transformation?
For government departments, beginning down the path of digital transformation can seem intimidating. The government is known for its legacy processes, and those that have been in the industry for years are hesitant to let them go. We enjoy being comfortable and confident in what we do, so the idea of scrapping decades-old systems is justifiably daunting. There’s no need to panic, however, because you’re not expected to flip a master switch in one day. Rather, start small and work your way up.
The first thing to do is figure out what your biggest issues are. From there, you can work backwards to find the many smaller issues that meld together into the core problems. Nine times out of ten you can break down a dilemma into smaller, more manageable parts.
- Core Problem: Delays In Signing New Regulations
- Main Problem: Delays in obtaining signatures
- Sub-Problem: Communication is not flowing freely
- Sub-Problem: Schedules are not being accounted for
- Sub-Problem: Timelines are unreasonable
- Main Problem: There is a lack of support from the voters/community
- Sub-Problem: The community is not educated enough about what the new regulations will entail/resolve
- Sub-Problem: There are issues the community wants to see resolved first
- Main Problem: Delays in obtaining signatures
As you can see, the core problem is an amalgamation of main problems and even more specific sub-problems. When you identify the base-level issues, that’s when you can target them for change. We would never recommend attacking the core problem right off the bat. Not only is it usually not possible, but it also will be ineffective because the sublevel problems will persist. You can’t stick a band aid over a bad cut and expect it to go away. It might be a quick fix, but the internal issues will make themselves known later.
Generally speaking, the best way to start is within departments. Get everyone on the same page and implement changes at a small scale to build trust and comfort. If Department D can manage electronic filing, then the higher-level Department C certainly can. It’s a trickle-up policy that helps keep stakes low during the transition period.
What Are Some First Changes You Can Make?
Every area of government is different in specific needs and wants. However, there are a few digital solutions that will likely be a good fit for anyone. These solutions work to resolve problems that seem to exist across the board and can be adapted as needed to better fit your exact situation.
- Electronic Filing: Documents and files are a critical part of government processes. From permits to laws to ordinances and everything in between, paperwork is everywhere. Desks are piled high with important notices and folders, filing cabinets overflow with past records, and paper trails are being made constantly. Unfortunately, this results in somewhat of an organizational nightmare. As you would imagine, handling this amount of paperwork is tricky for even the most senior team. One of the best first steps you can take towards digital transformation is switching to eFiling. Documents and files are uploaded as digital copies and stored electronically. Once in the database, documents can be securely accessed from anywhere and shared with authorized users. Finding a document is as simple as conducting a quick search, and reorganizing entire “folders” can be done with a few clicks. Electronic filing is a massive time-saver, and thanks to safeguards, it’s more secure than traditional filing methods.
- Electronic Signatures: Once you transition to eFiling, the next logical step is to adopt electronic signatures. As the name implies, eSigning is signing a digital document. Government departments constantly need signatures on various documents. It wouldn’t make much sense to file electronically only to have to print something out for a wet signature. Instead, you can adopt eSigning simultaneously and keep the entire process digital. Documents can be sent to both internal and external signers to collect signatures, dates, initials, checkmarks, and more. After working closely with governments, TrueSign, the ImageSoft eSignature platform, added a document template library. It became clear that many government forms are used frequently, so we designed a way to store them with pre-set fields. With electronic signatures, delays drop dramatically because you can sign from anywhere. Rather than taking time out of the day to physically go sign a document, you can sign on your mobile device and keep the process running smoothly.
- Digital Workflows: Digital workflows are another great first step into the digital realm. In an industry as complex as the government, keeping teams working together is paramount. If everyone is in the same boat but rowing in different directions, you’re not going to get anywhere. Digital workflows help keep the entire team on task and working towards a common goal. Enterprise content management condenses several apps and processes into one convenient package. You can communicate with members of your own department, share across departments, or connect with those outside of your organization. When communication is free and open, things get done much more quickly. Many ECM platforms (including OnBase by Hyland) integrate with outside apps as well. You don’t need to overhaul your processes in one swoop, just start by centralizing your database/control center so everyone can be informed of the plan.
Keep in mind that the above steps can be completed in any order. There are countless other ways you can slowly begin to introduce digital solutions into the government as well. By taking things one step at a time, your team will not feel overwhelmed by the changes and the transition will be as smooth as possible. This is the best time to begin moving towards digital transformation because we are relying on technology more as a whole. Legacy systems have done their part, but it’s time to start upgrading. To learn more about digital transformation in the government sector, visit https://nathana12.sg-host.com/government/.