Everyone seems to be focused on what’s trending. There are countless trends on each social media platform at any given point in time, clothing trends per season, and businesses and stocks trending up or down. However, it’s important to recognize that many of these short-lived “trends” are actually fads. A true trend is a process of development over time that impacts people or businesses in some way. By contrast, a fad is an interest that is short-lived and can change on a dime. The social media “trends” mentioned earlier are actually fads, as they change within a few days to a few weeks.
I mention fads because the word “trend” can have a negative connotation with it. Considering today’s blog is about trends we expect to see in 2022 throughout the government sector, I want to make sure it’s clear that we are discussing true trends that we expect to see grow and evolve for quite some time. The US Government doesn’t do fads, and it doesn’t create or adopt trends lightly. Based on the recent years and projected futures, these trends are solid and will most likely not fade away anytime soon.
Hybrid Work Environment
As with every industry, the Government has been affected by the ongoing pandemic. Many government organizations were shut down in the early months, resulting in a remote workforce. As is the case with so many other fields, working from home wasn’t as effective as in-person. Like the courts however, it quickly became apparent that some government tasks could be done digitally and remotely. For many organizations, the at-home environment transitioned into a hybrid situation that allowed some personnel to stay home while others went into the office to get tasks done. Based on what we’ve seen from the past nearly two years, it’s hard to imagine going back to an all in-person government.
Digital communication and correspondence continue to be faster than traditional processes, allowing the Government to get more done in the same amount of time. In addition, experts can be hired anywhere in the country and sign in for virtual meetings as needed. The pool of qualified applicants is no longer constrained to a state or territory, bettering the chance of getting the right person in the right seat. At the end of the day, all Americans want a government that is best suited for their positions to help the nation get better. Hybrid models are allowing that to happen, bringing about the promise of positive changes down the pipeline.
Of course, a hybrid model is trickier to navigate than an in-person team. That being said, it’s far from impossible, and has actually been quite seamless thanks to a growing interest in digital workflows. This is a trend experts predict is here to stay because these systems have revolutionized how departments and agencies can communicate and process information. Essentially, a digital workflow is an automated sequence of tasks that work together to execute a process.. Workflows take tedious and repetitive tasks away from employees so that they can focus on more complex challenges. For example, a workflow might take in emails, identify keywords or priority, sort it accordingly, notify the proper department, and create a ticket for how long it takes to respond. Rather than relying on staff to do all these steps manually, digital workflows handle them automatically. Steps are far less likely to be missed, and the entire process can be performed in a fraction of the time.
Digital workflows are commonly used for back-office work, accounting, human resources, and data analytics. Everything is stored conveniently in one place, and all files can be tracked and routed. Not only are digital workflows making life easier for government employees, but it’s also working to hold officials more accountable for when, how, and where they place or review documents. In 2022, we expect more government entities to adopt digital workflows as they look for ways to reduce redundancy and maximize productivity.
Digital workflows involve automation, but that’s far from the only technology making its way into the Government. AI (Artificial Intelligence) is finding a home at federal, state, and local levels. AI is essentially a brain comprised of computers and code. Most Artificial Intelligence is able to learn commands, and repeat them. It can also be used in “decision making” by tracking data and assigning values to it. While big decisions should be left to humans, AI is great for ordering inventory, sorting emails and lists, and compiling numbers or budgets.
For many people, Artificial Intelligence is intimidating. We’ve all seen the movies about robots taking over, and humans have an innate fear of what they don’t understand. Luckily, the AI implementation trend has slowly coaxed more and more industries to give it a shot. The Government has been adopting AI processes over the past few years and it’s been well-received. With the exception of the occasional technical issue, AI has proven to be a beneficial tool for handling daily tasks of many government workers. 2022 should see the trend continue with AI expanding into new offices.
As the Government develops into a more digital climate, it’s quickly finding out that on-premise servers and filing cabinets aren’t quite cutting it anymore. The solution? Many organizations are moving to the cloud! Contrary to popular belief, the cloud is not less safe than an on-prem server. In fact, thanks to constantly improving tech, cloud hosted servers and databases are typically more secure than their on-prem counterparts. Things like encryption, firewalls, and multi-factor authentication keep data locked away from unauthorized users. When dealing with confidential government information, don’t you want the upmost protection?
Experts predict that cloud hosting will remain popular for a variety of reasons.
- More organizations are utilizing digital resources
- Offices cannot manage additional physical paperwork
- On-prem servers are out of date and too expensive
- Documents need to be accessible, even when not in the office
Greater Transparency and Accessibility
Lastly, one trend we are excited about is an improvement in transparency. Government agencies are working together more than ever before, pooling data to try to find a solution to problems throughout the country. By relying on a larger set of data, findings are more accurate and true trends can be spotted. By being transparent across organizations, the government can use their resources collectively and make a bigger impact on any issue. This also keeps all departments honest with budgets, communications, plans, and goings-on that may have previously flew under the radar.
Arguably more importantly, the Government is now more transparent with Americans as a whole. Public records can be found online, updates are live streamed or covered on social media so that more people can see what’s happening, and digital forms and processes have allowed the Government to make services more accessible to everyone. There’s no need to travel to an office, and communications can be handled quickly. Submitting documents is as simple as a few clicks, and user-friendly instructions help anyone get through the process. Public-facing records are stored for later and can be viewed online. With documents so readily available, the Government is disclosing more to US citizens in a timely manner.
Of course, with any trend, it’s impossible to know what the true outcome will be. These predictions are based on the data from the last few years, as well as general trends about technology and innovation. 2022 is officially underway, and it will be interesting to see if the Government follows these trends or strays away. Regardless of what happens, we hope you’ll keep in mind that all of the mentioned solutions and products are proven beneficial by case studies and years of data. Don’t be afraid to start the trend and implement processes you feel are most useful for your office or agency. Change can be intimidating, but it can be worth it to get a more fair, equitable, efficient, and affordable government.
Learn more about how ImageSoft helps government organizations and reach out to our experts about other trending solutions at https://imagesoftinc.com/government/.