Why digital government can enjoy big benefits from self-service (Guest post)

Rahim Kaba, product manager at eSignLive, discusses the benefits of self-service in digital government

The big push today is for governments at all levels to go digital, but what does going digital even mean? And how do you benefit from it?

Digital Government is about a new way of engaging and servicing clientele – citizens, vendors and public authorities. It’s about using data to make better and faster decisions. It’s technology that enables you to develop more interactive and rapid ways of getting things done.

To be truly successful, digital initiatives must operate across the agency – and they must be cross-functional.


Benefits of going digital

State and local government agencies can benefit from going fully digital – and at all levels. Going digital enables government agencies to gain efficiencies and do more with less, ensure compliance and transparency, as well as deliver modern convenient citizen services. Going digital also enables government agencies to mitigate risk, accelerate project timelines for faster time-to-serve and to modernise the government workplace – a bonus for HR.

For a department such as HR, for example, going digital impacts a wide range of processes from employee onboarding through compliance. Carrying out these processes in a non-digital way means dealing with paper-based workflows, minimal or no insight into the business process and no access to reporting data. It also means no proof of compliance and heavy investment in people and time

However, when these processes are digitised, suddenly you can bulk send HR compliance forms to all employees (eg: Code of Ethics), send offer letters in digital format – which include electronic signatures and gather data for reporting. You can also track compliance, shift resources to focus on business rather than process and gain full insight into the complete workflow

Digitising government processes provides a range of benefits but, for many agencies, their decision to switch hinges on three main touchpoints – their relationship with employees, the relationship with citizens and the relationship with businesses.


Government to employee: Individuals self-serve

Digital processes enable myriad benefits and are often easier to implement than you may think. You probably already have the forms needed to execute your business – and you have a website or portal that you can leverage. Look for solutions that connect the dots of your current resources.

For internal applications, HR is a great place to start. You can implement digital workflow solutions rather quickly, with low risk and high impact (read success). Common initial use cases include employee self-service forms such as time off requests, and onboarding processes, and compliance requirements like reviewing and signing a Code of Ethics document.

For self-service applications, easy-to-implement solutions can take a blank form, present it to an employee, collect the form-fill data, and allow the person to sign the document to complete the transaction.

For highest efficiency, in as many cases as possible, create self-serve processes that can be initiated by the individual.


Government to citizen: state and locals e-permit

State and local governments are seeing tremendous returns on citizen self-service processes such as e-permitting. Citizen-initiated requests for home building applications, camping permits, state college course registration and more, are alleviating personnel and paper-intensive burdens on government offices.

Virtually all permits require sign-off by an authorised individual. Adding e-signatures to these now self-serve workflows enables full end-to-end digitisation – without falling to paper for that final signature.

Automate solutions that keep traditionally paper-based events in a digital world.


Government to business: e-contract

Vendors and suppliers that keep all levels of government humming are increasingly turning to e-contract. By leveraging digital processes, you gain control over the workflow and know the status of the contract at all times. You also have record of the complete digital trail of everywhere the document has been, who has reviewed, touched and signed it.

The need for electronic signatures in the eContracting processes is critical to maintaining a fully digitised process from end-to-end. Many suppliers are astonished that with simple digitisation and automation, they have shortened contracting schedules from double-digit days to single-digit hours!

By building a trusted digital process, tremendous gains in time, effort and money are being realised at all government touchpoints – with the added bonus of empowering individuals to initiate transactions on their terms.

Related reading