Digital transformation in local government: Benefits & best practices

Allowing citizens to book services and pay bills online, enabling field workers to interact digitally, managing and tracking government records electronically — all of these scenarios are characteristic of a digital government.

A digital government uses technology to facilitate operations and meet the needs of its citizens and employees. Today, many government entities are following in the footsteps of for-profit businesses by taking advantage of the latest technology to operate more efficiently and better serve their customers (or, in this case, citizens).

The process of making that change — from relying on manual processes to using digital tools — is called a digital transformation.

In this article, we cover how local governments — which manage parks and recreation, emergency medical services, municipal courts, housing services, transportation services, public works, police and fire departments, and much more — can benefit from going digital.

We also offer best practices to follow and show you how local governments can leverage the power of Jotform Enterprise to bring their data-collection efforts into the digital realm.

Reasons to consider a digital transformation for your local government

There are many reasons for local governments to undertake a digital transformation, but the main benefit is that technology can support governments in delivering better services to their citizens while improving efficiency for employees.

“Governments are under-resourced with both people and funding, and this is especially true for local governments,” says Adnan Mahmud, CEO of FORWARD, a program administration platform for the public sector. “Technology can alleviate resource and capacity shortages by making processes more efficient.

“This also ensures efficient use of funding and improves service delivery. It enables transparency because access to data builds trust. Additionally, technology saves funding and time, reduces fraud, and provides the tools to facilitate equity,” Mahmud explains.

There are other benefits as well, such as fostering innovation. When governments go digital, they make it easier to manage and share data — with citizens and employees — while ensuring the right security measures are in place.

In addition, digital transformations in local government bring vast amounts of data to employees’ fingertips. This can support the creation of new and innovative services or processes, both internal and external.

Best practices for digital transformation in local government

Undertaking a digital transformation in local government is a major initiative that requires strategic planning.

Aja Brown, former mayor of Compton and senior director of impact and communications at FORWARD, offers a number of suggestions for ensuring your efforts are successful:

1.  Establish a clear vision. It’s important to specify what your government office is trying to achieve with the digital transformation and communicate the objective to stakeholders.

2.  Prioritize user needs. Identify what citizens and employees require and incorporate those needs into the digital service design.

3.  Ensure data security. Governments handle massive amounts of sensitive data. Be aware of current security threats and implement robust measures to mitigate risks.

4.  Invest in training. All government employees need training and support to learn how to use digital tools effectively from day one.

5.  Implement new tools and processes incrementally. Going too fast will inevitably lead to failure. Use phased rollouts to ramp up changes slowly and give yourself time to identify and troubleshoot issues.

Jotform Enterprise: Digital transformation support for local governments

While local governments will require a number of technology solutions for their digital transformation, there’s one that stands out. Jotform Enterprise provides a modern way to gather, use, and manage data as well as gain insights from it.

Jotform Enterprise integrates with over 400 solutions, so your local government can easily connect it to your other digital platforms. And if anyone on the team needs help using Jotform Enterprise, there’s a dedicated support team standing by.

From forms to tables to PDFs and more, local governments can collect and make use of data for effective operations with Jotform Enterprise.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich

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