Challenges to digitization in local government
- Insufficient infrastructure
- Digital skills gaps
- Internal resistance to change
Digital transformation is underway in almost every industry, from food services and hospitality to media, manufacturing, and more. Even local governments are taking the plunge into digitizing manual processes in hopes of increasing citizen engagement and improving internal efficiency.
However, not all digital transformations are successful. In fact, a study by the Boston Consulting Group showed that 70 percent of digital transformation projects fail to meet their goals, even when leadership is highly engaged with ensuring its success. So what’s standing in the way of progress?
In this article, we cover some common local government issues that affect digital transformation and offer a technology solution that can make the journey easier.
3 common issues local governments have with digital transformation
1. Insufficient infrastructure
Preparing for digital transformation involves more than just purchasing the right technology. You need infrastructure in place for that technology to properly function, and for some local governments, this can be a major issue.
“Before dreaming of a digital utopia, ensure that your community’s connectivity is up to the task,” says Justin Insalaco, retired police officer and a strategic adviser to Atlas One, which offers public safety digital communications. “Broadband and fiber infrastructure projects can benefit from significant grants and are a crucial starting point.
“Take Coral Gables as an example,” he says. “Their prescient chief information officer, hailing from the private sector, understood the urgent need to overhaul the town’s technology infrastructure. Before even plotting out their digital journey, they secured the necessary foundation. Today, this small municipality stands as a shining example of a ‘smart city’ and is a testament to the fact that, without infrastructure, the smart city concept is just an illusion.”
2. Digital skills gaps
With digital transformation comes new tools — ones some government employees may not know how to use. While many digital transformation solutions are highly intuitive, some still require a considerable amount of training. Without it, employees may not know how to use the solutions effectively, and they may even stop using the solutions and revert back to their previous manual processes.
Some digital transformation solution vendors offer support for employees, which is highly beneficial. “Too often, I see vendors and government agencies alike drop the ball post-implementation,” says Insalaco. “The vendor’s engagement with the agency seems to end with the sale.
“Unless the agency reaches out for help, the vendor assumes all is well. To address this gap, I make it a point to engage directly with our agencies, brainstorming, innovating, and ensuring they’re making the most of the platform.”
3. Internal resistance to change
It can be difficult for government employees to get used to new processes and systems, especially if they’ve been doing things a certain way for decades. For other employees, the onset of a digital transformation may cause uneasiness about job security, making them hesitant to use the new systems.
It’s vital to educate employees on the benefits of digital transformation and show them how using new technology can not only make their day-to-day lives easier, but also help them provide better services for citizens. Insalaco recommends appointing an internal cheerleader for the initiative to help manage the change.
“Identify a champion within your entity to carry the torch for the technology,” he says. “Allow them the freedom to fully immerse themselves in it. And for community resilience, ensure they’re building a team that is well-versed in the technology stack. This is vital because, if your point person is ever unavailable, you don’t want your digital transformation to grind to a halt.”
Jotform Enterprise: A way to mitigate local government issues
Jotform Enterprise is a digital transformation technology solution that local governments around the world trust.
Jotform Enterprise enables your local government agency to collect data from citizens and employees, such as through forms and PDFs, and manage the data in tables and reports. The platform is intuitive and easy to use, making it ideal for employees of all digital skill levels. Plus, this solution integrates with more than 400 apps, so you can easily connect it to your other digital solutions for a seamless interactive experience.
When it comes to managing any local government issues related to data, Jotform Enterprise can help.
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