How technology can help public services to maximise taxpayer impact
Posted by Mark Gibbison
The over-riding aspiration for public services organisations across the world is to maximise the impact taxpayer funding can achieve. Reducing the cost of resources while maintaining comprehensive services is a juggling act for all public services organisations. For many governments, austerity measures such as budget cuts and decreasing services have been the go-to option, but citizens are becoming increasingly opposed to such efforts. To solve this dilemma successfully, government organisations need to focus their attention on four key factors:
- Reducing costs by shifting the emphasis from "offering less" to "doing more with less."
- Agencies must be able to justify their expenditures by connecting the use of taxpayer funds directly to outcomes and demonstrating the overall value these expenditures create.
- Tying relevant services together to increase efficiency and improve collaboration between departments through greater sharing of services.
- Ensuring that multi-channel services work together efficiently to provide the appropriate amount of information and service at each level, from self-service to options such as website queries, to more personalised contact via phone or in person.
As public opinion evolves, government agencies are facing increasing pressure to move toward an agenda of productivity and improving the cost-effectiveness of internal processes rather than simply making cuts. The financial troubles of the past decade have had an impact on the way citizens look to government for services. Constituents are requiring more and better programs, and they want them to be more accessible. This evolution requires a fundamental shift in the way the public services organisations approaches resource management.
Roadblocks preventing you from maximising taxpayer impact
Implementing system-wide changes can expose a host of issues that may have been overlooked for some time. Agencies are usually suffering from long-standing deficiencies in back-office functions that can hamstring the entire organisation. Often, these problems stem from the use of inefficient methods of organising, viewing, sharing and storing data.
Outdated approaches to data
The challenges that many public services organisations face are a direct result of the legacy IT systems they have in place. There is marked inability to model and execute reorganisations, react to fluctuating funding levels and new funding structures, or otherwise adapt to the changing needs of citizens.
When data is spread across multiple departments, these systems are even more ineffective. Information silos with varying information-sharing processes and standards between departments make it difficult to share data efficiently, requiring additional staff and resources the complete simple collaborative tasks.
No single version of the truth
Inaccurate data is a significant contributor to government waste, causing unnecessary delays and utilisation of extra manpower to rectify. If your agency can't tell where data is originating from and exactly who is responsible for supplying it, you cannot be certain that the information used to provide services is reliable. Without reliable data, there's no way to ensure efficient use of taxpayer resources.
Again, information silos within departments play a large part in this problem, leading to inaccurate, inconsistent and incomplete information. If there are too many versions of the truth, you can't be sure that the one you're looking at is correct. Government agencies need a system that can automatically track each time someone creates, accesses or changes data to guarantee the reliability of its data.
This is the final roadblock that public services organisations must overcome to decrease taxpayer burden without cutting services. Agencies that lack proper business assurance services hinder their own ability to make fully informed decisions, which leads to wasted resources on untenable projects and additional funding to fix any mistakes. Without robust assurance, government agencies may not be able to gauge exactly what they need to do to leverage technology and operations efficiently and provide cost-effective services.
In some cases, the lack of assurance comes from misgivings from senior civil servants who are wary of handing over the reins of a public institution to a third party. This attitude, while understandable, decreases a government's ability to make good decisions.
The Unit4 solution
The Unit4 Business World suite offers a flexible solution that empowers public services organisations to deploy a full range of services while maintaining lower implementation and maintenance expenses than traditional enterprise resource planning solutions. The features Business World offers can provide a significant boost in your efforts to in save taxpayer funds.
First-class capabilities, low cost of ownership
Our ERP solutions allow government agencies to offer intuitive reporting, sharing and analytical tools that make processes more efficient and decrease staff workload. Consolidating to a single system significantly reduces overall costs and improves efficiency across the organisation. The Business World system can be implemented quickly, integrating seamlessly with your existing tools. This allows your agency to upgrade the entire system with minimal disruption and no costly data migration. Your agency can improve citizen outcomes and decrease necessary outlays at a significantly lower cost of ownership than our competitors can offer.
Function and flexibility
The flexibility offered by our Business World ERP allows your agency to engage more efficiently in sharing services between departments, which will help to reach better economies of scale within your organisation. You can track the path of resources and ensure that they're being used efficiently. Unit4's solutions enhance multi-channel services so you can interact with and assist citizens at every level, on any media. Business World is highly adaptable, evolving with your organisation and your citizens. Our solutions can be configured in any number of ways, allowing for quick post-implementation changes at minimal cost. This full-scale functionality is available at 50 percent of the total cost of ownership of a traditional Tier 1 ERP, reducing the burden on the taxpayer.
Business World helps your organisation monitor the progress of programs, determine the effectiveness of services, and allocate resources more effectively. This enables you to better leverage policy-to-outcome measurements and gain more actionable insights before making costly decisions. Our ERP can also act as a full business assurance service, providing analyses, forecasts and reports.
Unit4's Business World ERP offers high-performance capability at an unparalleled value. It provides government agencies with the agility and responsiveness necessary to meet the public's ever-changing needs. You can streamline your entire organisation, from citizen-facing, front-office services to back office functions, extracting more value from each public dollar and saving taxpayer funds across the board. Simply put, our Business World solutions allow public services organisations to accomplish more with less.
Want to know more?
To find out more about how Unit4 has helped organisations like yours – and can help you – visit http://www.unit4.com/uki/sectors/public-services