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Digitization in the public sector

The new normal and the push to digitization in the public sector

from  July 7, 2020 | 3 min read

As state and local governments learn to navigate the new normal, many are asking what will remain ahead of a potential second spike, and beyond, and what role will technology play in the new reality.

Fiscal constraints have created an opportunity for public sector organizations to innovate through technology, say Dustin Haisler and Joe Morris, from government media and research company, e.Republic, as they unpack new recommendations on In Case You Missed It (ICYMI) on LinkedIn. Here are some highlights and my take on how technology can help.

Business processes re-engineered for remote work

While the workplace is being reshaped for social distancing, working from home for non-essential functions could be here to stay, says Dustin: “We’re going to see a push to re-engineer these processes to support remote decision-making. These are going to become more important than ever to ensure that business processes don’t require elements of manual interaction.”

In this new normal, public sector organizations will have no choice but to break away from legacy systems to reduce manual tasks, evolve business processes, improve remote working and optimize decision-making.

Agencies need software solutions that focus on People Experience, to help free their teams from manual tasks so they can do more of what matters: helping citizens and communities thrive.

Using technology to drive better-informed decisions is even more important in this new reality. Financial management capabilities built into public-sector-specific ERP systems allow organizations to harness real-time visibility and control over every stage of the record-to-report cycle, anytime, from anywhere. They also streamline budget planning and analysis while consolidating organization-wide data with one unified system.

Financial planning & analysis tools allow organizations to turn real-time data into meaningful insights to plan and act quickly to achieve better results.

The push to modernize for the next normal

“Because everyone is home, it’s causing a rise in demand for digital government services,” says Joe. “But we’re also seeing the response in terms of modernizing critical systems as both the medium- and long-term priority”.

Public sector organizations have for some time needed to modernize systems to satisfy the demands of tech-savvy citizens and stakeholders. With the new normal, there’s no way to avoid that. Organizations need to improve digital citizen services, give citizens the ‘private sector’ user experience they expect and deliver streamlined multi-channel customer services.

Blurring lines with privacy and health surveillance

Data privacy was already a big issue before COVID, but Dustin says this is going to be challenged further as we see a potential line-blur between individual privacy and the need to protect public health via privacy and health surveillance systems ahead of a potential second spike.

Giving regulators and stakeholders correct information has always been a priority, as has being responsive and accountable to constituents. In light of these privacy and health surveillance systems, making sure citizen data handling is secure and compliant will become critical.

Fiscal constraints catalyze innovation

Dustin says: “The public sector has stepped up to embrace fiscal constraints and found ways to use technology to amplify the abilities of their staff to solve these problems. These constraints are an opportunity for agencies to innovate, and technology is going to play a critical role in doing that.”

Reducing admin and IT costs to deliver better services with less funding has always been a challenge for public sector organizations. Technology can help agencies reduce admin and system costs while tracking and controlling spending more efficiently. This helps them make the best use of teams’ precious time to innovate.

Responding to change

As organizations deal with an unprecedented, fast-changing situation and an unknowable future, they need the ability to react fast while still improving citizen services, delivering transparency and empowering employees. With the right ERP, public sector organizations can do all this while, perhaps most importantly, responding to change quickly and without disruption.

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