By Catherine Kunst, Director of Operations at Colorado Statewide Internet Portal Authority (SIPA). 

Why should your government office wire up with digital tools? That’s simple: the government serves the people and the people demand digital.

While many may think that the government’s recent experimentation with electronic processes rallies for paper’s defense, I see invaluable opportunities for government – big and small – to reap countless benefits.

As Director of Operations at Colorado’s Statewide Internet Portal Authority, I serve as a procurement mechanism for governments and offer digital solutions to ensure government offices run as smoothly as possible. You must counter intuition and think of government as a (digital) business.

Change Management

Of course, business growth depends partly on acceptance of innovation and change. Even though we’re a digitally adept society, many governmental offices still require paper and ink to administer vital paperwork and forms. But consider the volume of processes attached to the paper-based workflow. Time and resource strapped, government offices should consider the potential ease and efficiency of digital workflows. Take project contracts as an example: do you really need to dedicate an entire room for the filing cabinets to house all contracts?

Space considerations aside, hours and days tick by before contracts are fully executed. In my experience, contracts normally require three to four signatures, but why should you wait the typical weeklong turnaround time? Paper should never hold back meaningful work in light of cloud-based data management solutions on the market.

Connect with your Citizens

Keeping government services one click or tap away ensures that citizens easily access the breadth of services government offices provide. Sadly, because many government offices lack functioning and interactive websites, their value remains hidden from their citizens’ eyes.

Colorado has approximately 3,500 local government agencies many of which are still without websites.

While an office serves as the physical hub, the website weaves the community together. Use a website to welcome citizens to access board meeting minutes or watch streaming videos of live council meetings. Government offices can make the most of their dedication and hard work; a website, easily accessible via desktop and mobile, proudly demonstrates government’s value to the people.

Data Keeps us Safe

Every citizen should be within arm’s-length of essential information such as data about crime.

Consider a mapping tool that highlights crime hotspots. Every mother deserves to know if her family lives near a registered sex offender. Such accessible data not only reiterates government offices’ value, but also hammers down the truth that government officials keep citizens’ best interest top of mind.

Let’s Make it Easy

We all stand to benefit from transitioning to digital processes. Embrace cloud-based data management and servers. Governments need to keep in sync with society to keep their value vibrant. Give your data a cloud boost and steadily make the transition to digital data management platforms to streamline citizen and government information. The natural side effects include a healthier budget and added time and human resources.

2014 is not the year of paper. We’ve exceptionally important tasks to accomplish, so let’s take the digital plunge and focus on running our governments as efficiently as possible.

Don’t miss Catherine speak about digital government during DocuSign and Laserfiche’s webinar — Expert Panel on the Future of Digital Government – on July 29th at 1:00 PM ET/ 10:00 AM PT.

Click here to register how.