There was a time when governments seeking technology to move beyond paper and manual processes often had to turn to costly and custom-built solutions. Those certainly worked better than “spreadsheet management” but came with several drawbacks. Too often, while communities and governments have outgrown these solutions, they are using workarounds to extend the life of inflexible technology. Today, those workarounds often make it difficult for governments to meet their missions, serve their citizens, and attract and manage growth.
Legacy solutions – especially those built more than ten years ago — are often difficult to adjust to take on new or changed tasks (and therefore difficult to have them manage new functionalities without the time and cost of new programming). They often have trouble interoperating with other systems (the primary drawback of which is the inability to share data). They likely do not have robust analytics capability built-in so that data captured can be used to make decisions. And they were probably not optimized for use online or mobile.
Governments are tasked with an expanding set of regulatory type requirements that help both protect the safety of their communities, and, when done well, attract economic growth. The pandemic has added to the long list of needs governments must meet (from short-term assistance programs to help manage the economic disruption, to contact tracing, and more). When workarounds are required to keep legacy technology working – it is easy for governments to miss opportunities to provide great citizen service. That in turn can detract from future growth of the community.
One of the biggest missed opportunities when trying to operate with inefficient technology is the ability to digitize and effectively use data. When different departments use systems that are not interoperable, data cannot be easily shared between them. That is a negative for citizens – needing to provide the same information to different departments over and over is inefficient and frustrating. It is also negative for the government because they cannot get a true 360-degree view of the citizens and businesses in their community. More critically, when data from across the community can be collected and analyzed, strategic decisions that can attract economic development can be made. Workarounds with different data sets from different systems don’t allow for this same insight – and that impedes governments’ ability to make strategic decisions about growth.
The other big missed opportunity is when legacy systems cannot accommodate online and mobile activities. All of us are accustomed to interacting with private sector companies in frictionless, online ways which has completely changed how we meet our day-to-day needs. Now, we expect interacting with government should be just as easy. Citizens and businesses may choose to relocate to a nearby community if they provide easier, more seamless services.
To meet citizen needs effectively and efficiently, governments need systems that are flexible, extendible, and powerful. Enterprise platforms that can easily support multiple departments and interoperate with other software and technology are one of the best answers to help governments modernize how they manage services and become more citizen centric.
And while government budgets now and post-pandemic might be challenged, the good news is that advanced technology has become much more affordable. In fact, the efficiency gains from not having to plan workarounds and deal with manual processes can often pay for the investment in a new enterprise platform in a short period of time.
If your government is struggling with legacy technology and wondering if you can afford investing in an enterprise platform to better meet today’s requirements, we would love to help. Contact us today.