Digital governments in 2023: 10 benefits for your community
The last few years have demonstrated how important it is for the world to “go digital”. People now expect to be able to navigate their lives effectively and efficiently online, including how they interact with their local municipality. Gone are the days of archaic paper trails and cumbersome filing systems that drain public resources. Digital governments are not just a way of the future, they deliver many benefits to your entire community right now. It’s essential that municipalities embrace these innovative technologies in order to fully serve constituents in ways that are valuable, meaningful and engaging.
10 benefits of digital governments for your community:
1. Reduced government costs
The move from print to digital provides substantial savings in mailing fees, paper, copiers, and labour to execute these services. These savings can be diverted into digital technology that improves efficiency, security, and file organization.
2. Improved data security
Studies show that a cloud-based platform increases security, as it’s backed up several times a day and monitored closely by the provider. On-site servers are much more difficult to secure and also expensive to maintain.
3. Continued service delivery, even throughout adverse environmental conditions
A digital government can operate regardless of external events such as a major storm, state of emergency, or other catastrophe. Employees and council members can work remotely and continue the operation of daily affairs. This also improves worker safety, as there is no need to travel to work in dangerous conditions. This benefit also applies to citizens, who can utilize online portals for payments, permit applications, etc.
4. Task automation saves valuable time
Digital government services benefit municipal workers, allowing them to make the most of their time. Instead of spending hours on tasks such as simple data entry, follow-up emails, or reminder notices, administrative staff can now automate a host of processes to make their days more efficient.
5. Streamlining communications
Before digital technology, too often miscommunication between departments could stall a project or task when using hard-copy paper trails. Moving these tasks to the digital platform streamlines communication between personnel and also with the public, resulting in better efficiency and less frustrations/delays.
When files and projects are accessible online, all stakeholders can be reassured that information on applications and projects are visible and easy to reference. This fosters trust, both internally and externally. Governments being able to easily share reports, meeting minutes, strategic plans and more, allows citizens to be able to have important information about what is taking place within their community at their fingertips.
7. Convenience for citizens
Digital governments are a logical step in the public trend toward such activities as digital shopping, travel booking, and ordering food. Governments that implement online payments, permits, and other applications display a progressive mindset and willingness to provide the public with a level of convenience that they are accustomed to in many other facets of their lives. Making interactions with the government easier and more enjoyable in turn improves the overall citizen experience.This convenience also extends to employees and their daily functions. A shared internal platform unites a work force and makes everything run more smoothly.
Innovative technologies can greatly improve the safety of its citizens. Digital signage, for example, can warn citizens of natural disasters and other weather-related incidents. It can also alert drivers on busy roads to accidents and provide them with alternate routes. Additionally, government-run hospitals have more accessible records and can monitor patient records more efficiently. And, in addition to convenience, the digital platform prevents citizens from having to navigate icy streets or extremely humid conditions to pay a bill in person.
9. Tailored interactions for increased citizen engagement and satisfaction
Digital governments allow municipalities to deliver services and notifications that can be specifically tailored to each individual constituent. Think about how online stores can enhance the customer experience based on past user behaviour. Factoring in the full lifecycle of the citizen journey allows governments to design meaningful interactions that are oriented around each citizen's story. For example, a simple, automated reminder that a utility bill is due or that a business licence needs renewal makes it easier for citizens to make payments on time at the click of a button. Or a notification about local events in the area allows citizens with certain interests to engage with other like-minded members of the community.
10. Improved data collection and analysis
When a government can engage its public digitally, it can better analyze the data it collects to improve the services it offers citizens. Digital kiosks such as parking meters, for example, can provide valuable data on levels of engagement and ease of use. Also, a 311 service gives government information on the way the public engages with this service and what tweaks can be incorporated for improvement and development.
Digital governments may have once been regarded as a way of the future but in 2022, the future is now. A process of digital transformation can provide all government stakeholders with a long-lasting list of benefits that improve the whole community’s everyday experience. With so many upsides from both a government and citizen perspective, smart cities technology is revolutionizing municipalities in a variety of valuable ways.