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Three Secrets of the Top Digital Counties

Contributed by Katie Burke, Government Program Specialist at Laserfiche. 

 

“Going digital” has been a topic of conversation in government for many years, yet very few organizations have actually mastered the concept. Digitization brings benefits such as reduced costs, increased efficiency and better service delivery. But with ever-evolving technology and changing demands from citizens and employees, “going digital” can feel like a revolutionary undertaking, rather than an evolution of current practices.

So who are the leaders in digital government, and how are they achieving it? Each year, the Center for Digital Government conducts a Digital Counties Survey, then selects the top 10 respondents among four population cohorts. We’ve spoken with several of this year’s winners about their digital initiatives and they let us in on three secrets to their success:

Secret 1: IT Should Lead Business Analysis

Being a digital county is more than being “paperless.” “Going digital” is more about bringing operations into a digital space, and gaining efficiency in the process. As Michael Wells from Chesterfield County, VA noted, “A bad process doesn’t get any better with digitization and automation; it only gets faster.”

For example, Eaton County, MI, recently reworked its accounts payable process to be more efficient. This initiative involved collaborating with elected and appointed officials county-wide and resulted in savings of over $50,000 annually. Now, other departments are asking to work with IT to redesign their document-intensive processes. This positions IT to be more of an innovation driver, rather than just a service center.

Secret 2: Shared Services Models Truly Are a Win/Win for All

This year’s top digital counties are extending their IT services beyond the confines of county buildings, and are achieving economies of scale, reduced redundancies and better collaboration as a result.

  • Tompkins County, NY, has extended its records management program to more than 15 municipalities in the county through its “TSSERR” (Tompkins Shared Services Electronic Records Repository) program. This has helped with information sharing and saved the county millions of dollars in the process.
  • Mohave County, AZ, extends its GIS web service to municipalities in the county, allowing other organizations to view property data on every parcel in the county. This program supports better information sharing among the county and the municipalities, as the GIS portal also incorporates data from the City of Kingman and Bullhead City.

Secret 3: Mobility Is an Enabler

Digital counties are looking at ways they can enable operations in the field by putting mobility at the heart of their IT strategy. Cabarrus County, NC, for example, has seen success using iPads in the Department of Social Services for child abuse inspections. The iPads come ready with a program to manage their critical files. This allows DSS workers to take pictures and video, access family history and check the state database all while on-site, which ultimately increases efficiency and improves service delivery.

Next Steps

If you’d like to ask questions and learn more about the process of “going digital,” join us on Tuesday, July 29, at 10:00 am PT/1:00 pm ET for a webinar about the future of digital government. An esteemed panel of experts will discuss business process automation, change management as it relates to policies and procedures, and how to encourage innovation in an agency. Panelists include:

  • Dr. Robert Sobie, IT Director of Eaton County
  • Catherine Kunst, Director of Operations at the Colorado Statewide Internet Portal Authority
  • Jack Miles, Former Secretary of the State of Florida’s Department of Management Services

 

About the Author:          

Katie Burke is Government Program Strategist at Laserfiche. She responsible for creating a variety of resources to educate the state and local government audience, including webinars, articles and white papers on the benefits of electronic document and records management. Within Laserfiche, Katie serves as an industry expert and state and local government advocate. You can follow her on Twitter @katieburke47. 

 

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