Aug 17 2021

Transitioning to Digital Service Delivery Starts with Identifying Citizen Needs

State and local agencies must identify the core areas that need the most significant push to digital service and then commit to creating initiatives that support modernization.

Citizens’ interactions with government have evolved immensely at all levels in the past year. The coronavirus pandemic exposed the fragility of critical government service delivery systems and the aging technology behind them. It revealed cracks that formed through years of patchwork fixes and outdated technologies and spurred agencies into action by necessity, especially at the state and local level.

At the onset of the pandemic, state and local governments needed modern solutions that gave government workers the right tools to maintain service delivery at a time when citizens depended on their governments most.

Now, a year and a half into the pandemic, citizen needs are still continuously evolving. While modernization has skyrocketed over the past year, there is still room for growth in state and local technology solutions to meet evolving citizen needs.

On the Road to Modernization

According to recent research from MeriTalk, only 34 percent of state and local leaders were very satisfied with their organization’s ability to meet citizens’ digital service needs during the pandemic, and 82 percent agree that public services need to become intrinsically digital. Additionally, improved digital service enhances citizens’ experience of government.

Some organizations are making progress, and the majority say the pandemic has accelerated digital government in state and local organizations by three years or more. However, according to the MeriTalk research, just 24 percent “feel their senior leadership sees digital government as critical and are fully engaged with it as part of a key organizational strategy.”

After years of discussion around more intelligent government service delivery, how can state and local leaders continue to use this moment to make concrete progress toward more effective and efficient citizen-centric experiences?

RELATED: What IT infrastructure is needed to support modern digital government?

New Technology Solutions to Old Government Problems

To move forward, state and local organizations must use this moment as a springboard for digital action in various areas. Systems that can benefit most from digitization include healthcare, public records, social benefits administration, and tax processing. These are all services that have become essential pillars of government during the pandemic.

State and local agencies must identify the core areas that need the most significant push to digital service and then commit to creating initiatives that support modernization.

Another tactic for kickstarting service delivery is investing in new solutions. Ninety-three percent of IT decision-makers say they have or plan to invest in cloud computing in direct support of digital service delivery.

Further, investing in a right-sized and efficient storage system like application containers for government can help provide a higher level of citizen services. Solutions delivered via an “as a service” model offer flexibility and agility while maintaining costs and allowing agencies to scale up or down without massive disruption.

State and local governments can elevate their citizen service capabilities by leveraging solutions designed to enable a modern data experience while running on a simple, seamless and sustainable platform.

EXPLORE: How have government agencies embraced digital services amid the pandemic?

Looking to the Future of Government Service Delivery

To adapt and continue to innovate in citizen services, state and local leaders must focus on building on the momentum of modernization. Additionally, organizations must continue investing in scalable technologies, like cloud computing and other flexible solutions, and focus on digital delivery goals via electronic forms, mobile applications and digital processes.

By bringing users to the center of the digital experience, state and local governments can evolve services with citizens’ changing needs. In the current digital age, citizens expect to transact anytime, anywhere. They increasingly expect the same from their state and local governments.

To best serve the needs of the people, organizations must get a better understanding of their constituents’ pain points and how they’d like to interact with critical government services online.

Beyond modernizing technologies and consulting citizens, state and local leaders must take an active role in prioritizing the digital shift, including operating under the mindset that digital government is critical. Moreover, as citizen needs continue to evolve, state and local governments must invest in solutions to advance digital service delivery for years to come.

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