Digitization Is Advantageous Both for Citizens and Employees
The benefits of digital documents extend far beyond long-term cost savings, process efficiencies and improved cybersecurity. Citizen experience — a primary focus for all government agencies following the 2021 customer experience executive order — can be greatly enhanced through the adoption of digital documents and e-signatures.
For example, the Chamber of Commerce report concluded that the public spent 10.5 billion hours on government paperwork in 2021 alone. Most citizen interactions with the government require the citizen to fill out at least one form, and often multiple forms. An intuitive digital document experience would allow citizens to access the resources they need more easily and quickly. These improvements would substantially boost the citizen experience and strengthen the public’s faith in government to serve them effectively and efficiently.
Similar benefits can be realized on the employee experience side. Digitizing documents, signatures and workflows is a relatively straightforward upgrade for state agencies, particularly when implementing a solution that can integrate with existing government technology. State agencies can progress toward broader modernization objectives without risking major disruptions to their daily processes. The goal is to make it easy for people and organizations to create, edit, share, scan and sign digital documents to communicate and collaborate securely across devices.
While the improvements to the citizen experience and the employee experience are plentiful, there are a few critical factors that agencies must account for when kicking off a document digitization initiative.
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Key Considerations for Successful Digital Document Transformation
Equitable access to government services is another priority area throughout the public sector that document digitization can help achieve. Many Americans rely on mobile devices to access the internet, and these individuals are often the ones in the greatest need of government services and resources. When moving away from paper-based forms, it’s imperative that government organizations ensure that digital documents are accessible and easy to navigate on mobile devices and that they meet Section 508 requirements.
In addition to accessibility, cybersecurity is very important. Without veracity certifications and encryption, PDFs can be impersonated and are vulnerable to malicious edits or metadata spillage. Given the sensitive nature of government and citizen data, state leaders should use solutions that ensure document authenticity via encryption and by removing or redacting sensitive metadata before publication. Once security is assured, the benefits of document digitization are numerous.
Many state-level government organizations are interested in incremental IT improvements rather than sweeping system overhauls. Such organizations should consider joining established public sector partners that can provide a broad set of solutions to support the digital document, signature and workflow journey. A scalable partnership can improve interoperability while helping to ramp up an organization's digital transformation over time.