Governments and the private sector may be two different things but, at the core, their aim remains the same - to satisfy the end customer.
Even then, the public sector is usually not the first to adopt the latest solutions or technologies. Because they are answerable to their citizens, government agencies cannot always adopt the latest because of budgetary restrictions, risk of public scrutiny should the experiment fail or even long procedures to get government processes changed.
With this in mind, government agencies can stand to gain by thinking more like businesses, adopting its agility and putting the customer first and making it easy for them to go through their bureaucratic processes. One way this can be achieved is by adopting some of the latest IT solutions that businesses have been using to reach their customers.
Having an online portal where your citizens can get half of their work done will not only lessen the burden for your civil servants but will help you reduce costs in the long run. Efficiency can have a snowball effect and these efficiency gains will be vital as time goes by. Online portals can have many applications from payment of bills, taxes or fees to automating processes such as applications and setting up appointments among others.
A lot of money passes through public administration departments. In a world where the public increasingly clamours for credibility and transparency, it is important to have systems in place that handle transactions in an efficient way, free of errors and are easily understood and traceable. You also need processes that are coordinated and can manage projects and gives you a full view of your entire department. The private sector has been doing it for years with ERPs, so there is no reason why governments shouldn't be able to reap the same benefits.
Government agencies are notorious for keeping incomplete or inaccurate records and antiquated filing systems that take a long time to extract data and slowing down government works. The sheer amount of documents that any government agency has to deal with is astounding and these documents usually contain sensitive information that are important either to the government or to the citizens themselves. Filing systems using a system of digital folders and files saved manually are outdated and cause plenty of errors making it more inefficient.
Companies that deal with lots of documents, on the other hand, do not have this issue as they invest in document management systems allowing them to retrieve documents or data in a few clicks allowing customers to complete transactions from a few minutes to a few seconds.
The advent of Big Data has brought on the question of how to make the best use of it. Public administation entities run on information and have with them a respository of data that , if managed, interpreted and used properly, can benefit both public administration and society. The applications of business intelligence in the public sector can not be enumerated in full but to give you an idea, you use business intelligence to make projections on crime trends and which areas will be most affected, it can help give you an overiew of the overall tourism trends in your country and you can allot your resouces accordingly, or even help you keep track of weather or environmental conditions and alert you on changes that can cause danger to citizens. It is certainly a technology worth considering especially for the most innovative of governments.
Some public sector agencies have been able to modernize earlier and adopted some of the technologies mentioned previously. However, having many different systems for each department or area that do not talk or communicate with each other will also result in inefficiencies. It is like juggling or switching from one platform to another. There will be duplication of data, time lost and processes slowed. Businesses have experienced the same problem and have opted to integrate their systems.
Systems integration allow your different systems to come together as if their are parts on a body working towards the same goal of supporting one another. This is what a complete system should be like instead of a collection of disconnected tools.
Hope this gave you a small idea of what tools public administration entities can use to further improve public services. To find out more how system integration works, download our free System Integration Knowledge Pack now!