At the recent Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) national general assembly, Paul Fletcher, Minister for Urban Infrastructure, gave a speech supporting the need for innovation to drive Australia’s future success.
The bulk of his remarks highlighted recent requirements to make a move from paper-based government services to online and digitally-based government services. As he pointed out, the numbers supporting this move are impressive.
Fletcher talked about the stunning difference in digital versus traditional service delivery costs, citing a recent Deloitte report on Digital Government Transformation. The report found that online transactions are 16 times cheaper than phone transactions, 30 times cheaper than postal transactions and 42 times cheaper than face-to-face transactions.
An estimated 811 million transactions at the federal and local government level happen in one of those three categories. This means that the potential savings from a digital transformation are huge. If, as Fletcher points out, half of these transactions could be moved online, it could generate savings of $17.5 billion over 10 years.
This is a critical point for government budgets, but Fletcher quickly turned to another – rising citizen expectations. Citizen expectations about the speed of services are being driven by the online experiences they have with the private sector. Pointing to most banking transactions happening online and a rapidly growing online shopping segment, these private sector trends exacerbate existing, often negative, beliefs about the quality and speed of government services.
So, how can local government realise these savings, improve service delivery wait times and move online? Or, to put it another way, with both costs and expectations as incentives, how can Australia achieve a digital transformation?
iTWire asked Bob Dunn (pictured), country manager – Australia, Hyland, creator of OnBase ECM for a brief overview of the way to embrace ECM in government.
The answer is enterprise content management (ECM). Here are four ways ECM can help:
It eliminates paper
ECM eliminates the paper that makes it impossible to offer a faster, online transaction or service delivery vehicle. Electronic submissions mean no postage costs, but also no lost documents and secure personal information. And, with tools to easily replace a paper form with a Web-based electronic form, it can make this transformation easy for staff and citizen users.
It automates processes
Enterprise content management does more than get rid of paper; it reduces the time to deliver services by electronically routing work and documents, timing and notifying staff of work and deadlines, and even escalating notices so that no transaction is missed. Automation eliminates delays in delivery and can also enforce program requirements like the submission of supporting documents adding better compliance to the reduced processing times.
It meets online service delivery expectations
With ECM, the cost savings estimates cited by Fletcher can be realised through moving online with the back-end tools that help staff cope with the workload, prioritise tasks and meet the expectations of a Web-based world. Providing Web-based services is essential, but it is the tools behind the website that determine whether staff can meet the heightened expectations that a Web front-end encourages.
It connects to existing data systems
Few government tasks can be performed without consulting documents and data. Moving between one or several data systems while consulting paper documents is a huge time loss for government staff. ECM offers tools to move between data and electronic documents so that staff complete tasks faster.
Enterprise content management is the single most powerful tool for ensuring Australia’s digital transformation. With automation, online tools and integration to other solutions, ECM is a single platform that can stand behind an agency’s website and manage work processes while eliminating the delays and costs caused by the current transaction types.
Australia faces several challenges as it considers the most effective way to deliver services to its citizens. A strong focus on digital transformation is the right course of action to address costs, delivery times and the rising citizen expectations. The next step is to explore what tools can support this shift. ECM is the platform that can lead and define Australia’s innovation efforts.