Six Reasons You Need a Platform for Your Government Content Management

Written by Ben Sebree

Budgets and staff levels are shrinking while citizen expectations are growing. You need to do more with less.

Technology unites us. It brings people together, encourages sharing, expands knowledge, and allows us to work better, smarter, and faster. It is not just in our personal lives that technology is having this unifying effect. Technology enables businesses to run more efficiently than ever before. It allows team members on opposite sides of a city to collaborate seamlessly, and it allows us to process complex transactions and post omnichannel communications in a single step.

For local governments, in an era where budgets and staff levels are shrinking while citizen expectations and their desire for digital self-service functionality are growing, technology allows municipalities to do more with less—but with a caveat. Too much technology and too many individual systems can ultimately have a detrimental effect on operations. A long list of non-interconnected systems that silo their data and do not share information with one another can hinder productivity and overcomplicate processes and procedures.

Today’s smartest municipalities are integrating their software stacks using a foundational enterprise-wide platform to enable the data-sharing needed to ensure local governments are serving citizens efficiently and at the highest levels possible, even when budgets and staff resources are lean. Here are six reasons why you need a platform as the foundation of your government content management strategy.

1. Siloed Systems Bridle Efficiency and Collaboration. A Platform Streamlines Workflows.

Software applications should automate processes and workflows and allow for the sharing of data across teams, departments, and geographic regions. When essential systems, such as your community event calendar and your parks and recreation management software, do not share data, you risk team miscommunications that could negatively impact citizens.

 2. Too Many Disparate Systems Result in Too Many Manual Processes. A Platform Enables Efficiencies.

When your critical software applications do not share data with one another, it can cause teams to build more manual processes than they had before the systems were implemented to circumvent system inefficiencies and integration limitations. Imagine if your website’s permit application form could automatically send payment information to your accounting software. Without such integrations, your staff has to create routine workflows to generate system reports, audit them, send them to your accounting department, where the data is manipulated for input into your accounting system. A platform that enables data sharing allows your teams to eliminate hours of manual data management and processes created just to accommodate system integration limitations.

3. Siloed Systems Lead to Service Inefficiencies. A Platform Enables High-Level Service.

In a municipality with dozens of departments and hundreds, or thousands, of staff members, if each team utilizes separate software systems to accomplish their jobs, the collective entity suffers. Siloed systems create enterprise-wide blind spots and small numbers of super-users serving as single points of failure. Imagine if a citizen contacts your public works department to check on the status of a pothole repair request submitted via your civic website, but your employee can only refer to a separate project management system that does not integrate with the citizen request system and does not provide details of the citizens’ request. The citizen will end up frustrated by the inefficiency, and it will take more work for the staff member to track down the original request and take action. To enable the best possible citizen experiences, every department and every staff member who may interface with a citizen needs access to the same data, shared across multiple software applications.

4. Multiple Systems Mean Multiple Credentials. An Integrated Platform Simplifies User Access.

Multiple systems that do not share data mean repeated data entry, wasted time, and the possibility of error. When your human resources department hires a new parks and recreation director, her information will already exist in your human resource management software. Why then, should your parks and rec staff need to add her credentials to your parks and rec management software and why should your IT team have to add her credentials to your website’s CMS so she can update your website’s parks and rec content? How many usernames and passwords should your staff members be expected to maintain?

5. Multiple Systems Weaken Security Measures. A Powerful Platform Safeguards Civic and Citizen Data.

With a single platform protected by the latest cloud-based security measures, your civic and citizen data can be better safeguarded from the threat of hackers. When data is duplicated across multiple software systems with varying levels of data protections, your municipality risks exposure and the possibility of a cyberattack.

6. Multiple Systems are Costly to Maintain. A Single Platform Results in a Lower Long-Term Financial Investment.

Purchasing and maintaining separate software systems for every function your municipality performs results in a much more substantial burden to your budget, and your taxpayer’s dollars. With one platform that can serve as the foundation for a wide variety of administrative workflows, your maintenance and management costs can be minimized.