Ready-to-Use Apps: The Digitalization Solution Municipalities Have Been Waiting For

Written by CivicPlus

What is low-code and how is it creating new digital resident interactions?

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Where is Your Government on the Journey to Digital Optimization?

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Many great ideas and solutions fail somewhere in the planning stages simply because the next steps require too many resources. This challenge certainly applies to government workers and municipalities all over the country who are currently feeling the effects of a year-long pandemic crisis that has eaten into budgets, staffing, time, and other valuable resources.

It’s never been particularly easy to find quick, easy, and effective digital solutions to meet communities’ unique and complex needs. You can see evidence of this in how some local government processes or methods of exchanging information have remained largely analog and unchanged for so long. Strides have been made, and technology has created opportunities to implement shortcuts and efficiencies, but these solutions can often be costly in terms of having the time, money, and expertise necessary to implement the programming needed to put it all into place.

For too long, local government has been forced to fit their needs into the often-rigid confines of existing systems, but the recent development of low-code software has allowed us to turn a corner. Discover more about how this solution works and the benefits it provides by reading on.

Ready-To-Use Apps and Forms

Ready-to-use applications and forms break down those walls that ideas and solutions have been trapped in for so long. Now local government can flex the solutions to meet their needs instead of being forced to work the other way around. Municipalities can now easily integrate specific process actions directly into their website and workflows using templated tools created by those with the necessary expertise. Think of it as being provided a set of versatile building blocks to mold and customize a processes intuitively without worrying about what the building blocks are made of, how they are made, and their limitations. The pressure is taken off employees to learn and create complex custom code that requires maintenance and often has its constraints. Instead, these adaptable ready-to-use apps and forms put you in the driver’s seat, allowing you to make the best choices for your organization and its citizens that rely on quick and effective communication processes.

Benefits

Government employees wear many hats and are often stretched beyond their capacity relative to what they have the time and budget to pursue outside their everyday tasks and expectations. You might know of several processes that, if reworked, could save valuable time and money for both workers and citizens. Citizens need to pay bills and submit applications for permits, licenses, and bids. They may want to check jail rosters, pay a ticket or fine, apply for a job, or request a vital record or police report. Until recent advances in digital technology, local government was subject to paper-based workflows. The only other options have been to rely on outside sources to fit square pegs into round holes.

Local government employees and officials are their community’s experts. As the ones who see the daily struggles, needs, and requests of citizens with lofty expectations, they, too, should be the ones tailoring the solutions they know would be most effective.

Ready-to-use apps and forms are a low-cost solution that local government department leaders, who intricately understand the manual processes and workflows they have in place today, can utilize to replace old, resource-consuming methods with polished automated digital solutions that are ready to be initiated quickly and without complex software or outside contractors.

Challenges

Change is hard, especially for established staff who have been following the same processes for years, if not decades. Change can be a scary prospect, especially if a process has been working well despite having some drawbacks or inefficiencies. Is the juice going to be worth the proverbial squeeze? How much time and money will it save? What will be the learning curve? Will there be bumps along the way?

The idea of going digital may also seem overwhelming for leaders who are not tech-savvy. Sometimes the most difficult part is just knowing where to start. There are many unknowns with any system change, and it’s understandable to be reticent when you can’t be sure how something will work out in the end.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

The idea of learning and training on a new process can be quite intimidating. But in the case of ready-to-use software opportunities, the possibilities, benefits, and positive progress of taking that first step into the unknown far outweigh the possibility of temporary discomfort. Technological advancements are happening at a rate that is only continuing to accelerate. The risk of being left behind or unprepared for using the tools at your disposal is a far greater risk than any of the minor struggles and growing pains that may come with process changes.

To best serve citizens in a world dominated by a digital landscape growing each year, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve. Anything you can do to lead to efficiencies for both your staff and citizens, whether it be cutting down on time spent reviewing paper forms, or the time a citizen spends in line or on a call with a department head, will drive citizen engagement and trust, and work to better your community.

Ultimately, the ready-made app and form model is an approach that has little downside and is almost guaranteed to yield a net-positive result. In what has been an incredibly challenging year that has seen budgets shrunk and available resources potentially at an all-time low, there’s never been a better time to consider solutions that will open all kinds of doors. Everything from whom you can hire based on necessary system qualifications to what you can do to create personalized solutions for citizens and significant savings in terms of time and money spent on creating experiences for staff and citizens is what you have the potential to impact. As with any change, a certain leap of faith is necessary. However, with ready-to-use apps, the switch is far less of a gamble and more of an investment in the future for staff and citizens and creating a community that works better for all involved.