The Gallery: Five Ways to Automate Paper-Based Government Workflows

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State and local governments, like private sector businesses, are under constant pressure to do more with less. As officials are increasingly looking to stretch tax dollars further and accomplish more, agencies are turning to technology to make work more efficient and transparent.

Legacy, paper-based filing systems cost the federal government more than $116 billion per year according to the Office of Management and Budget.

In addition to the amount of money spent on paper-based filing systems, time is going to waste. According to “The State of Workflow Automation in 2018,” 55 percent of managers are spending 8 hours—one full work day—or more per week on administrative tasks, rather than the strategic, high-value initiatives that citizens want.

Digital forms are more accurate and faster to deploy because they don’t require timely, error-prone transcription. Furthermore, digital forms are searchable, making your agency more transparent and responsive to citizen requests.

Included below are five areas in which a transition from paper to digital forms creates an improved citizen experience:

#1: Public Assistance

Local and state government organizations are responsible for running public assistance programs that offer aid (such as financial assistance or health benefits) to people in need. Online forms expedite the application and review process, while protecting user identities.

Online applications give residents a quick and easy way to request assistance. Additionally, these applications are protected by data encryption, which prevents unauthorized users from accessing public assistance program data.

#2: Hiring

Keeping government positions filled is essential to the success of important programs and community efforts. While the hiring process can be cumbersome for agencies with limited resources, the right tools can ease the pain.

Through effective workflow automation, digital applications can automatically be routed to hiring managers, human resources, finance departments and more, creating a workflow that skips interoffice envelopes and inboxes.

#3: Citizen Engagement

Meet your citizens where they are: on their smartphones! Online forms can be used to ask questions (such as where to build new parks), gather feedback on new ordinances and log issues such as abandoned homes and vehicles.

Furthermore, digital forms can be integrated into email marketing tools, Google Sheets and project management solutions such as Trello to create workflows that empower your employees to take on new initiatives, not focus on completing paperwork.

#4: Permit Management

From building and zoning permits to transportation and large gathering permits, government organizations are flooded with permit applications that must be reviewed. In order to streamline the permit process, consider features such as forms that can be embedded on your agency’s website, electronic signatures to authorize permit applications and automated submission notifications that alert you of new permit application submissions in real time for prompt follow-up.

#5: Grant Processing

The government funds recovery initiatives, innovative research, and other projects that provide a public service or stimulate the economy. Consider using digital forms to deploy applications and enforce formatting with conditional rules for faster markup and review. In doing so, government employees can eliminate the need to read poor handwriting and avoid the hassle of transcribing by hand. Digital forms can also help employees by sending notification emails that alert you whenever someone submits a new grant request. By utilizing these features, government employees can rely on an efficient process that helps speed up work and give time back to citizens.

With the availability of online workflow management solutions, there’s simply no reason to continue spending valuable hours on repetitive tasks. As we head further into 2018, it’s time to focus on aligning goals with workflow automation tools that empower city officials to create efficiency and save time and money.

Chris Byers, CEO Formstack

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