The reality for many government agencies is that modernizing information systems is becoming the law of the land, and agencies can no longer afford to operate in the same old ways. The volume of information, processes, and governance required to manage and make informed business decisions is ever-growing, and there is a seemingly constantly changing set of information technology solutions to solve these challenges, now than ever before.
While IT modernization is necessary, there are hesitations. Many agency leaders view the process of replacing legacy systems as risky, time-consuming, and costly. However, with more information, in more places, and in more types and quantities than ever before, these hesitations need to be overcome.
It is clear Gartner was correct when it said traditional enterprise content management (ECM) solutions is dead. The scale and nature of information has changed, and tools and methods like document management (DM) and its successor ECM no longer suffice. For decades, these systems did a good job at managing documents and transactions, but now, not all processes run through an agency are document-centric. The entirety of an agency needs to be able to work with information in today’s fast-paced digital world.
Governments that lag on new technology cost taxpayers. It seems apparent that, like large companies, government needs to start adopting new technologies, or it may become increasingly difficult to move forward.
A content services platform (CSP) can deliver real benefits to agencies and organizations that ECM is unable to deliver. Here are some elements of a CSP that make it a more efficient and effective fit as government continues to modernize.
An improved experience for users and citizens alike. The reality is that agencies using legacy systems and ECM systems are particularly siloed, meaning that the data collected within each agency is extremely tough to access from other agencies. Today’s tasks are no longer based around a single document and require more than one resource. This causes issues not only for employees but also for the citizens they are providing services to, due to the amount of time it takes to receive the documents necessary to fulfill requests.
To combat these issues, agencies should look to invest in a CSP that acts as an information hub or as a point of integration to connect disjointed systems and share data easily. This allows systems and employees to access files and share information without searching across multiple applications, whether these be on-premise or cloud-based. By leveraging information-rich touchpoints and by utilizing information to make decisions faster, agencies can drive a superior citizen experience while also making the lives of agency employees easier.
With so many regulations come paperwork. Without an effective way to manage it all, people and money get lost in government systems.
Modern technologies help boost operational efficiencies. With ECM, users were unable to get full value from their content, as the interfaces were often unintuitive and disconnected. A CSP breaks the ties by creating ad hoc-based processes, such as a customer or citizen support desk. CSPs are low-code/no-code development platforms and often have an open-source architecture, which means that a wide range of people can contribute to the delivery of business applications. Low-code development platforms focus on driving innovation more rapidly because users can create applications at a faster speed and at a reduced cost.
The ability of agencies to quickly build customized applications to solve specific problems in a user-intuitive way means employees can get the job done more efficiently. Those deployed in a cloud environment can also quickly scale up and down. Cloud-based CSPs that enable an organization to leverage both existing legacy on-premise investments and cloud applications can help drive innovation in government. In the cloud, a platform can scale the parts of the platform that an agency needs at any given time, without other pieces of the puzzle being impacted—so users can carry on with their everyday tasks without seeing any performance hit.
More valuable content means agencies can deliver on the mission, faster. Agencies today are getting hit with so much information that their legacy systems aren’t sure what to do with it and, in many cases, can’t keep up with storing it—let alone tagging it. This not only causes disarray in the management of content, but also when it comes to searching for information. With this exponential growth of data, content can be managed much easier and subsequently become more valuable when using machine learning.
In today’s workforce, CSPs that are architected to be AI-enabled provide classification, recognition, and prediction capabilities. For example, machine learning can detect individual objects and concepts in image files and automatically add keyword labels to images to easily build metadata on image catalogs.
It can also take audio files to create an index a text transcript that can be searched and manipulated in a variety of ways, or transcribe and detect people in videos to help users find the information they need. By automating lower-value activities like content tagging, government employees can direct their focus to mission-critical tasks that require a deeper level of thinking—and improve overall productivity.
Security is a large concern that hinders the advancement of digitizing governments.
The return on investment and reduced cost of ownership modernization brings. The current administration’s push for IT modernization and the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act are forcing agency leaders to rethink their approach to technology. For a government steeped in the tradition of tight budgets, this process is viewed as a challenge when it comes to finding the time and resources and avoiding risk. However, modernization doesn’t have to be as dramatic a change as it seems.
By connecting disparate information systems, the actual value of what lies in those legacy systems can be found. This can deliver significant cost-savings by reducing search time, increasing access to data, and enabling information sharing via the cloud and mobile devices. This, in turn, results in higher productivity and rapid return on investment (ROI).
Also, with a modern CSP, agencies no longer have to hold onto legacy systems that are expensive to maintain. Rather than using a “rip-and-replace” strategy, migration can be an ongoing process so these older systems that are no longer necessary can be retired—which ultimately delivers a reduced cost of ownership.
Step into the future of information management. Overall, the benefits that a modern CSP can bring to an agency are more significant than they may appear at first glance. While modernization has pushed many agencies to update their IT infrastructure, many aren’t ready to take the full leap yet. However, CSPs can facilitate IT modernization by preparing agency leaders to move towards new systems at their own pace, and in turn, to better serve their employees and constituents.
David Jones is director of product marketing at Nuxeo.