Digitize Your Services: Stage 3 – Integrate
This post is part 3 of 5 in a series about digitizing government services.
The drive for government digital transformation is here to stay. According to Gartner, today 2.5% of government transactions are processed digitally. By 2020, the rate will jump to 33%.
Putting information and services online help residents access what they need from their local government. It’s a step forward to allow people to fill out a form online. But what happens when a person clicks “submit”? You’d be surprised how often an online form still necessitates a staff member manually entering that same information into a database.
Integration Supports Efficiency
Digitizing government services pushes government agencies to think about how they receive and manage their data. By integrating digital forms directly to the underlying systems of record, like address databases and payment software, agencies maintain accurate records while saving hours of staff time. Integration means data is entered in the appropriate databases immediately when a person submits a form. It also means that their information is validated even before they submit, as they begin typing in a form.
For services that end in a web payment, integration can mean connecting payment functionality with the service that precedes it. This enables you to present a consistent user interface for the form and payment on the same government domain. Integrating payment software to your government website has several benefits:
- People can trust they are making a secure payment to their local government, for an account that has already been validated
- Records are updated once payments are received, and people can view any pending balance in real-time
- People can opt-in for helpful tools like stored payment methods for recurring payments
Better Data Leads to Better Service
There’s an overwhelming need to get smarter about using all this data to deliver valuable insights, reduce costs, and improve citizen engagements. Organizations are faced with a mixture of data collection methods — some digital and others paper-based — which makes it difficult to look at the data holistically and derive insights.
When multiple agencies support a common group of services — like those surrounding business or property ownership — this can cause even more confusion for residents. Since different databases may support these agencies, each agency may only have a partial picture of a household or business it serves. But the people requesting these services shouldn’t have to input the same information over and over again.
By integrating online services to the relevant agency databases, local government can get a better picture of the needs of a given household. Records stay up to date more easily, government staff can respond to resident requests faster, and people aren’t left wondering about the status of an application or request.
Also published on Medium.