The concept of digital transformation has historically been a tough one for government agencies to strategize and execute. According to research from Gartner, there are five main challenges to digital transformation for government:
- Organizational silos (51%)
- Risk-averse culture (42%)
- Lack of budget (38%)
- Lack of digital skills (37%)
- Lack of resources (28%)
One issue that touches on all of the above points is that some government bodies think they must go “all in” on digital, completely abandoning paper-based bill presentment, payment and transactional communications. Completely doing away with print is a scary prospect for any business, but a world exists in which organizations in both the public and private sectors can adopt more digital tools and processes while keeping print as an option for residents.
Benefits of digital transformation for government
EverView™ recently surveyed individuals who work in government about their views and approach to digital transformation. Our research found that the highest areas of focus in digital transformation for government are billing (65%) and payments (61%). When asked what digital transformation means to them and their organization, two-thirds (66%) responded positively. Respondents cited the benefits of digital transformation for government as offering better services, cutting costs of postage, eliminating human error, less overtime, more efficiency, a quicker process, ease of reporting, convenience, reliability, and assurance.
In looking at additional research on digital transformation for government, we can synthesize these responses into four main benefits:
- Strengthened resident experience: Research by Ernst & Young found that 43% of government respondents named the customer and resident experience as a top-three factor for successful digital transformation. Customers across all industries now demand a great experience from the organizations they engage with, including public sector agencies. This means giving them choice in how and when they want to pay.
- Improved employee experience: Just under a third of government employees surveyed by EY said changes are required to improve their workplace digital tools and technologies. Their report noted that employee experience in government is not exactly designed for fulfilling, rewarding or purpose-driven work. As we know from other research, happier employees equal more productive employees who also help generate more revenue.
- Save costs while gaining efficiency: The price of both paper and postage have soared recently. Not to mention, some statements and bills get lost in the mail. Digital transformation for government means cutting paper and postage costs, saving time spent on check depositing and improving collections percentages.
- Future-proofing your agency: The EY research found that by 2024, 43% of public sector task hours will be performed by machines, meaning adopting more digital skills and processes will be paramount. It will also allow government workers to focus on other tasks and projects that could drive organizations forward.
Incorporating traditional print into digital transformation for government
One approach that could positively influence all four of these benefits of digital transformation for government is pursuing hybrid bill pay, bill presentment and communications. Because government services touch everyone, from older generations who might reject technology to young, digitally-savvy citizens, offering a mix of print and online tools and services provide customers with options that suite them best. This means you improve both citizen and employee experience while cutting costs and inefficiencies and preparing your agency for the future.
To do this, you need a solution-based provider that can do both traditional print and digital, with the right systems and expertise in place to make the process seamless for both your teams and your citizens. Going back to some of the findings in EverView’s survey on digital transformation for government, below is what you’ll need to keep in mind when choosing a provider.
Access to various communication channels
Forty-five percent of respondents state they are currently promoting paperless billing, although only 3% are highly promoting paperless billing; the most common channels used are statement/invoice (69%) and website (54%).
To truly encourage digital adoption, government agencies must use a variety of channels and then make the sign-up process as simple as possible. You could consider a postcard with a QR code that residents can easily access to learn more about digital adoption. You could use SMS. You could leverage social media to get the word out about digital options. You could launch an online ad campaign. A provider with experience in all of these channels can help you execute a digital adoption campaign that covers all of your bases.
Multiple ways to present and pay
Print, web, mobile, text? The right provider will help you do it all. You’ll need a partner that can create accurate replicas of bills and statements for use in online statements. Ensure they can offer tight integration with your print facility and the ability to suppress paper bills to help tailor options to each individual. In terms of payment options, it’s necessary for your partner to offer residents options for paying via check, debit and credit card, ACH or mobile payment options like Apple Pay.
One system for billing and payment
Over half of the respondents to our survey said they’re interested in a vendor who provides billing and payment services. A single, SaaS system that is integrated and easy to set up is a no-brainer for government agencies looking to incorporate both capabilities. It also, as one respondent shared, creates efficiencies “via one pane of glass vs. swivel-chairing between multiple platforms.” Look for a provider that offers seamless integration of all bill presentment and payment options without requiring setup by additional tech resources. Self-serve administration, dynamic reporting and search capabilities are also critical features for government agencies.
Data protection and security
It goes without saying that as a government agency you’ll need a partner that follows industry-approved security and compliance standards to protect resident data.
Don’t let your agency get stuck in the dinosaur age. By considering a hybrid print-digital approach to bill presentment, payment and communications with a provider that expertly and securely offers these capabilities through one platform, you’ll be well on your journey to digital transformation for government.