Michael C. Pelletier, MBA, MSCS
Chief Innovation Officer and Partner
In business it is imperative to know your customer, differentiate in the marketplace, innovate to drive down costs and bring new and exciting products to market. Cities and towns across America can take a similar approach by using technology as a disruptor. Regardless of whether you’re trying to put in place technological capability that will make your city more attractive to businesses or residents or you’re simply trying to reduce costs, the following are some ideas to consider.
Collaboration and teamwork can have a significant positive impact on the productivity of staff and the quality of the outcomes. However, communication and sharing can be challenging.
- How are you approaching the challenges and rewards of collaboration?
- Can your employees be just as productive when away from the office, travelling or working remotely in the field, as they are at a desk?
- Do you currently use any social tools to help your staff collaborate and what tools do employees use to work together?
- How do your employees work with people outside the organization, like partners, suppliers and other agencies?
- Do your employees feel like they have the right tools for driving efficiency and strong resident satisfaction?
Government office-based workers often rely on physical meeting spaces for collaboration, but this excludes those working remotely and travelling. Adding a conference call facility to include remote staff can only go so far. Collaboration across teams, departments and further to agencies and citizens requires a platform and tools that are inclusive and multi-functional. Municipalities may not yet have embraced the cloud to provide the connecting technology for collaboration and communication across agencies and citizens. By leveraging a comprehensive suite of cloud-based collaboration tools, municipalities can streamline services across multiple channels and deliver world-class experiences by configuring and automating processes, event triggers and work flows, while maintaining an audit trail for improved oversight.
Meeting resident demands for more and better services is a top priority. Many governments are under pressure to provide better and faster services to more residents and at a lower cost. Organizations want to innovate and respond to resident needs for greater satisfaction and to promote innovation for greater competitiveness.
- Do you feel your organization is agile enough to support changing resident demands?
- Are you able to provide services in a way that is familiar to residents (how they use technology in their personal lives) and on the device of their choice?
There are a number of technologies that municipalities should be looking at to help adapt and thrive in the age of digital disruption. First, look at commodity services like email and document management. With capabilities provided by companies like Microsoft, with their Office 365 platform, it is easy for a municipality to significantly improve the security, scalability and availability of their on-premises environment by shifting to this software as a service. Next, look at opportunities to leverage more recent advancements in machine learning and robotic process automation. There are great use cases for machine learning in predicting educational needs or other programs that are dependent on funding that need to be known ahead of time.
While it can seem overwhelming we recommend that you start small. Look inside your organization and ask this simple question – “If I could automate anything in our operation, what would it be?” You’ll likely come up with a list of several items. Pick something off the list that seems straightforward and work on automating it. Whether this is accomplished with a customization to an existing system, the use of an electronic workflow tool, robotic process automation (RPA) or something else entirely, you’ll soon find that the time savings mounts up and you’re on your way to being a disruptor!
Michael C. Pelletier, MBA, MSCS, is a partner and chief innovation officer at BlumShapiro, the largest regional business advisory firm based in New England, with offices in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The firm, with a team of over 500, offers a diversity of services, which include auditing, accounting, tax and business advisory services. Blum serves a wide range of privately held companies, government and non-profit organizations and provides non-audit services for publicly traded companies. To learn more visit us at blumshapiro.com.