Digital Government: Big Benefits from Self-Service

Joe McKairnes,

The big push today is for Governments at all levels to "go digital".

What does going digital even mean? And how do you benefit from it?

Digital Government is about a new way of engaging and servicing clientele – citizens, vendors and public authorities. It’s about using data to make BETTER and FASTER decisions. It’s technology that enables you to develop more interactive and rapid ways of getting things done.

To be truly successful, digital initiatives must operate across the agency – and they must be cross-functional.

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Benefits of going digital

State and Local Government agencies can benefit from going fully digital - and at all levels.

Here’s how agencies are seeing returns from the digital movement today:

  • Gain efficiencies and do more with less
  • Ensure compliance and transparency
  • Deliver modern, convenient citizen services
  • Mitigate risk
  • Accelerate project timelines for faster time-to-serve
  • Modernize the government workplace – a boon for HR

Let’s examine some of the challenges that a single department, such as HR, may have within an agency.  The use cases range from employee onboarding through compliance. Doing this without a digital process means:

  • Dealing with paper-based workflows
  • Mininal or no insight into the business process
  • No access to reporting data
  • No proof of compliance
  • Heavy investment in people and time

  Digitize these processes and suddenly you can:

  • Bulk send HR compliance forms to all employees (eg: Code of Ethics)
  • Send offer letters in digital format – which include electronic signatures
  • Gather data for reporting
  • Track compliance
  • Shift resources to focus on Business rather than Process
  • Gain full insight into the complete workflow


Governments working to digitize processes have three distinct touchpoints:

  1. Government to Employee
  2. Government to Citizen
  3. Government to Business


1. Government to Employee: Individuals Self-serve

Digital processes enable myriad benefits and are often easier to implement than you may think. You probably already have the forms needed to execute your business – and you have a website or portal that you can leverage. Look for solutions that connect the dots of your current resources.

For internal applications, HR is a great place to start. You can implement digital workflow solutions rather quickly, with low risk and high impact (read success). Common initial use cases include employee self-service forms such as time off requests, and onboarding processes, and compliance requirements like reviewing and signing a Code of Ethics document.

For self-service applications, easy-to-implement solutions can take a blank form, present it to an employee, collect the form-fill data, and allow the person to sign the document to complete the transaction.

For highest efficiency, in as many cases as possible, create self-serve processes that can be initiated by the individual.  

2. Government to Citizen: State and Locals ePermit

State and Local Governments are seeing tremendous returns on citizen self-service processes such as ePermitting. Citizen-initiated requests for home building applications, camping permits, state college course registration and more, are alleviating personnel and paper-intensive burdens on government offices.

Virtually all permits require sign-off by an authorized individual. Adding e-signatures to these now self-serve workflows enables full end-to-end digitization – without falling to paper for that final signature.

Automate solutions that keep traditionally paper-based events in a digital world.  

3. Government to Business: eContract

Vendors and suppliers that keep all levels of government humming are increasingly turning to eContract. By leveraging digital processes, you gain control over the workflow and know the status of the contract at all times. You also have record of the complete digital trail of everywhere the document has been, who has reviewed, touched and signed it.

The need for electronic signatures in the eContracting processes is critical to maintaining a fully digitized process from end-to-end. Many suppliers are astonished that with simple digitization and automation, they have shortened contracting schedules from double-digit days to single-digit hours!  

By building a trusted digital process, tremendous gains in time, effort and money are being realized at all government touchpoints – with the added bonus of empowering individuals to initiate transactions on their terms.

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