Municipal agencies face a host of challenges, from limited resources and aging infrastructures to natural disasters and cyber attacks. LGIS – local government information services play a key role in meeting those challenges. In fact, by leveraging information technology in innovative ways, governments can improve services, drive productivity, and increase citizen engagement.
Government Agencies Face Unique Information Challenges
Because of the services they provide and the position they fill in society, municipalities face a particular set of challenges. In the first place, they deal with diverse and complex data sets, from public documents to health records and environmental data. Keeping sensitive data secure while ensuring that the right stakeholders can access it requires a delicate balancing act.
Governmental agencies must also comply with FOIA requests. And responding to such requests in a timely manner proves difficult without solid information governance. When information lives in multiple isolated repositories, it can be difficult to locate and access relevant data. These siloes also lead to data duplication and inaccuracy.
While municipalities deal with huge stores of sensitive information and strict regulations, they often lack the necessary resources and expertise needed to manage them. Without the necessary skills, tools, and training to properly manage data, information can become more liability than asset.
On the other hand, some municipalities around the world have leveraged information technology to improve services, efficiency, and citizen engagement.
For example, one Arizona agency recognized that citizens hope for the same level of customer service from their government as from their banks. To provide the digital communications their constituents requested, the agency launched an accelerated digital transformation effort. While streamlining customer services, they were also able to use limited resources more efficiently.
Additionally, the city of Henderson, Nevada embarked on a mission to make appropriate data available more widely. The city trained staff to use data to make their own jobs easier and allowed public stakeholders to work with it. This has resulted in 17 custom-built, public-facing applications that received 4,600 views in one month alone.
Other municipalities have successfully employed AI to automate processes, enhance services and generate insights. The city of Boston, for instance, uses AI to analyze 311 (non-emergency) requests and prioritize them based on urgency and impact.
Advantages of Updating LGIS – Local Government Information Services
Updating information services requires an investment, but it delivers substantial returns on that investment. Some of these benefits include:
- Improving efficiency and productivity by automating workflows, reducing errors, and streamlining processes.
- Enhancing external communication and collaboration by facilitating information sharing and feedback among various stakeholders.
- Increasing transparency and accountability by providing access to public information, as well as ensuring appropriate monitoring and reporting.
- Simplifying the process of managing public records requests by streamlining the processing, reviewing, redacting and tracking of key facts.
- Supporting planning and decision making by providing data-driven insights and forecasts that inform policies and strategies.
- Fostering innovation by enabling new capabilities, services or business models that can address current or emerging challenges and opportunities.
- Protect valuable data assets from unauthorized access, particularly as cyber attacks targeting government agencies continue to increase at an alarming rate.
Lay the Foundation with Information Governance
Implementing a solid information governance strategy will streamline processes and protect data now while setting the stage for the future. But the optimal strategy will differ from one organization to another.
To determine the best approach, agencies should start by conducting a needs assessment. This will highlight current pain points, challenges, opportunities, and priorities. It should include a security and compliance risk analysis to identify gaps or limitations in the existing information infrastructure.
The agency will then use the results of the needs assessment to define a roadmap for information governance. The municipal information governance consultants at Messaging Architects can provide critical expertise and guidance in this process.