Many local governments face challenges in ensuring they are as efficient as possible with their limited resources. At the same time, there needs to be a focus on providing constituents with exceptional service. Technology infrastructure, including dual-purpose cash and check scanners, software and wireless networks, plays a central role in balancing investments that benefit municipal government staff and the constituency.
Leveraging technology for the sake of constituents
A recent Op-Ed piece for The Washington Post emphasized the role local governments can play in providing additional services to residents who are both direct and indirect beneficiaries of technological upgrades. Specifically, the article discussed the leadership position Washington D.C., can assume in creating a framework for municipalities to follow in using technology to make local institutions more efficient.
For instance, Boston is cited as a prime example of a local government that has made technology a centerpiece of its overall agenda of making the city run more smoothly. Through organizations like the Office of New Urban Mechanics, which is supported by local universities, governments can help facilitate partnerships among commercial entities, as well as nonprofit organizations. This project uses technology and data to help local government officials become more responsive to their constituencies' needs.
Solutions can range from wireless network improvements, such as city-wide broadband Internet access, to equipment upgrades that reduce overhead costs. For instance, many municipalities struggle with creating a streamlined workflow to manage payments for permits, fines, bills and licenses. Because local governments may serve a residential and commercial population that can reach into the hundreds of thousands of individuals and businesses, dual-purpose cash and check scanners provide a precise solution to maximize employees' time and reduce the overall equipment footprint within departments.
"Local government workers responsible for preparing deposits can scan 400 checks per minute."
Accomplish much more with less
For instance, the Cummins Allison JetScan iFX combines high-speed currency counting capabilities with check-scanning functions that eliminate the need for multiple devices. At the same time, local government workers responsible for preparing deposits can scan 400 checks per minute, which is 222 percent faster than other products on the market. The net result of these two benefits is significant cost savings. How? Because staff doesn't have to manually process checks and cash payments from tens of thousands of residents, they can dedicate more of their time furthering public policies that benefit constituents. Furthermore, there's less financial strain on the municipality through purchasing and servicing multiple types of machinery. Less overhead expense goes toward technology, and it can then be reallocated toward programs and projects that benefit the community.
Local governments can take advantage of technology, including devices that automate processes and data management tools, to eliminate wasteful practices and measure departmental productivity and services to see how they can better serve residents.
The priority for most municipalities is achieving a more efficient workflow. With smarter use of technology, a variety of departments can empower employees to make better decisions and replace ineffective strategies with more rapid and agile systems.
November 13, 2014