The COVID-19 pandemic has opened the doors for some important conversations. Chief among them: What will technology in local government look like this year?

Today, we’re exploring the lessons learned and the plans made as we forge ahead together.

5 Predictions for Technology in Local Government in 2021

1. Legacy Systems Give Way to Modern IT

Sometimes, it takes a major event to move an organization forward. This is true even when that event is catastrophic in nature. 

In the case of 2020, state agencies that still relied on legacy systems were immediately impacted. Despite advancements in technology, many departments, such as those that distribute unemployment insurance, still used outdated systems to process claims and handle day-to-day activities.

Eventually, these agencies found they had no choice but to use modern ERP software in the cloud. It’s a shift that many agencies are still grappling with, but it brought to light an important concept: Sticking with legacy solutions might be comfortable, but it could render you ineffective if those solutions are no longer able to meet citizens’ needs. 

Instead of rehosting or rewriting applications, local government entities should invest in modern IT platforms capable of ushering in this new era of digitization. For many states, cities, and municipalities, modernization efforts are already taking priority, instead of sitting on the back burner.

If you’re ready to follow suit, be sure to download our newly-released report:

The 2021 Top Government ERP Systems Report

Our experts have compiled a list of the top government ERP vendors, including details on the most effective public sector solutions these vendors provide.

2. Digital Systems are Strategically Repurposed

While some state entities are sorely lacking in modern ERP systems, others are underutilizing theirs. However, in 2021, it’s expected that these departments will start maximizing their investments in digital infrastructure, looking for new and innovative ways to extend their existing applications. 

For instance, Microsoft Project could be used to not only run more effective project management meetings but also to facilitate file sharing. These small tweaks can add up over time, especially if everyone is on board. 

3. Trusted IT Partnerships Will Become Even More Valuable

As more state governments look to modernize, executives might be tempted to find all new vendors to wipe the slate clean. While the logic is understandable, consider the challenges.

For one, finding a new IT partner can be a time-consuming and resource-draining effort.

In addition, you’re missing out on the benefits that long-term partnerships can bring, especially during unpredictable times. An already-trusted partner has knowledge of your:

  • Business needs
  • Security requirements
  • Players and stakeholders

As you plan your modernization efforts, it’s wise to stick with vendors and partners that you know will deliver the returns you expect. If you don’t already have such a partner, consider hiring an independent ERP consultant, like Panorama, to become that trusted partner.

4. Moves to the Cloud Will be Accelerated

When COVID-19 hit, local governments that already operated in the cloud experienced the least interruptions. However, most of these governments only operated project-based activities in the cloud.

Now, governments are considering how employees could use cloud-based software to perform day-to-day tasks, reducing their overall reliance on in-house servers.

This shift will become increasingly critical as more companies move their workforces to a fully remote model. While working remotely has its perks, it can stress a department’s internal infrastructure.

For instance, the service level agreements you once signed off on with cloud vendors may now need additional bandwidth. In addition, you may be left without enough remote-access applications for the software licensing you need. 

We expect that local governments will become laser-focused on moving their operations to the cloud, where such issues are much less likely to occur.

5. More Workflows Will Become Digitized

It’s easy to talk ad nauseam about the toll that 2020 took on government services or the steps they should take to support a digital workforce.

Yet, most of the conversation thus far has centered around the technical aspects of digitization. What about the workflows related to those new systems?

Last year brought to light many of the inefficiencies that existed in current workflows. If you’re in this boat, it’s important to document and improve your processes before implementing ERP software or moving any data to the cloud.

After improving your processes, you can see where automation would be most valuable and make the most sense. Some of the most common places to start include:

 

  • Time and material (T&M) tickets and work orders
  • Invoice routing
  • Daily job reporting
  • Procurement

Keeping up with Government IT Trends

When the world came to a halt, we all looked to our local governments to understand where to turn next.

Governments that had the digital infrastructure in place to support a virtual workforce, automate workflows, and repurpose existing technology, responded quite quickly.

Then, there were those with disparate legacy ERP systems, who tried to digitize but without a clear vision.

It’s time to rethink technology in local government. If you’re ready to embrace innovation, contact our ERP consultants below for a free consultation.

Also, don’t forget to download our 2021 Top 10 Government ERP Systems Report.

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