Modern ERP Systems Solve Challenges

March 09, 2020 by Meredith Trimble

Modern ERP Systems Solve Challenges

In many jurisdictions, mission-critical government processes are still run on decades-old enterprise systems. This seems counterintuitive when the very residents served by outdated tech have increased expectations around ease of use, transparency, and efficiency. Cloud environments, sensors, AI, and virtual reality are driving change in business daily in the private sector. As the pace of digital evolution continues, public sector CIOs face enormous pressure to support excellent core services while facilitating modernization to keep pace with private innovation.

In Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, leaders found that attending to their back-office systems not only reshaped their service delivery for the better, but also solved common operational challenges.

Growth Requires New Technology

With a new 25-year growth plan in place, Cranberry Township’s existing technology simply could not support leaders’ ambitious goals or the township’s rapid population growth. Multiple antiquated systems inhibited information sharing, work was siloed, and reliable data necessary for smart decisions enterprise-wide was often inaccessible. In addition, most processes were still paper based, which stalled progress even more.

Implementing a single, integrated software solution provided several immediate benefits including centralized data and streamlined HR and permitting processes. With a single ERP system, the township reduced licensing, technical support, and maintenance costs, which saved tens of thousands of dollars annually. Moreover, data sharing between departments eliminated burdensome silos as well as repetitive, manual data entry. This, in turn, provided managers with an easier way to access and report on key performance indicators.

“It is pretty impressive to look at all of the services we are now able to offer and manage through one system,” said Adam Osterrieder, Cranberry’s director of information technology. “We have been successful at sharing data between departments and breaking down some barriers where needed.”

Enterprise Transformation

In general, governments consider new technology to:

  • Increase resident satisfaction
  • Enhance public engagement and access to data
  • Increase collaboration among internal and external stakeholders
  • Better manage taxpayer dollars through cost savings and efficiencies

Cranberry’s example is instructive in that the township’s leaders started with their strategic growth plan as the guide to building a foundational digital infrastructure. Governments in need of a more modern, integrated tech stack are also best served by reviewing current operations and asking the following:

  • Are your current systems supporting your needs?
  • Are departments working in silos?
  • Does your current vendor still support the technology you use?

As data across departments becomes accessible and shared, and workflows become automated, successful organizations leverage resulting opportunity by naming, then tackling, their biggest pain points first with the new efficiencies and actionable insight.

Long lines at city hall, for example, can be solved through online payment. Staff drowning in paper resumes can be relieved through an electronic applicant system. Online alternatives to printed checks, invoices, and postage costs can put dollars back into budgets. Small, manageable projects like these with defined metrics provide early wins and facilitate buy-in.

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