Tech During COVID-19 and Beyond
May 06, 2021 by
Revenue loss and the rapid transition to remote operations have been among top governmental challenges during the COVID-19 crisis. In response to these ongoing issues, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 includes $350 billion to offset decreased revenue for state, local, territorial, and tribal governments.
These federal dollars may free up funding to support governments’ investments in technology to aid in the response to the public health emergency. As noted in A Path for Equitable Service, these funds may also open a window for governments to invest in technology that can help close equity and access gaps.
Former Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser recently joined the Tyler Tech Podcast to discuss five ways to not waste stimulus funds. One way, he noted, was to “make those overdue investments in technology” to save costs down the road while simultaneously better serving constituents.
Governments that have invested in technology during the pandemic have used it to:
- Enable remote work
- Keep operations running
- Engage community members
- Build operational efficiencies
Based on their experiences during COVID-19, governments are increasingly recognizing the importance of taking these remote capabilities and digital workflows into the post-pandemic landscape. According to eRepublic, local governments are including citizen engagement, process automation, and infrastructure modernization among their top 2021 priorities.
Following are some ideas to consider when moving these tech uses into a post-pandemic (but not crisis-free) future.
Remote Work and Government Operations
The convenience of remote task completion has sped up community adoption of remote options, and data and insights solutions have helped local governments monitor and analyze performance to meet current and future challenges. Future government technology strategies should consider:
- Employee self-service, including virtual timesheets and digital documents
- Remote public meeting capabilities, including scheduling, agendas, and minutes
- Online fee payments as well as online permitting and licensing applications to help constituents complete vital tasks remotely
- Online portals for vendors to access invoicing and payment information
- A data and insights solution for easy access to key performance indicators and simplified reporting
Technology made it possible for a community to engage with its government despite curtailment of in-person engagement. Moving forward, consider connecting community members to government services and information with:
- Online incident reporting for non-emergency inquiries and complaints
- Online resident access portals through which residents can pay utility bills or conduct other business with government at their convenience
- Notification systems through which important information can be shared with the community via social channels, mobile apps, email, and phone
Whether it’s enabling a hybrid work model, eliminating paper workflows, or creating remote community and employee digital access, technology has kept communities connected and will enable governments to meet future needs.