It will come as a surprise to absolutely no one that citizen demand for digital government services skyrocketed once the pandemic struck. After all, where could people turn but online to file for unemployment, get public health information, apply for PPP loans, register to vote, renew their license, etc.?

At the same time, our state and local governments are on the front lines, managing multiple crises and striving to support communities during a public health crisis. The good news is that government is making progress in the effort to move to a ‘government on demand’ model, where accessible, easily navigated online services are the norm. But in a time of chaos, with unprecedented surges in demand, agencies have found themselves – like businesses across every industry – challenged. And it shows in citizen attitudes.

According to our new research with the Center for Digital Government, citizen satisfaction has dropped by 13 percent even as their need for government support and help rose substantially. Frustrated by slow response times, overly complex processes, excessive forms, lack of personalization, and general customer service issues, citizens are coming up hard against a classic ‘big organization’ problem: old-school technologies just can’t deliver on modern expectations.

Technologists in all levels and branches of government know digital transformation is the way forward and they’re making heroic efforts to get there, with a focus on streamlining processes, working more efficiently, and improving citizen service delivery. It’s a heavy lift. Doing this requires a shift from paper-based, manual processes and legacy technologies.

But there’s good news. The potential to improve digital citizen services without costly investments is real and it’s doable. What’s more: something of a popular mandate exists: Almost 60 percent of citizens approve of government experimenting with digital technologies.

With secure cloud solutions, it becomes easier to serve citizens via mobile, laptop, desktop and kiosk, anytime, anywhere. With digitization and automation, government agencies can reduce the reliance on paper forms, automate workflows, and personalize and scale services so citizens can access them faster in an on-demand way. Operational costs will decline, saving taxpayer money. Digital transformation is an across-the-board win, helping the government continue its unparalleled effort to address a global health and economic crisis while delivering essential citizen services and preparing for the future.

The pandemic has been a catalyst, pushing government to its current inflection point. Agency leaders I talk to agree; they clearly see this as a vital part of their respective missions. Given the citizen demand and support, this has become a powerful moment in time to push digital transformation forward to better serve people.

Whether it’s the government, citizens or industry, we all know this to be true: Better technology is the only way for government to respond to change securely and efficiently for the foreseeable future. As a result, they’ll improve lives, support the economy, reduce the tax burden, and keep the country strong.

Interested in learning more about the potential for a new, digitally-enabled government? Download the full report here.

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