In your government agency, does the term “paperwork” still refer to actual paper?
If so, your employees are likely encountering some document-related challenges in their everyday work, such as difficulty finding the documents they need or finding space to store them.
If these scenarios ring true for your agency, you need a better government document management solution. In this article, we look at the advantages of digital document management in the public sector and offer tips on how to implement a solution that works well for you.
The benefits of government document management
Government agencies and departments can use digital document management to capture, organize, and track electronic documents. From permit applications to registration forms, government document management solutions support all types of documents in every area of an organization. The end result is improved document organization and oversight, which benefits both your employees and your constituents.
Document management is one component of digital transformation, the process of adopting digital tools to increase efficiency and productivity. For example, digitized documents
- Don’t require physical storage space
- Are easier to find and track than paper ones, thanks to digital search capabilities
- Make it possible for government agencies to automate their document-based workflows, such as obtaining approvals and signatures
However, choosing the right government document management solution is key to realizing these types of benefits. A solution that’s complex and hard to use, for example, would make employees’ work more difficult rather than easier. And a solution that doesn’t integrate with your agency’s other digital tools would make automation next to impossible.
Another important concern is security. “Anytime you’re dealing with customer data, you have to meet a number of security requirements, such as SOC 2 and other security accreditations,” says Bryon Kroger, founder and CEO of Rise8, a full stack digital transformation firm for the public sector. In government, the “customer” is the citizen, and protecting their data is a high priority.
However, theft or destruction is a possibility with paper documents, while many digital document solutions come with stringent cybersecurity features. They also follow specific industry and regulatory compliance rules, with audit trails and role-based access features, ensuring only the right people can view or edit documents. Document management software usually has disaster recovery features as well, eliminating the risk of a document being lost or damaged forever.
Digitization also makes sharing documents between departments, agencies, or organizations through different software systems much easier for employees. The ability to integrate different software systems facilitates knowledge sharing, collaboration, and innovation. Kroger notes that, “Having integration capability not only out of the box but also the ability to add integrations later is important.”
Best practices for government document management
If your government agency is considering implementing a document management system, follow these tips from the start:
- Use templates to standardize processes and data collection. Document templates can significantly improve productivity. They not only save time but also ensure that your organization can collect the right information for a specific process because the document fields are already clearly defined
- Follow a consistent document-naming structure. It’s easy to get lost in a sea of digital file names, making it hard to find the document you’re looking for. Establish departmental or agency-level document-naming guidelines to improve searchability and organization.
- Consider the user experience. “In government, the user experience hasn’t gotten much attention, and it can be pretty terrible,” says Kroger. Make sure digital documents, websites, and other tools are intuitive from a user experience perspective. And don’t forget about accessibility as part of the user experience. “It’s important to make information accessible for those who are blind and deaf,” Kroger notes.
- Automate document workflows. Many public sector agencies have specific document-related workflows, such as those around obtaining signatures or approvals. Use document management software to automate these processes and reduce workflow backlogs.
- Establish version-control guidelines. Just like with paper documents, digital documents may have different versions. To avoid confusion over which is the latest and most accurate version of a document, use software with version control features.
- Clarify access to confidential and private documents. Not everyone needs to be able to see every document. Use role-based access rules to specify which employees or citizens can view or edit each document.
Jotform: An ideal document management solution for government
Jotform Enterprise is a document management solution for the public sector, best for agencies and departments where collecting, managing, and analyzing data is a core business process. Jotform comes with hundreds of ready-to-use document templates, such as booking forms and application forms, which government agencies and departments can customize for their needs using the drag-and-drop form builder.
Since many government processes include confidential and private information, it’s vital to choose a document management solution that prioritizes security. All data collected in Jotform is highly secure and stored on a dedicated server. Jotform is also SOC 2, Type 2-compliant and offers HIPAA compliance features.
Jotform integrates with many other digital solutions, such as cloud storage software, so government organizations can manage entire processes seamlessly from end to end. Plus, with Jotform Sign, you can create e-signature documents and automate signing and approvals processes. Jotform Report Builder also enables you to create dynamic reports using collected data.
When it comes to government document management, Jotform offers many advantages for the public sector, enabling enhanced document security, analysis, control, and so much more.