The United States government is fraught with antiquated IT systems. According to Rep. Will Hurd, who spearheaded the Modernizing Government Technology Actallowallow, “Every year, the federal government wastes billions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars maintaining outdated, unreliable, and unsecured IT systems—some of which were first designed in the 1960s.”
It’s true. Many government agencies (including those at the state and local levels) have yet to adopt 21st-century workflow solutions. Instead, they spend hours shuffling physical paperwork and dealing with manual data entry. In service to the public, government organizations have a responsibility to prioritize modernization efforts. But in an industry so laden with regulations, where does modernization start?
The answer is simple: online forms. Truly, revitalization can be as basic as eliminating paper government forms and creating electronic processes. From building permits and housing applications to event registrations and job applications, government forms abound. Collecting the necessary information online is much easier than collecting it through stacks of paper forms that have to be manually entered into an electronic system.
If you (or your boss) need more convincing, here are a few other reasons to adopt online forms at your government agency:
Government employees take on the important work of assisting citizens or residents and keeping communities informed. But when they’re bogged down by cumbersome data processes, their work suffers. Implementing an online form solution for your agency can lift the paperwork burden many employees feel—giving them more time to focus on value-added tasks.
Online forms also provide value for citizens by offering a convenient way to complete paperwork. You can place online applications and request forms directly on your website for easy access. Additionally, timely input from the public and an organized database of form submissions allow you to make more fact-based decisions that positively serve the public.
Collecting data via online forms can dramatically increase efficiency at your office. Forms can not only be created and deployed in minutes; they can also streamline any government workflow thanks to an array of features:
- Automatic data validation that ensures you get accurate data.
- Required fields that ensure you get all the data you need.
- Electronic signatures that let you obtain the necessary authorization.
- Software integrations that seamlessly route collected data to appropriate systems.
Government organizations are privy to a lot of sensitive information. With cyberattacks and breaches on the rise, data security should be a high priority. A professional online form platform offers advanced security features that automate security procedures and satisfy relevant data regulations.
You can automatically encrypt submissions, password-protect forms, and implement spam-reducing technology. Online government forms also provide access restrictions that allow you to control who can view and edit forms and submissions.
Government agencies and institutions that receive federal funding are required to comply with certain accessibility standards—namely, Section 508 and WCAGnonsecure. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires federal agencies to provide software and website accessibility to people with disabilities. WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) is an updated version of Section 508 compliance that includes international guidelines.
Using an online form builder that is compliant with Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 can save you a lot of trouble. Platforms that follow the necessary compliance standards offer technology that is compatible with assistive technology, such as screen readers. They also warn you if you attempt to include a feature that is not supported by assistive technology.
The time is now for government agencies to step into the 21st century with modern technology. Providing better service to citizens and community residents depends on eliminating outdated, clunky, nonsecure processes and embracing technology that can provide deeper value, efficiency, security, and compliance.
Are you ready to modernize your agency? Click to explore Formstack’s online form solutions.