Resiliency: Enterprise Systems Deliver When It’s Go Time
From eclipsing natural disasters to devastating economic downturns, how will you get back up and running quickly?
The first step of resiliency is deciding not to store critical information in paper documents. “Things can happen to paper,” she points out. One city once lost land records in storage to rats, Terri remembers. In the digital age, constituents aren’t so sympathetic to preventable losses. “Sometimes you can’t get to the paper, or it was destroyed,” she says.
While becoming digital is an investment for most local governments, comprehensive enterprise systems used across departments offer many long-range benefits worth considering:
- Redundancy. Records are backed up in the cloud, which is helpful if unexpected events limit access to the offices that hold city computer systems. With digital redundancy, civic leaders can have a greater degree of control when various situations arise.
- Higher Response Rates. With the ability to upload and share documents to one platform, departments within local governments can share information faster, which makes administrations more responsive.
- Greater Efficiency. Ongoing document management, such as for real-estate transactions, is faster and easier and costs less over the long-term. Being able to more easily share information with the public can also cut down on time and costs managing requests.
- Greater Accessibility. With Web and mobile access, staff can work online and out in the field, which minimizes project and resource delays.
- Better data and visuals. With geographic information system (GIS) capabilities, data uses are virtually endless—from fire departments being able to access building plans during incidents to tracking flooding and mapping public access and recreational spaces.
In a time of crisis, the ability to be back up and running is essential to moving beyond. For example, during a natural disaster, you’ll need to know how much federal and state aid your community needs. If staff can access and upload damage forms from the field, you can get the information you need as quickly as possible. “The faster you can accumulate the damage and aggregate the totals, the faster you can access FEMA [funds],” Terri notes.
Enterprise systems also provide tools that make connections in your data, “so you can have a 360˚ view of what’s going on,” she continues. Other perks include process automation for things like plan reviews and cases.
Consider the estimated time spent on paper-related activities, according to a 2012 survey by e.Republic. The average time spent searching for and returning paper to file cabinets was about 82 minutes per day. Add to that, 57 minutes for public records requests, 72 minutes to copy and share paper documents, and 75 minutes indexing and storing documents, and you’ve got personnel spending, on average, more than half of their day just shuffling papers.