I don’t have to tell you how constrained government budgets are these days. If you work in government, you know the depth of budget cuts and lack of resources – but this doesn’t mean that you stop doing the important work you’ve done before. You still need to communicate with your citizens and stakeholders about your services, from recycling updates to open park times to tax updates.
A recent white paper titled, Cutting the Costs of Paper: Digital Delivery of Government Messages & Statements, may provide another perspective on how to better reach citizens and stakeholders with important, personalized messages while working within constrained budgets. The white paper notes:
Many government agencies are achieving efficiencies through e-government initiatives that move processes and communications online. Yet paper is still an essential part of many communications between agencies and the public. These paper-based processes are often a bottleneck, slowing down essential processes such as payments while increasing costs for handling paper.
Some agencies send high volumes of these transactional messages, which often represent a sizable cost to the agency. The cost of printing and mailing is just the tip of the iceberg. Keeping these business processes on paper creates significant follow-on costs for handling inbound forms or calls. By moving these printed messages to electronic mail, agencies can realize significant cost savings while streamlining business processes and becoming more efficient.
What’s a transactional message? The white paper gives some examples, but it may be easier to start with a private sector example. For instance, if you have a credit card, you can usually set up a recurring email alert to notify you when your balance reaches a certain threshold. I have one of my credit cards set up to send me this kind of email alert; but it doesn’t just tell me that I’ve reached a certain balance, it also tells me exactly what my credit card balance is in the email. And then it gives me the option of clicking on a link to see more information through my credit card portal.
How would this work for government? An easy example would be property tax statements. Usually this information is mailed to the citizen or business, with a paper statement for payment, if that’s required. Because of the very specific information contained in the statement, it’s been easier for organizations to collate this information and print it, then mail it. The other option has usually been to implement or install an enterprise system that’s expensive and large to manage. But with advances in technology, especially with application programming interfaces (APIs), this is no longer the case. Legacy financial or citizen relationship management systems can remain intact while APIs do the work of pulling in personalized information and then sending out these transactional messages to their intended recipients. Transactions with government organizations that were generated from paper-based communications can move to an all-electronic process, saving your organization time, money and resources.
The white paper goes into more depth. But why not hear from an expert? GovDelivery’s Technical Product Manager, Tor Flatebo, is discussing this very topic on a live webinar on March 27. The webinar is free, and you can pick Tor’s brain on all the ways transactional messaging can work for your organization. Register today.