Increase Speed, Agility and Security with No-code Apps for State and Local Government
Data transformation and cloud-based computing have been around for years. However, adopting the new technologies and capabilities that make the benefits of a cloud infrastructure a reality varies widely by industry.
State and local governments were forced to take a hard look at their computing infrastructure when the pandemic created a surge in demand for government services and an overnight need to support remote workers. The pain and inefficiency of legacy tools like spreadsheets, local computing resources and databases, accelerated cloud-based investments.
Based on the value gained from the initial migration of essential data and services to a government cloud, public sector investment in cloud-based solutions continues to see double-digit growth. Government organizations are looking to the cloud to improve speed and efficiency in delivering services, lower operational costs, increase data security, enable collaboration across teams and departments and, ultimately, gain insights to better serve constituents.
What is a Government Cloud?
A government-cloud solution, sometimes referred to as GovCloud, is a cloud-computing platform designed to meet the specific security and compliance requirements of the public sector. Its end-to-end design ensures that all data is stored securely, even when multiple departments or agencies are using the same cloud to collaborate or serve the community.
Moving to a government-cloud solution, which provides anytime, anywhere access to critical data, solves a host of challenges for state and local government agencies including: meeting compliance mandates, safeguarding sensitive data, implementing stringent user access controls and providing enhanced data protection through automated cloud backup and disaster recovery capabilities.
No-code Apps Deliver Agility to State and Local Government
Local and state governments are ideally suited to cloud-based data management solutions. The myriad of agencies and departments serve the same community of constituents, so they’re working from a common foundation of core data.
At the same time, running the operations for a city, county or state requires many mobile workers in roles ranging from inspections to emergency management to code enforcement and public works projects. This combination of factors makes the old operational model, built on siloed legacy tools, even more of a stranglehold on efficiency and innovation.
Continuing to rely on spreadsheets, local databases and paper-based processes hinders every part of the organization. Projects run without up-to-date information, when and where it’s needed. The result is somewhere between a slowdown and chaos. In contrast, implementing a government-cloud solution for data management speeds deployment of applications and services, getting everyone access to real-time data to get their job done.
The City of Austin experienced the pain of outdated tools and processes firsthand with the real-time traffic and transit data needed to maintain its transportation infrastructure. Arterial Management, a division of the Department of Transportation, found the haphazard processes for handling its multiple streams of data and workflows were causing unnecessary gridlock on its busy city streets.
A task as simple as finding the details of a work ticket on the shared drive could cost employees a 30-minute search. It was clear, before Austin’s traffic could be streamlined, the department first needed to solve its internal data problems – unifying the siloed data streams and providing real-time access for problem solving and decision making. By capturing the city’s asset inventory – from traffic lights to repair equipment – into a no-code database app and tracking where those assets are being used, created a single source of truth for data that was always up to date.
GovCloud Enabled Collaboration with Real-time Data Access and Sharing
Besides delivering real-time data where and when it’s needed, a government-cloud solution enables workers and teams across departments and projects to collaborate, easily accessing and contributing to the same data source. Teams and locations are no longer trapped in data silos that block problem solving and innovation.
Before moving to no-code database apps, the City of Austin kept important information about resources and projects stored in multiple copies of spreadsheets and on paper forms. There was no way to quickly and easily get current information and reporting on the data was virtually impossible.
Automating its previously paper-based processes, streamlined and sped up everyday workflows for its field technicians. Now, instead of picking up paper forms for work tickets, then completing the work and returning a status form that another internal employee had to scan or input into a database, the city’s 311 system is digitized and integrated with the cloud-based app.
New tickets are created automatically, and technicians can login through mobile devices to access the tickets in real time. This one improvement reduced direct staff involvement from a six-stage workflow to two. And not only is the data more accessible for improved response time and collaboration, it’s more secure.
Government Cloud for Enhanced Data Security and Visibility
In our increasingly digital world, data security is top of mind for every organization and that’s especially true for local and state government entities. Legacy tools like spreadsheets, Microsoft Access databases, and local storage drives for file access makes data even more vulnerable to being accessed and shared by those without approved credentials. It also opens up a variety of data integrity problems, from copies of spreadsheets escaping proper version control to manual data entry errors.
Cloud-based database apps provide a secure solution, with data encryption, role-based access, regular backups and other security measures built in. They offer the increased visibility and data controls that local and state governments need to protect sensitive information and citizens’ privacy while enabling easy access to everyone who is authorized. And as data needs grow, no-code database apps are poised to respond with scalability and flexibility to quickly meet new challenges as they arise.
Scalable Data Management When and Where It’s Needed
No-code, cloud-based database apps are designed to accommodate growth and scale as an organization and its data grow. The drag-and-drop simplicity of app building means that functionality can be quickly and easily added when it’s needed. And because database apps offer robust structure and logic, they can store more data, and keep it organized into meaningful categories with the ability to assign relationships between data types. That’s something spreadsheets simply can’t do.
In the case of the City of Austin, it needed to start with specific use cases, like automating and integrating the 311 work tickets. Choosing a no-code database app meant the Arterial Management team could start by building and proving out one use case, getting buy-in along the way and adding and iterating functionality without relying on corporate IT. This saved months in development time.
Government Cloud with No-code Apps Saves Time and Money
Real-time data availability and collaborative insights are top benefits of a government cloud. Cost savings take the solution to the next level. No-code data management apps save time and productivity, allowing workers to get more done in less time.
For example, when a citizen is involved in a traffic accident, the City of Austin must share information about the operation of the traffic signal. Under the old system, an employee manually sifted through all the folders on the shared drive to find out the last time a work ticket was completed at that location. Now that all the data is available in a cloud-based database app, the search can be completed with a simple query, no matter whether they need to search back through several days or many months’ worth of tickets.
The savings also shine when it comes to reporting. The simplicity of querying the database eases internal reporting requests. Under the old system, reporting depended on a variety of spreadsheets, often containing broken formulas, so it would take a day to report on basic asset information. Now the team can be confident that inventory levels are accurately reported – in a fraction of the time.
Innovating with No-code Database Apps for State and Local Government
The same benefits realized by the City of Austin’s Arterial Management transportation division can be achieved by operational divisions across local and state government, including:
Public Safety: Police departments can deploy real-time applications to respond quickly to emergencies, to securely store and access sensitive information such as citizen records and to create a public-facing portal to enable online payment for fees and violations.
Education: School staff can store student records, information about courses and materials, and to manage administrative tasks.
Healthcare: Hospitals can deploy digital applications to match patients with healthcare professionals for remote consultations and for appointment booking systems.
Taxation & Finance: Deploy online tax filing and payment systems.
State and local governments are feeling the pressure to become faster and more agile in their operations. Modernizing operational infrastructures with no-code database apps opens a world of collaboration and innovation. The surfacing of deep, data-driven insights informs decision making and process improvements to better serve the public.
Learn more about no-code database apps for local and state governments.