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Douglas County in Kansas is saving between $5 and $6 each time it pays a bill, thanks to a new financial software system from SunGard Public Sector. As the Lawrence Journal-World reports, Douglas County is utilizing electronic transfers rather than paper checks.
According to the Lawrence Journal-World, other advantages of the software from SunGard Public Sector include:
• Universal use of purchase orders for departments and accounts receivable, allowing a more complete and up-to-date picture of county finances.
• Storage in the system of all county spending approvals and authorizations.
• Consolidation of payroll and human resources on the county’s financial software system.
• Improved departmental access to financial and human resource/payroll information.
• Reduced paperwork through the electronic storage of all financial, human resource and payroll documents.
Check out the full story here.
The results of the 14th Annual Digital Counties Survey are in, and we’re thrilled to report that more than 15 SunGard Public Sector customers are represented out of the 55 counties recognized by the Center for Digital Government in this year’s survey! These counties were selected for their ability to “understand technology’s value, empower their tech leaders, and implement new ideas to make life better for those who live and work there.” According to the survey, “[The] counties that are most effective at delivering technology-based solutions are also ones that are ready to cooperate with others, both internally and with the public, and are also flexible and thoughtful enough to recognize the value in taking measured risk in search of better outcomes.”
Image courtesy of Government Technology
A list of project areas where organizations expect to spend the most time and energy in 2016 include: cybersecurity, open government, citizen engagement, business intelligence and analytics, and business process automation, among others. Much of these project areas are addressed by SunGard Public Sector solutions, such as NaviLine, PLUS, ONESolution and TRAKiT, used by the more than 15 customers who made the list of the top 55 counties.
For a recent example of open government and citizen engagement, check out our case study about John’s Creek’s new police open data tool, powered by SunGard Public Sector’s new Public Connect solution.
Congratulations to all the winners, and our customers! For more information on the 14th Annual Digital Counties Survey, click here.
If you want to compare the number of citations your agency issued in one month to another month, how would you get the information? One option is searching your RMS – most modern Records Management Systems have the ability to search records by time, name, or location. But what if your agency is interested in looking at the bigger picture and really diving into trends? You might have to manually check records one by one. And if you want to analyze this information on the fly, or develop a report on crime and trends for a local government office or for a citizen because of a FOIA request, this most likely means valuable man hours spent by staff in your agency.
Thanks to SunGard Public Sector’s new Public Connect solution, this paradigm is shifting. Public Connect, powered by Socrata’s open data expertise, was developed by SunGard to address a growing need in the public safety community. The tool, which closely aligns with SunGard’s safety data standards and the White House’s Police Data Initiative, allows agencies to catalog data such as how officers are used, where they respond, and what they respond to. The resulting data is easily accessible, searchable, and indexable for other individuals within an agency or outside it.
“When I first saw Public Connect in action, I was stunned by the breadth of information that was available,” said Lieutenant Jon Moses, Johns Creek Police Department. “All the relevant crime stats, and information about our agency, were just a click away.”
Johns Creek Police Department in Johns Creek, GA is an early adopter of the Public Connect solution and is exploring some of the different ways they can learn about themselves by analyzing the data they’re collecting. “Public Connect gives us an opportunity to visualize the data in a way we couldn’t before,” added Lt. Moses. “We could see for example that responses to house alarms spike in July every year. We coordinate that information through our dispatch during that time of year to ensure officers will be where they need to be when they need to be there.”
Johns Creek’s Public Connect solution, called “Police View” by the agency is now online and can be seen here: https://policeview.johnscreekga.gov/.
The general public can benefit from Public Connect, too. The tool is very customizable depending on an agency’s needs, and can be configured for public use. Some agencies may set up online portals to allow the public to search police data quickly, potentially removing the need for FOIA requests.
“One of the benefits to us is that it was cost-neutral to implement,” added Lt. Moses. “It’s a new tool that provides new functionalities for our agency, but it also gives us an opportunity to consolidate or retire other assets.”
Click to download the complete case study.
By Tom Amburgey
Some government departments have it easier than others when it comes to using social media. Take the city or county Parks and Recreation department for example. Latest event photos are frequently shared and enjoyed on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, and they typically don’t have trouble gaining followers. But how can other departments with mission critical responsibilities – such as the Finance Department – embrace the power of social networks?
Let’s talk about how the finance director can help set the direction for earning engagement on social media, even though they appear to have fewer programs and activities that directly impact the public. The truth is, however, that a Finance Department’s mission isn’t less applicable to the public than a department that is more in the public eye, it’s just not as obvious.
There are several uses for social media that the director can consider. The social environment perfectly complements those agencies that are working on being as transparent as possible with taxpayers in their community. One example would be using social media to report and explain expenditures or big budget items. With this, directors are helping citizens gain a clear understanding of their government operations as well as promoting citizen engagement in positive events.
Another example would be using social platforms to simplify complex processes or requirements. For instance, using hashtags such as #tips and #howto are perfect ways for designating quick bits of information designed to help educate citizens and businesses regarding important government processes. Platforms with a length requirement, such as Twitter, force departments to think about the best and simplest way to explain difficult processes. Using short YouTube ‘explainer videos’ hosted by personable department heads can help facilitate public understanding of answers to common questions the entity receives. A well placed series of #howto communications can engage citizens at a new level and ensure they see the benefit of their local government.
Lastly, visuals and illustrations traditionally perform extremely well on social media. Although it is not obvious to citizens at first glance, finance operations can be very visual. Budgetary reporting is a major part of finance department services, and graphics such as pie charts and even statistics can be highly shareable on platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. An added bonus is that these graphics are already being designed in order to share them with elected officials and other stakeholders, so there is minimal work on the part of staff to create this type of highly shareable content.
While finance departments typically work most closely with department heads, agency leadership and elected officials, there is still a great deal that the public can learn and understand about why certain financial decisions are made. Gaining public buy-in for fiscal decisions can be made easier when directors show internal support for the use of social media in daily business operations.
By Kristy Dalton
The rise of mobile devices is transforming how government agencies function. Citizens now text, web chat and submit service requests via smartphone apps. Most cities and counties leverage social media – which is inherently mobile friendly – to interact and engage with residents. Instant sharing of icy sidewalks, overflowing trash cans or illegally parked vehicles empower residents to become the “eyes and ears” for 311 service centers.
Increasingly, government workers are using tablets to conduct building inspections, issue parking tickets and collect fees from residents. The related BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) movement has ushered in a new era of “govies” who can respond to their constituents in real-time. Their response capacity is no longer tied to a specific desk in a government office – inquiries may be answered from any location and increasingly may come during evening hours or weekends. Lookout Inc. surveyed federal agencies and found that 50% of government workers now use their personal device for work email and 49% use those devices to download work related documents.
This new era also presents security and chain of custody challenges for CIOs and IT managers. Twenty-four percent of government workers send work documents to their personal email address and 17% store work related documents on personal file sharing apps such as Dropbox or Google Docs, according to the survey cited above. Many government agencies now have a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) to tackle the common issues posed by BYOD, mobility and other web based threats. Proper archiving and storage of these messages and files creates additional hurdles for IT leadership.
Many police officers now transmit reports via wireless connections and no longer need to come back to the station. This advancement can save valuable time and allow them to continue to serve the public in the field. Keeping officers on the street and visible to the public is arguably more important than ever. Hi-tech tools can enable better low tech engagement like community policing and talking in-person with residents and local business owners.
An underrated aspect of the rise of mobility in government is sustainability. Government is historically known as being a paperwork intensive enterprise. Many agencies have utilized Software as a Service (SaaS) and other digital tools to reduce or eliminate paperwork while providing better service. Real-time entry in the field also reduces or eliminates the need for later data entry which often slows down the process and increases the likelihood of errors.
Mobile-first inclined Millennials are not just becoming homeowners and taxpayers, but also starting to fill leadership roles in government as well. Both government and its stakeholders are better served in this new mobile-first era.
Local governments, public safety and justice agencies, non-profit organizations, and the citizens they serve can envision the future happening today with SunGard Public Sector.