Changing Trends in Regional Government Enterprise Solution Requirements

Download this report for in-depth analysis of the software priorities for regional and local governments, based on TEC software selection project data. Key issues include factors related to change, cloud computing, transparency and accountability, and collaboration and shared services. Also in this report: analysis of interviews with governmental clients of UNIT4, located in various areas of Western Europe and the US.
Today’s regional and local governments are challenged by a number of changes that impact budget allocations, redistricting, management roles, and compliance measures. In response, we are seeing the emergence of new/updated IT solutions and deployment options that allow regional governments to obtain increased visibility and reporting and analysis capabilities, along with the ability to accommodate unpredictable internal and external conditions.

This document provides an analysis of the software priorities of regional and local governments, based on TEC software selection project data. Key issues include factors related to change, cloud computing, transparency and accountability, and collaboration and shared services.

TEC also conducted a number of interviews with regional and local governmental clients of UNIT4, located in various areas of Western Europe and the US. During these interviews, TEC asked government IT managers or C-level executives questions related to real-world issues and best practices contributing to change management, adoption of cloud computing, transparency and accountability, and collaboration and shared services for municipal and local governments. Below is a synthesis of the highlights:

  • It is a misconception that government structures and operational environments are static and slow to change. All the municipal representatives we interviewed indicated that changes to standards and compliance initiatives, as well as organizational structure redesigns, present some of the biggest challenges for local governments.
  • Constantly updated and increasingly rigorous compliance legislation is forcing local and municipal authorities to make new and non-standard decisions in many areas of operations. Examples include mandatory publication of all county/city spends to the public, and stricter private data and communication security standards.
  • Pressure to reduce operating costs, including IT costs, presents challenges for all governmental structures. The recent global recession has reduced tax revenues (and thus budgets) for mandatory functions.
  • Governments must respond to societal pressures for increased efficiency and better services for local residents and businesses.
These issues challenge the conventional solutions and traditional methodologies that regional governments currently employ. Public sector organizations such as local and regional governments require an approach that facilitates the resolution of emerging issues and supports their ongoing development.

The interviewees also highlighted three initiatives with respect to future software systems:

  • Consider shifting software applications and the overall supporting IT infrastructure toward an on-demand delivery model, whether it be solely software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based or a combination of cloud-based technologies and models (private cloud, hosted solutions, etc.). Reduced hardware and software costs, along with rapid deployment and a streamlined infrastructure may greatly enhance the performance and efficiency of local governments.
  • Consider selecting and deploying enterprise resource planning (ERP) and other business software applications designed for operating in rapidly changing and dynamic environments. These applications must be built on an architecture that allows for quick and easy execution and implementation of any change in the system setup or data structure to reflect business realities. From organizational redesign and hierarchical structure amendments to UI customization, all modifications must be performed on-site without the need for expensive and difficult-toobtain software vendor consultant services.
  • Consider new forms of business collaboration to improve the performance of the organization. For example, a shared information services model can be used collaboratively by several counties or municipalities. This type of service may include operations that all the municipalities perform and need to execute on a daily basis—e.g., financial transactions (accounts payable, accounts receivable, invoicing, billing) and employee management (payroll, workforce management, recruitment, etc.).
This collaborative approach may require additional legislation and agreements between, for example, the counties involved, which may not always be feasible due to situational diversity (e.g., financial, political, structural, development differences). Local governments may have an easier time taking this approach. Certainly, requirements for software flexibility, adaptability, and ease of change apply, to an even greater extent, to a shared services approach. When properly executed, this approach should allow for new municipalities to be engaged in or for other municipalities to withdraw from the collaboration—immediately and at minimal cost.

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