The Digital State: The digitization of government

In this article we will explore government digitization and document capture. We start by looking at some examples of government digitization, we will then discuss the benefits government agencies are seeing from digitizing government records, before looking at how to get started on your own journey of digitization. The article closes with a look at what government agencies can do to ensure their digital transformation is successful.

The government digitization process is not a one-time effort. There are some state government agencies that have started on the process of digitizing and they have already seen some benefits. However, most government transactions are still manual, often requiring you to print and fill in a PDF. In 2019, Connecticut State estimated that only 5% of state transactions could be completed online.

What are government agencies doing to solve this problem?

For starters, government officials have taken the time and expense to digitize documents. For example, The Texas Department of Public Safety was able to convert more than a million paper records into digital images in just two years. Making a cost saving of nearly $700,000 worth of storage space.

Citizens in the State of Georgia were demanding better and faster government interactions through an increasing variety of devices. This led to the State embracing digital transformation by helping their agencies to create a data inventory and capture key data. In particular, they are focusing on establishing a data driven approach to fraud and abuse detection and mitigation. Their goal is a state-wide approach and by 2025 they will have a consistent framework for digital services across state agencies.

The City of San Francisco launched its Digital Services Strategy that addresses all three key areas: transparency, engagement, and efficiency in government service delivery to the citizens. Driven by the desire to put the residents first, San Francisco’s Digital Services Strategy is committed to improving the customer experience. They are tackling challenges such as delivering digital access to more than 600 services that previously required forms to be filled out in person. Part of their strategy focuses on delivering services digitally. This is achieved by considering three important elements:

  • redesigning service from the ground up – creating a digital option for a service provides the perfect opportunity for evaluating current processes
  • migrate paper to digital – as well as developing methods to capture current paper documents this is the time to introduce online forms, a service channel that many find easier to access.
  • create digital front doors – the city was looking to create websites where consumers could find information quickly and easily, with acting as the first stop for all visitors.

Let’s look at another example, a government Social Service Agency encountered issues with their Benefit Management system. Enrolment to different government programs required numerous varied documents. These documents were being manually processed to check for eligibility. This meant that invalid/missing items were not spotted until further down the process causing delays in payment. The Agency worked with DataSkill to digitize the process. Now, by using IBM Datacap Social Workers can quickly capture data from various documents and help determine qualifications through one integrated system. Employee time can be reallocated to help those seeking benefits. Data loss has been reduced and the accuracy, traceability and efficiency of case processing has increased.

The benefits

As government agencies continue to digitize, the public will start seeing more and better government services. Digitization of government is also increasing efficiency; a study by Digital Government Research found that government organizations are able to reduce processing times when using document capture technologies. This can lead to increased service delivery as well as improved customer satisfaction. In addition, government agencies are saving 90% on storage costs.

Through the digitization of government, agencies can:

  • Respond to changes in government more quickly
  • Increase citizen engagement by providing easier access and improved customer service for those who wish to interact electronically with government agencies.
  • Improve transparency – document retention policies are made public, enabling citizens to know what information is being retained and for how long
  • Increase accuracy – reduce manual entry errors by validating data at the point of contact
  • Improve speed and efficiency – time and money are saved by automating government processes
  • Improve citizen trust – digitization helps governments more effectively manage privacy, security, and fraud risks.
  • Provide government employees with the tools to do their jobs more efficiently.

Starting your own Digitization Journey

It seems like the future of government is here, therefore the key question is how can your Government Agency become a part of it? What is needed is a way to capture the documents and extract structured data from the unstructured content so that the key information can be verified. DataSkill recommends the use of IBM Datacap. This is a cognitive capture system that uses natural language processing, text analytics and machine learning to automatically find, extract and classify important information from complex and variable documents. It analyzes content to understand information and context. It increases accuracy as it continues to learn. CATTURA by DataSkill can be used to complement the solution. It can increase speed of deployment, increase the effectiveness of the solution and it supports a faster return on investment.
How to ensure your digital transformation is successful?
So, what can we learn from those government agencies and private organizations who have already embraced technology and started their digital transformation?

  1. Remember that digitization is a process, not an event. It takes time and resources to successfully digitize government services – which means it’s important to have a plan for how digital government will be implemented over the long-term.
  2. Make sure you align your strategy with government priorities by taking advantage of new opportunities while fulfilling existing obligations.
  3. Design the customer experience from start to finish. It is critical not to simply digitize inefficient workflows and expect to make gains. User research and information from customer-facing staff should drive the process to ensure that processes are both customer-focused and efficient.
  4. Use data analysis to inform decision making. Data is the fuel that powers government’s digital transformation and should inform how to invest resources, develop services, and update policies.
  5. Leverage Expertise. DataSkill’ s approach is to use artificial intelligence to understand documents and place the data into a standard format. When looking for a partner for our data capture solution IBM was a natural choice. DataSkill has been an IBM Business Partner since 1996. We choose IBM because of the expertise and technology they bring to the solution. With IBM Datacap, we are recommending an end-to-end solution that is highly customizable to the individual business cases. IBM Datacap is already providing time and cost savings and better citizen services, with more than 30% of US State Governments benefiting from its implementation.

Are you ready to find out more about how DataSkill and IBM Datacap can help you with your digitization journey? Visit for more information.
This is the Digital State: The digitization of government and it’s leading to a government that operates smarter, faster, cheaper. Make sure that you are a part of it.