Licensing agencies are facing a considerable dilemma these days — modernize processes while working with a limited budget.
In recent years and particularly in recent months, numerous factors have forced state and local governments to reassess their spending. Analysis by the Urban Institute‘s State and Local Finance Initiative found that the COVID-19 pandemic could swipe roughly $200 billion from state budgets by June 2021. As a result, some states have directed agencies to cut their budgets by as much as 15% or 20%.
So, how exactly do you start digitizing your licensing agency with a limited or flat budget?
Find a solution that enables incremental expansion
While there’s a pressing need for licensing agencies to modernize now, that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank by going all-in on technology immediately.
This is where the idea of incremental implementation comes into play. Migrating to a configurable cloud-based solution that enables expansion over time is like learning to walk before you run. Find a partner that offers solutions for your budget and is willing to roll out digitization in phases. By taking slow steps you can lessen the immediate impact on your team and, more importantly, your budget.
For example, implementing a cloud-based CRM that includes an on-line dynamic portal might be a foundational starting-point for your licensing agency to begin to automate time-consuming, labor-intensive tasks like staying on top of new license applications, renewals or investigating complaints. Having these foundational components allows your organization to support telework options and provide channels for customers to submit requests without coming into the office or using snail mail. As your agency becomes acclimated to the system, you can add functionality based on priority like scheduling, telecom integrations, chatbots, API integrations, GIS mapping, service requests, or remote inspections.
Focus on areas with the biggest impact
When working with a limited budget, focus first on digitizing the applications or processes that represent the lion share of work for your agency. Which are the biggest revenue sources and where do the majority of your requests come from?
Even digitizing one or two of those processes at a time can have a dramatic impact on your organization, while also helping you keep your budget intact and expenditures low.
Make the case for digitization now
There’s really no better time to prove the case for digitization than when manual processes are hindering an already overwhelmed department. The reality is, licensing agencies have far more reasons to digitize now than ever before.
Improved bottom-line benefits
When operating within the constraints of a limited budget, it may be difficult to see the long-term, bottom-line benefits of undergoing a digital transformation. But the reality is, digitization can save agencies hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in overhead costs, unnecessary third-party applications, and overall efficiency and increased productivity.
Improved bottom-line benefits
Today’s consumers have grown accustomed to connected, personalized, and on-demand experiences and they now expect those across the board –– no matter what organization they are transacting with. Digitizing with customer-facing technologies enables agencies to meet customers where they are and eliminates the reliance on in-person delivery of service.
Improved customer experiences
According to this report by McKinsey, good customer experiences reinforce other critical agency outcomes like reducing inbound calls and response times, enhancing employee engagement, and decreasing risks. Digitizing even just one process can go a long way in improving the overall business experience.
Improved agency operations
Digitizing your licensing agency can help combat labor-intensive clerical work, streamline paper-bound processes, increase visibility and access, and process requests on time with fewer staff hours and less space.
The reality is many agencies only have a certain degree of flexibility to pay for the transition from analog to digital. But finding the right partner, starting small, and showing success with incremental digitization now could lead to greater funding later.