How Can Municipalities Leverage Paperless Board Meeting Software?

Lena Eisenstein
New digital software solutions for various industries are being invented daily. One of the wonderful things about that is that newly created software programs are becoming more customized for the organizations that need them. That's great news for municipal governments who are continually striving for ways to enhance efficiency, accountability, and transparency.

Local citizens are accustomed to using technology in practically every area of their lives. Technology makes it possible to do banking, shopping, mailing, and most other routine errands completely online. It only makes sense that they'd expect to get information about the latest government happenings online as well. Local governments are trending towards paperless board meeting software and they're keeping their eyes open for other trends that can improve their overall functioning.

Paperless board meeting software improves communication, enhances efficiency, promotes community trust, and is cost-effective. Moving to a paperless board meeting solution isn't as foreboding as most government workers think. In fact, municipal governments can work towards paperless solutions at their own pace and as it fits in with their goals and objectives. A consultation with iCompass, a Diligent brand, can get you started in the right direction.

Paperless Board Meeting Software Increases Citizen Engagement

With paperless board meeting software solutions, citizens can do almost anything online that they could do in person at the local government office. Whether it's searching online for a Freedom of Information request or looking up a meeting agenda or meeting minutes from a past council meeting, software makes it possible for citizens to do much all on their own. Paperless board meeting software saves government staff from the countless hours of tracking down reports and other information, giving them more time to serve the public. The engagement doesn't stop there.

If a citizen wants to watch a video of a council meeting to better understand what's in the agenda or meeting minutes, it takes only a few clicks to pull up a video from a past meeting. The time-stamps appear on the minutes and agenda to make finding relevant points in the meeting easy.

Citizens can also use the software to apply for various boards and commissions online. The processes are highly automated which means there are fewer delays. Automation also helps to ensure positions are filled when there are vacancies.

Electronic board management programs provide a way for the public to contact their council members via email and offer feedback on their local government's website.

Citizens will appreciate all these advantages, as well as the fact that the systems are easy, convenient, and mobile-friendly.

Paperless Board Meeting Software Promotes Government Accountability

As dedicated as many government workers are, they're subject to human error just like the rest of us. Government workers deal with numerous important and vital records every day. Stacks and files of documents take up valuable space in local government offices.

With unlimited, cloud-based storage, searching for old, archived documents is a breeze. By typing a few words into the search box, clerks and other staff members can get access to any document they need within seconds. If they need to find paper documents onsite, the program provides that as well.

Cloud storage also means that there's a safe way to back up data so that nothing ever gets lost.

Collectively, all these benefits pave the way to better outcomes.

Paperless Board Management Software Creates Efficiency

Faster processes equate to better workflows. What used to take government staff many hours to complete manually, the software allows them to do it in seconds.

Government staff is dutifully collecting data every day. Often, they're unaware that their peers in different departments are collecting the very same bits of information for different purposes. Those who aren't very organized will lose the data and need to collect it again.

Paperless board meeting software gives the entire staff a central place where they can all access the data they need whether they collected it or someone else did. By having the ability to use the same data for multiple purposes and for multiple departments, governments reduce costs while gaining efficiency.

By offering citizens an opportunity to fill out applications online and at their convenience, government staff can tend to other duties that require manual processing. Automation provides processes that give citizens better information faster, which makes it easier for them to get involved in their communities.

A search portal literally puts all the information that citizens need at their fingertips. It's search friendly, mobile-friendly, accurate, and fast.

Reviewing the Top 6 Digital Trends in Government

According to Forbes magazine, digital government platforms and board management software programs are leading the way as a top trending tool. Here are the six top digital trends in government:
  1. IoT connected cities
  2. Automation
  3. Security and protection
  4. Improving mobility
  5. Data collection and analytics
  6. Digital government platforms

Making the Move Towards Paperless Board Management Software

Making a move towards paperless board management software doesn't have to be all or nothing. It certainly doesn't have to feel like an insurmountable task. An iCompass survey indicated that a little over 25% of local governments already use video streaming for their council meetings. Just under 10% of our respondents either already had this technology listed in their upcoming budgets or were planning to add this technology within the next 3-5 years.

If your local government is one of the 62% of organizations that hasn't yet made adding digital software solutions to your program, you'll soon be behind the game.

Digital transformation can actually line up nicely with your goals and priorities. This will become more and more apparent as you evaluate digital programs to account for your changing needs and compare them with labor-intensive, expensive manual processes.

The consultants at iCompass, a Diligent brand, the leading source for government software solutions, are happy to custom design a program that will purge manual tasks, engage more citizens, decrease operating costs, and put information at the fingertips of citizens and government workers. Explore the possibilities for paperless agendas, meetings, board applications and processing, and a Transparency portal today.
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Lena Eisenstein
Lena Eisenstein is a former Manager at Diligent. Her expertise in mission-driven organizations, including nonprofits, school boards and local governments, centers on how technology and modern governance best practices empower leaders at these organizations to serve their communities with efficiency and purpose.