Breaking Down the Silos in Government

Silos occur when the flow of information is blocked by organizational or technological boundaries. Information may be locked within departments, agencies, solutions, systems, or even classifications.

Government is prone to silos because of its structured, hierarchical, and restricted nature. The workforce is designed for vertical coordination and there are distinct roles, limits, and regulations. The public sector is also built to be siloed as these borders maintain order, control, and accountability.

The technology in use has also been siloed, with most government bodies utilizing programs intended for specific functions and closed to outsiders.

The rise of digitalization demands fluid information and customer-centered, cross-functional service. But public sector silos are proving difficult to remove.

What’s holding things back?

Public sector silos work on three basic levels: governance, people, and data. Governance refers to organizational authority, responsibility, and accountability structures. People are its employees and their skills, culture, and management style. Data refers to the information and analytics software used in service delivery, decision-making, and program design.

Technology-driven silos are the easiest to break down. This can be achieved by following established best practices for a successful digital transformation. The biggest challenge is in removing functional silos while retaining control, structure, and traceability. This requires an approach that considers both technology and the human factor.

Address internal concerns

Silos can be caused and perpetuated by the human factor. An organization’s culture contributes to them, as do its people’s concerns, priorities, motivations, behaviors, and other traits.

If silos seem to persist or there are ongoing challenges in breaking them down, look into HR and culture factors. Eliminating government silos and increasing intragovernmental collaboration is known to trigger certain internal concerns, primarily around resource competition, time, and knowledge.

Agencies and departments may be reluctant to break down silos and facilitate open data sharing if they are in competition for the same budgetary resources.

Time constraints and work interruption are other key concerns. Agencies may not have spare time to devote to a major data project and are likely to resist initiatives that may disrupt work.

Most of these concerns are unfounded and come up because employees are uninformed about what silo removal entails.

For example, silo elimination should result in more cost-effective service delivery and free up resources. Silos are removed through a carefully managed process that ensures service continuity. And upgraded GovTech solutions are more intuitive to use than dated, legacy systems or complicated workarounds.

Link silo elimination to an elevated government employee experience

If local government employees don’t seem overly motivated to embrace technology or tackle digitalization challenges, it can be helpful to outline the specific benefits and positive outcomes they’ll experience.

These include:

  • Automating or eliminating manual paperwork,
  • Eliminating redundant inter-departmental work,
  • Less time retrieving information,
  • Less disintegrated and fragmented data,
  • Fewer workflow bottlenecks,
  • Faster service delivery and processing,
  • Interacting with less frustrated citizens.

Citizen and employee experiences have a reciprocal relationship. The IT and software advancements that upgrade the citizen’s experience will deliver holistic benefits for the government’s workforce.

Close citizen-facing silos with a digital one-stop-shop

The purpose of digital government is to make services more efficient, convenient, and accessible – providing a citizen experience that’s streamlined, coherent, and unified.

However, digital services can sometimes recreate the worst aspects of in-person governance.

Do constituents have to go to multiple different websites just to access basic government services? Are there any communication gaps between citizens and public agencies? Or are constituent documents scattered across multiple storage locations?

Issues like these cause disjointed digital citizen experiences and are a definite sign of silos occurring on some level. These may be due to technological, organizational, or cultural challenges but always represent a functional blockage.

Fortunately, citizen-facing silos are fairly easy to fix. And a fractured e-government experience can be transformed into a digital one-stop shop that provides a single online point of access to various services, departments, and constituent activities.

To do this, use a citizen portal to create a customer-centric unified access point. A portal tied to a GovTech database can be used for communication, appointment booking, document storage, payments, and service delivery.

Use an information management system

Breaking down silos doesn’t always result in improved productivity, faster service, more accessible government, and other positive outcomes. In fact, it can easily do the opposite if information, data exchanges, and connected systems aren’t managed well. Some potential complications include deleted or duplicated data, loss of access control, leaks, and a lack of traceability.

Making digital government a success requires implementing a dedicated GovTech information management system. This system will:

  • Act as a single source of truth
  • Provide a data repository for bridged info
  • Standardize data and information
  • Prevent data redundancies
  • Eliminate redundant data entry and work
  • Enable end-to-end data access
  • Save time for constituents and public employees
  • Provide centralized administrative control
  • Allow for business intelligence, automation, and reporting

Digital information management is essential for breaking down silos and enabling a secure, high-performing connected government. The right solution is one that’s flexible, intelligent, and customizable enough to suit a range of government applications.

It should integrate with other solutions and be capable of serving as a single controlling GovTech platform.

Government Silo Removal

Removing government silos has to be done with an approach that considers the public sector’s unique organizational characteristics, restrictions, and needs. Its structure, boundaries, and authority levels can be retained while enabling end-to-end integration and data fluidity.

This can be accomplished with a holistic GovTech solution like FastTrackGov®. FastTrackGov unifies citizen service, government administration, and information management into a robust and flexible platform. It allows for access control while enabling transparency, automation, and seamless data flow according to set parameters.

Please schedule a demo for a closer look.