Make It Modern: Why You Can’t Build a Legacy on Legacy Systems – Part 1
This blog was original published on govloop. To view the original article, click here.
In 2011, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen said that “software is eating the world.” What he meant was that new software is enabling companies to scale faster, reduce costs, and deliver better customer experiences, and that the rapid spread of useful software is allowing entrenched players like Walmart and FedEx to better maintain dominance in their industries and increase profits, while at the same time opening the door for more nimble and future-focused “disruptors” like Amazon and Netflix.
Andreessen nodded towards the potential for software to transform the delivery of education, healthcare, and certain national defense activities, but we, as government employees and industry partners, should be focused on the opportunities to truly build a lasting legacy by harnessing software to increase government employee satisfaction in core areas.
Right now employee satisfaction in every industry is low, but that’s especially true for the government workforce. Why? One major factor is the current low favorability and appreciation that many people have towards government in general. Although younger employees report wanting to do something meaningful with their careers, the federal government is falling behind in showing that government service fulfills this role. This is partly because government agencies don’t always promote the positive impact of their work, and partly because it is politically expedient for some politicians and outside organizations to boost their own status by taking potshots at the government.
The fact is, government employees play a critical role in improving our society, and we should always be looking for ways to support their efforts and make continued service more attractive. Unfortunately, many government agencies are still viewed as stodgy, dusty, bureaucratic behemoths. A lot can be said about the importance of bureaucracy, and the unfair malignment of bureaucrats over the years, but the public does have a fair point about the stodgy and dusty part. This is especially true when it comes to how government gets things done, and this where software comes in.
If you were to take a job in the private sector, you would be given access to useful and easy-to-use software that would help you do your job better. Whether it’s software you rely on every day for your own tasks, or software adopted to help you engage with the company itself, “software is eating” corporate life. Expectations have become quite high for technology and how it can be used to increase productivity and reduce friction for day-to-day tasks. The large majority of the workforce would cringe at the idea of filling out paper forms or picking up the phone to make an appointment. Spreadsheets are quickly becoming passe, and email is becoming something to be avoided as much as possible.
The consequence of not providing government employees with the same software experiences they would have in a private-sector position is that it becomes much harder to recruit and retain talent. This creates a downward spiral that leads to increased turnover, loss of institutional knowledge, lack of mentorship opportunities for newer employees, increased training costs, increased risk, lower productivity, and so on and so on.
This pivotal moment in the workforce is why we have made it our mission to empower government professionals to ultimately elevate trust in public institutions. Giving employees software that has specifically been designed, developed, and delivered for operational excellence in government gives agencies the capacity to build a legacy that wouldn’t be possible with manual processes.
A lot of our business comes from word of mouth, such as employees transferring from one agency to the next and promoting the benefits of leveraging our specialized software. As valuable as this is, it’s disheartening to hear the state of play for a great number of agencies today. Consider what government employees have been dealing with prior to adoption of new software. How much better, and how much happier, could they have been if management had been more proactive about finding the best solutions to their problems? How many hours and how much money could have been saved by getting ahead of the issue?
In my next post, I’ll dive a little deeper into the role of comprehensive case management software for government professionals, and how, as a leader, choosing the right software can help improve workforce engagement and effectiveness and help you build your own legacy while helping others.
Benjamin Tingo is the Chief Legal Officer and Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at OPEXUS. OPEXUS (formerly AINS) is a DC-based GovTech 100 awardee whose mission is to empower professionals to elevate trust in public institutions through the design, development, and delivery of specialized case management software, including Open Government (FOIA and Correspondence), OIG Audits and Investigations, and Human Resources/Employee Management. Benjamin is a licensed attorney, with nearly twenty years of experience with complex civil and criminal litigation and as in-house GovTech counsel. He is also a member of NARA’s FOIA Advisory Committee and a volunteer firefighter.