Moving your paper applications online: evaluating costs*

Digital transformation in government is considered to be a major undertaking. We have seen serious moves in this area in the UK and it is brewing here in Australia with the establishment of the Digital Transformation Office.

Existing technology is part of the transformation agenda, and in our experience, is misaligned with the new, technology driven, real-time connected citizen. People nowadays prefer to do everything online. They expect high quality digital experiences. What do they often find when they come to deal with the government?
The old friend: PDF. In most cases they have to download, print out and fill it in.

In Australia, councils have 120-150 various application forms – registrations, permits, requests – and in the majority of cases only five to 10 of them have been migrated online.

The government costs associated with processing paper forms are significant. The labour costs start piling up from the moment a clerk opens an envelope: the form is screened for obvious mistakes and omissions, it is either filed or scanned and uploaded into digital storage, data from the form is entered into an internal system and so on. The bulk of enquiries received by call centres are questions about application forms.

There are many benefits of moving paper-based transactions online, such as saving time and money for customers, raising their satisfaction and trust. The more transactions completed online the higher the level of productivity of delivering public services, and the costs are significantly reduced.

We have created a simple online calculator which allows to estimate the Payback Period of ICT expenditure based on complexity of existing business processes and associated costs - localgov.fifthocean.com.au/payback-calculator. This calculator uses real figures based on our implementation experiences on all levels of government and businesses.

The cost of not investing in digital transformation is much higher, plan and act early.
* Copy supplied by FifthOcean