Just as we are bombarded with more and more information, so is our government.
Whether it be city, state or federal, our government is drowning in paper.
There is a process in place for most of the information that is generated even though it may be informal. At a very minimum, information is created, approved and stored. Most often, that information is moved from one activity to another. At some point, it will end up in its final resting place. More often than not, that information will be in paper form.
Over the last 25 years or so, companies have been moving towards an electronic version of these processes. Governments haven’t made much progress.
Keeping it simple, I see several kinds of information: forms filled out in pencil, documents typed by someone in the government, documents created in the private sector and sent to the government, and electronic data captured in some fashion. In each case information is created, approved [implicitly] and stored somewhere.
Imagine removing 1 hour from the process of creating, approving and storing information within the federal government. I hazard a guess that there are more than 1 billion documents created or changed within a year. 1 billion hours at even $20/hour amounts to a large savings. I would also guess that the billion number is way too small.
Where could we find that hour, let’s look at a simple example: If a citizen could fill out a form on a computer, it would not need to be re-entered. It would have fewer typos and be more accurate. And, upon submission it could be sent to others or stored in the proper location electronically.
Automating the government will not be an easy or quickly accomplished. However, it is time for the automating to begin.
That is just my opinion and I could be wrong.