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Mobilising Government Field Workers: Streamline Processes & Accountability With Mobile Apps

Leading analyst firm Gartner reported in their 2018 CIO Agenda Survey that digital transformation is the top-ranked business priority among governments in 98 countries around the world. In fact, the survey uncovered that digital transformation is more important for government departments than for other industries.

This global focus is a priority for federal, regional, and local governments alike as they face an ever-increasing challenge of balancing their need to be responsive with the need to streamline processes, eliminate inefficiencies, cut costs, and implement employee accountability measures.

High on the list of inefficiencies for many government departments is the use of paper forms in everyday fieldwork duties. Paper forms require a great deal of time and resources to organize causing project management delays, a backlog in work orders completed, inefficient processes, inadequate accountability, and increased costs.

Overwhelmed by the amount of paper in use, some local governments are now implementing and reaping the benefits of native mobile applications.

Purpose-built mobile apps eliminate the inefficiencies of paper forms which are often completed at a later time, not completed at all, or lost on someone’s desk.
The ease at which ‘low-code’ platforms allow for app creation empowers any non-technical worker to create custom forms for their teams out in the field. As remote workers use these (offline-capable) apps on their devices while still out on a job site, their managers can track their progress, review data in real-time and provide up-to-date reporting to the mayor, other city leaders, and ultimately the tax-payers.

Here are but a few examples of government field worker-specific apps deployed via these low-code platforms:

  • City Vehicle Inspection and Repair:  Increase efficiencies and decrease unexpected, costly breakdowns in the field with regularly scheduled vehicle repair. Include photos of broken or worn parts, the number of parts to be replaced, the cost of each part, the description of the repair, if the repair was completed or if additional parts will need to be ordered, the labor cost associated with the repair and the name of the person who completed the repair.
  • Landscaping Job Report:  Improve efficiencies by dispatching a team of landscapers to cut grass, trim trees, or plant flowers on city roads or in parks. The mobile form can include the job location, date and time the project was begun, the type of activity to be done, and if any additional services need to be implemented including fertilizer distribution or insect control. GPS limitations can also be put in place so the form can only be completed at the specific coordinates of the job.
  • Municipal Drinking Water Inspection: Provide a detailed checklist and sign off on the quality of municipal drinking water, levels of chemicals included, any solid waste which may be found, and corrective action which must be taken. This important data can be monitored in real-time and appropriate notification to government leaders can be made.
  • Fire Safety Inspection: Enable inspectors to examine restaurants, bars, high-rise office buildings, and other locations to protect citizens from potential fire hazards. Mountains of paperwork can be replaced by a mobile form which collects data on whether no smoking signs are posted, if electrical cords are in good working order and whether corridors and hallways are free of clutter. The inspector’s signature and corresponding photos can also be included.
  • Accident or Injury Report: Immediately document, track and report on field worker injuries which may occur on the job. This includes the location of the incident, initial assessment of the severity of the injury, if the incident was reported and to whom, how and when it occurred, if immediate action was taken on the scene and where the worker was taken for additional treatment.

These are just a few examples of how purpose-built mobile apps can help your city’s field workers increase efficiencies. The possibilities are endless. They can make it easier and more cost-effective than ever before to streamline your government’s operations.

Mobile Apps for Government; A Win-Win for Everyone

A great example of a government department embracing mobile app technology is the state of Hawaii. They went fully paperless in 2015 and its reported that that the initiative has simplified document processing across the eight main islands. It has also resulted in significant cost savings, productivity boosts, document tracking improvements and stronger security measures.

Another example is when Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington, D.C., initiated the 8th Annual “Potholepalooza” — a six-week campaign to fix the city’s potholes — the district had a plan in place to coordinate and track the progress of its workers in a whole new way….

Typically, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) hires additional repair crews for the duration of the campaign to fill potholes within 48 hours of being reported. Over previous years this was an arduous process involving field crews filling out numerous paper surveys and job sheets then capturing the results manually at the end of each day. Due to the sheer volume of paper forms being captured, progress reports and the like were often delayed leaving managers and tax-payers frustrated and clueless.

This time around however, work crews were able to use apps on their mobile devices with GPS, Media and job-dispatch technology to confirm when jobs were completed and snap pictures of the repairs. The devices were connected to DDOT’s live service request database. Managers and tax-payers alike could track the repair status on their website.

To satisfy the requirements of your managers and remote workers, mobile apps can be used as a comprehensive tool, efficiently pushing electronic data to the field at the appropriate time and collecting custom data on a given project for on-demand reporting and analysis. Using low-code, drag-and-drop technology, there’s no need to take existing software developers off other important projects or hire expensive external consultants.

The number of communities around the world harnessing this technology is growing. You too can be a responsive and proactive government department while simplifying municipal processes and demonstrating to tax-payers that hard-earned dollars are being well spent.