As we saw in the previous post, governments know they need to make online experiences more flexible and responsive. But many put off needed upgrades for years. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, making workers and citizens even more reliant on online processes. As a result, nearly three-fourths of global government officials accelerated their digital transformation, a Deloitte survey found. Nevertheless, 80% of the survey respondents said their efforts haven\u2019t gone far enough.\n\nOne of the biggest barriers to change is the sheer complexity of backend systems \u2014 governments deploy a vast labyrinth of services which, to a large extent, operate independently. But \u201ccomplex\u201d shouldn\u2019t have to mean difficult to use \u2014 or difficult to change. In this post, we\u2019ll outline a path for simplifying systems and bringing them together in a way that creates a secure, smooth, and far more efficient experience for front-end users and developers alike.\n\n1. Adopt a flexible, cloud-based platform.\n\nGovernment systems often operate on technology created before the cloud existed. There\u2019s often very little uniformity between departments and services, which acquired or built different technologies at different times.\n\nThat may not look like a problem to employees in sanitation or tax collection, for example, whose everyday experience with technology is consistent. But it\u2019s radically different for citizens, who must log on to separate websites or hunt through menus often organized with different hierarchies \u2014 and even with commonly used services that can be hard to find. Even colors and fonts can be a hodge-podge of different types, which can disorient a user and lead to mistrust.\n\nA cloud-based platform offers the opportunity to turn all this around, adapting services and programs to users, rather than vice versa. Templates can standardize design and user interface, and navigation can be based on usage, discovered through analytics. Also, implementing a responsive design \u2014 one that adjust and adapts to a user\u2019s behavior and context based on screen size, device, and orientation \u2014 allows governments to continually adjust.\n\nPerhaps best of all, the flexibility and scalability inherent to the cloud lets governments easily add or change services and manage demand in times of need, such as a health crisis or a natural disaster.\n\nFor example, a major federal European Union tax office used HCL\u2019s Digital Experience platform to quickly implement an application to handle COVID-related tax delay requests, which processed 40,000 requests in a single week during the pandemic. Even without an emergency, needs and services change over time or expand and contract depending on what\u2019s happening in the world.\n\n2. Build adaptive security controls.\n\nCyber threats change, too, and they\u2019re getting more serious. The cost of public sector data breaches rose nearly 79% between 2021 and 2020 as companies switched to remote work. Add to this, the challenge that most remote workers intend to keep working that way going forward, according to Gallup.\n\nCloud-based platforms can be designed and built for this complex reality, with an architecture that can incorporate multifactor authentication, role-based access controls, and sophisticated threat detection systems \u2014 as well as enable governments to support remote work with confidence.\n\n3. Eliminate drudge work with automation.\n\nMany governments still use time-consuming manual processes for accounting, onboarding, and other basic operations (think spreadsheets). With the right digital experience platform and cloud solution, it is easy to create automations and tweak them to fit existing processes, saving employees time and the organization money. Smart documents, fillable PDF forms, and other software-driven processes save time and cut down on frustration for citizens.\n\n4. Foster continuous improvement with AI and analytics.\n\nCloud-based analytics give government administrators an accurate real-time view of how workers and citizens are using their systems. Over time, the insights they collect help them make better technology decisions, such as eliminating bottlenecks or adapting chatbots to respond to problems. Governments that get started with AI now will be better positioned for the future as the technology continues to evolve and takes on new capabilities.\n\n5. Avoid the hazards of over-customization.\n\nAll government processes are unique to some degree, but it\u2019s important to resist the urge to reinvent the wheel. Bespoke, custom solutions can take years to create and are extremely expensive. Choose a platform that is broad enough to handle the complexity of your offerings, but flexible enough to accommodate your specific requirements. And make sure the IT team can maintain it on its own.\n\nThough government systems have many moving parts, operating them should not have to be complicated. Moving to the right digital platform will allow your staff to shift its focus from processes to people, creating a better experience for all.\n\nFor more information on a digital experience you can trust in the moments that matter, click here.