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GCN : January and February 2016
BEST PRACTICES: THE MODERN BACK OFFICE can’t provide that experience will lose out in the battle for their attention. At the same time, agencies often have strict compliance requirements. As a result, there are a number of hurdles they must negotiate that private industry often does not. The city of Chicago has successfully used technology to navigate these challenges. Chicago deployed an Oracle cloud solution to automate its hiring processes, enabling officials to reduce the number of candidates they need to manually screen by 90 percent, while also cutting the time-to-hire from a year to just 90 days. In the process, the city saves millions of dollars a year in recruitment costs. Finance and Procurement Government agencies award contracts after a competitive bid process, a labo- rious procedure that requires loading vendor catalogs and manually keying in items. This demands tremendous effort, and in many cases government purchas- ers simply bypass the rules and buy off contract, circumventing pre-negotiated pricing with vendors. In the process, that costs government agencies millions of additional dollars—taxpayer dollars. Cloud-based applications provide a guided shopping experience to help gov- ernment purchasers with procurement. Workers simply enter a keyword for what they need. They then see a list of ap- proved vendors along with the negotiat- ed contract prices. Procurement policies are enforced through this application, and all necessary accounting is complet- ed automatically. All the purchaser has to do is select the item. Even the tradition-bound world of government finance can profit from modern technologies, particularly with the often tedious process of period end closing and financial reporting. This process involves coordinating all involved accounting staff and ensuring they complete the right tasks in the right order. Social media tools can enable much smoother collaboration. They also automatically keep a written record of the process in case questions need to be answered after the fact. Task lists and sub ledger posting can be automatically mon- itored to ensure all steps are completed. Planning, Budgeting & Reporting There is no government function that stands to profit more from modern, technology-driven best practices than the budgeting process. The government’s budget sets the strategy and priori- ties. The budget needs to be accurate, inclusive and clear. The primary aspects of this process, preparing the budget, analyzing the costs and revenues, and communicating the budget all can be dramatically improved with modern technologies. Involving every level early is critical to understand their priorities. Modern cloud applications offer an intuitive, easy-to-use employee experience, letting the tool be used across the organization and at all levels. It simplifies and accelerates the process of engaging different departments and agencies that have input into the budget reporting process. Today, more government agencies are engaging citizens during the budget process using modern social collaboration tools. In addition, mobile devices can help quickly exchange information, collect needed data, and reduce face-to-face meetings. Cloud-based applications offer predictive and proactive analytics needed for real-time decision-making. The utility of on-demand, cloud-based predictive analytics makes it far simpler to see patterns in budget numbers and to sift through various what-if scenarios to get a better idea of different outcomes in different situations. That’s something budget departments have asked for over the years, but until newer technologies were developed, they weren’t easily or cost-effectively available. It is imperative that once the budget is created that it is communicated to all key stakeholders in a clear, concise format, especially for citizens. Using modern budgeting applications throughout the budget cycle allows for faster and more accurate report generation and budget book creation. It allows governments to provide the context needed, such as tables, graphs and narratives for the audience to better understand priorities. Conclusion All this points to a growing urgency government agencies face with regard to upgrading and integrating their back-of- fice processes with modern mobile, social and predictive analytics technologies. Modern best practices dictate their use, and government agencies that fail to embrace them will quickly fall behind in delivering the services employees and citizens expect. The cloud provides not only the opportunity to deploy those new technologies but also align business process to best practices. As government agencies shift to a cloud-first mentality the opportunity to achieve and main- tain best practices grows. Cloud-based applications create a mindset of constant change and innovation. “The preferred approach is for government to look at modern best practices and determine what needs to change internally to achieve the desired result,” says Sabo. “Oracle provides the modern technology and framework for our customers to get there. Things get exciting when the conversation shifts from what is happening today to what we should be doing tomorrow and into the future.” Oracle developed a website devoted to best business practices across industries and processess: www.oracle.com/modern-best-practice For more information, call: 1.800 .ORACLE1 Sponsored Content
March and April 2016