Digital Transformation In Local Government: A New Perspective

Philip De Bruin and Allen Yaxley, managing directors at Business Engineering, share a new perspective on digital transformation in local government and how it will enhance services, increase efficiency, and foster citizen engagement. Ultimately shaping smarter and more connected communities.

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Presented in collaboration with Business Engineering

Episode Summary:

  • 00:00:00 In this section, the co-founders and managing directors of Business Engineering, Philip De Bruin and Allen Yaxley, discuss their journey and the work they do in the field of digital transformation in local government. They explain that they started the company in 2003 with a focus on electronic records management and statutory compliance, particularly in the public sector. Over time, they expanded their services to include business process optimisation and the digitalisation of processes and services. They emphasise the importance of managing the entire business process, from conception to completion, in order to effectively manage records. Looking ahead, they discuss their growth, how they met through a mutual friend, and their vision for the future.
  • 00:05:00 In this section, Allen discusses his initial meeting with Philip and how they decided to form a partnership. They talk about their focus on the local government market, particularly on compliance issues. Over the years, their business evolved, and they decided to expand their operational footprint by acquiring a successful company in the local government financial system. They integrated this business into their operations and are excited about bringing their solutions to new customers. They highlight their ability to meet the requirements of National Treasury and believe they have an ERP for local government in not just South Africa but also other African countries. They acknowledge the challenges faced by the public sector, particularly in enforcing compliance and having domain knowledge. They try to circumnavigate these challenges by focusing on business process optimisation.
  • 00:10:00 In this section, they discuss the importance of domain knowledge in solving problems in local government. They highlight how different organisations and municipalities have varying approaches to processes like supply chain management, which makes it difficult to identify and solve problems without sufficient understanding. They also emphasise the value of building a library of processes and working as a collective team to tackle the numerous challenges faced. Additionally, they mention the successful deployment of portals, specifically the building control portal, which allows architects to submit building plans electronically. This has significantly streamlined the approval process and enabled architects to participate in projects remotely, thereby accelerating revenue generation for municipalities.
  • 00:15:00 In this section, the speaker discuss the challenges and importance of mobile apps in local government. They emphasise the need for multiple interfaces to communicate with the municipality and how an app is just the beginning of solving the issue. They explain that by deploying structured workflow processes, they have optimised the service request process and ensure proper feedback is given to both the reporter and the municipality. This not only improves communication but also helps the municipality manage their internal operations more effectively. The goal is to provide consistent and efficient service to citizens, avoiding erratic service levels among different individuals. Allen relates these efforts to the concept of Smart City strategies, where stakeholders can interact with local government without physically going to their offices. The overall objective is to fulfil the municipality's mandate while assisting the community in feeling that they have a channel to communicate with the municipality.
  • 00:20:00 In this section, they discuss how local government municipalities are implementing digital portals for various services. The most widely used portal is the building plan portal, where the majority of municipalities in the Western Cape only accept applications through the portal, eliminating the need for paper-based applications. The focus of the Smart City strategy is not only on the internal operations of the municipality but also on electronic communication with stakeholders. They emphasise the importance of collaboration between the public and private sectors in streamlining processes and reducing red tape. They highlight initiatives such as retail production and simplification of permits for street vendors, waste management, and event management. By implementing the right technology framework, decisions can be made quickly at the local level and have a significant impact.
  • 00:25:00 In this section, they highlight the challenges of applying for business licenses, where applicants currently have to apply separately to both the local municipality and the district principality. They express the desire for a future system where one application automatically splits to different authorities for permit approval. They also emphasise the importance of the district development model and the benefits of seamless collaboration between municipalities and districts. The speakers mention success stories of deep integration and improved service delivery in municipalities such as Mossel Bay and George. They acknowledge the challenges but express satisfaction with the improvements in service delivery and customer satisfaction. The Collaborator App helps with this.
  • 00:30:00 In this section, they emphasise the importance of digital transformation in local government, particularly in optimising business processes and utilising resources more effectively. They highlight, with examples, the long-term impact that digital transformation can have on municipalities. This showcases the significant and lasting impact that digital transformation can bring to local government.

About Business Engineering
Business Engineering is a leading consultancy on public sector strategy and transformation, in both local and national / federal environments.

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