Cumberland County’s efforts to streamline efficiency via digital technology continue to pay off.
For the eighth year in a row, the National Association of Counties recognized Cumberland as a “top ten” leader in digital services, outpacing most other counties in its class.
The county, along with hundreds of others nationwide, participated in a 2012 survey that measured areas such as computing, networking, applications, data and cybersecurity, open government and mobile services. Counties were split among four population categories and then ranked according to the way each used technology to improve government operations and save money.
“We see more opportunity ahead to apply modern networking methods to increase efficiencies and improve service internally, as well as expanding the amount of records available to the public through computer access," Commissioner Gary Eichelberger said Friday. “We expect a lot of over-the-counter business to migrate online over time, which saves the public from the need to travel to the courthouse and can potentially reduce resources for counter staff that used to be needed to handle walk-in business.”
Eichelberger said digital technology holds great promise for improving resource management and increasing office productivity.
Commissioners Barb Cross and Jim Hertzler did not return requests for comment.
Survey results show 84 percent of participating counties are consolidating data centers, applicants and staff — 13 percent more than two years ago. About 80 percent are pursuing joint service delivery and 49 percent say they are implementing business intelligence and/or advanced analytics at the enterprise level — an 18 percent increase from 2011.
“It is all part of a growing trend to move government IT beyond the world of electronic records management and into electronic information management,” said Kimberly Samuelson, director of government strategy at Laserfiche Document Management.
Among the survey winners — 40 in all — about half use Laserfiche database management software, including Cumberland County.
“Document workflow and business process management are increasingly replacing attaching documents and emailing them,” Samuelson said. “As governments are forced to do more with less these technologies are becoming priceless in the pursuit of savings. It’s why they are so popular.”
To put it simply, Eichelberger agrees.
“In a tight financial climate, like that facing our county, these efficiencies figure heavily as we plan for the future and look to streamline functions without compromising service delivery,” he said.