Digital Transformation in the Government Sector

How traditional governments are reshaping an outdated reputation and driving true innovation with no-code

Use no-code to:

Reduce project complexity in the SDLC

Dramatically reduce time-to-market

Build new systems with minimal maintenance times

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Reputations are meant to be broken

Government organizations have a tough time compared to businesses in the private sector. Budget restrictions, bureaucracy, and complex core systems are massive hurdles that projects must overcome to see the light of day. It's this red-tape that places modernization on the backburner and has left governments with a reputation as outdated, slow, and frustrating to work with for citizens and investors alike.

Unfortunately, the traditional challenges aren't going anywhere because strict processes are a necessity in government. This is why innovators within the sector are embracing technologies like no-code, which provide smart solutions to everyday challenges, rather than attempting to bypass established processes.

By addressing the core issues of software projects such as complexity, time-to-market, and cost, no-code is allowing a very traditional sector to rapidly modernize core systems or even create new lines of business to serve increasingly digital-focused citizens.
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Challenges

Changing the status-quo

Governments are held to an extremely high standard by investors and citizens which means strict procedures are an absolute must.

For projects both in and outside of IT, the approval process is lengthy, with bureaucracy and budget limitations preventing any major development from ever even being considered.

Instead, third-party solutions that only cover 70-80% of a government’s needs are implemented as quick wins that only add to monthly costs and cut into already limited budgets.

Challenges in government

  • Regulatory red-tape limits communication between developers and innovative thinkers
  • Large scale projects have limited buy-in from investors
  • Return on investment is difficult to quantify
  • Wide-spread "If it ain't broken, don't fix it" mentality
  • ±70% of IT budget is dedicated to maintaining legacy systems

What are the key innovation drivers?

Competition isn’t exactly a motivating factor for the government sector. Rather, innovation is driven by the demand for more effective systems and processes to improve municipalities, cities, or lifestyles as a whole. Advanced technologies are therefore more focused on bettering experiences and optimizing processes across the board — while driving down costs, of course.
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Process automation 

With hundreds of processes in motion over multiple departments, any level of inefficiency creates an exponential time-cost for government workers, citizens, or partners. Likewise, optimizations through smarter software, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), or no-code platforms support rapid application development (RAD).

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Flexibility and affordability

According to a 2018 report by Granicus, “nearly three in four respondents (73 percent) said they were being asked to accomplish more with less budget”. The need to derive maximum value from technology and licenses has led to widespread no-code adoption, thanks to the agility of platforms like Betty Blocks and the comparatively low monthly fees that come with them.

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Community enrichment

Social services in any form play a vital role in a government’s operations. Put bluntly, happier, more engaged citizens are less of a financial drain on a government's resources than those without the means to communicate their problems effectively. No-code tools like Ikzoekjeugdhulp.nl which enable open, real-time communication between parties help by preventing real issues before communities or people are severely impacted.

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Connected data and analytics

Governments generate and collect immense amounts of data to literally keep a country running. Because of this, major steps are being taken to move information from local, decentralized servers to the cloud. Common Ground, a provision in the Netherlands, is one of the largest scale examples. This movement is set to enable cities, municipalities, and services to use their collective information for the betterment of hundreds of processes.

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Shorten time-to-market

Speed and flexibility are an absolute must in the digital revolution. No-code platforms support RAD and enable professionals to build any application up to eight times faster than via traditional development methods. Due to the extremely short time-to-market, a no-code platform, combined with the RAD methodology is perfect for testing and further developing effective web applications.

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Reduce project complexity

Governments are typically traditional organizations where change on any level must be justified to decision-makers. This is a project killer for IT, who’s projects are difficult to quantify or explain to those outside the sphere. Simplification in the software development life cycle (SDLC) that helps stakeholders understand the process and components therein, can dramatically increase buy-in.

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How Zaanstad made sustainable innovation possible with no-code

When the city of Zaanstad required a new system for its youth care services, senior information manager Tom Uleman saw an opportunity to invest in future-proofing the organization's infrastructure. Tom explained the city's frustration in being reliant on third-party tooling: “We had a vision on how youth services should be handled in the region but no available software could support this vision. The application didn’t exist yet.”

The solution
So Tom and his team decided to develop it for themselves using Betty Blocks’ no-code platform. They had the first version of the application in just 10 days. Once live, the application increased administrative efficiency for youth care programs by 40%. And where the GWS system required 10 backend developers to operate, Zaanstad now only needs 4 to maintain.

The initial youth care application was so successful that the City of Zaanstad has now replaced a total of 7 core applications with Betty Blocks in 3 years. Today, the change has them rethinking how they approach their IT projects entirely and enables them to keep innovation at the forefront of the sector. “It’s about doing and experimenting,” says Tom.

“With the Betty Blocks applications at the core of our youth care administration, we save €620,000 annually and we've emerged as a leader among municipalities.”

Tom_Uleman Tom Uleman, City of Zaanstad Senior Information Manager

80% faster development speed

No-code played an integral role for Tom Uleman in making sure this and future software projects could be undertaken despite the usual constraints in the sector. Where traditional development would have taken 11 months and incurred the cost of full-stack programmers, Tom’s no-code solution took just 1.5 months from start to finish. Combined with zero maintenance requirements, Zaanstad not only saved budget on the development, but saves €620.000 annually in operational costs.
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No-code in the government sector

Zaanstad isn’t the only city embracing RAD tools like no-code to rapidly modernize its IT infrastructure. The Netherlands has new provisions like Common Ground to facilitate large scale data sharing while the Smart Region Consortium in the USA is implementing Internet of Things (IoT)-based solutions across entire states. How are governments making this happen while some private companies are struggling? Let’s take a look at what Betty Blocks does to make it all possible:
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Secure and trusted

Security is always important, but in the govenment sector, it's especially crucial. The Betty Blocks no-code platform is ISO27001 certified and is recognized by top industry analysts. Combined with our secured-by-default methodology, citizens and government bodies can rest assured that all data captured is 100% protected.
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Recognized by analysts

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Betty Blocks is named as a Strong Performer in the Forrester Wave™: Low-Code Platforms For Business Developers, Q2 2019

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Betty Blocks is named as a Visionary in Gartner's 2019 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms

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Betty Blocks is named as a Leader in The Forrester Wave™: Mobile Low-Code Platforms for Business Developers, Q3 2018

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Government and citizen development

With Betty Blocks' drag-and-drop interface, municipal workers or even citizens can contribute to building innovative software solutions. Read more about citizen development here.

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Enterprise-grade certainty

With powerful no-code tools and the flexibility to implement advanced code, no application or tool is out of reach. The only limit is your imagination.

What now?

‘Smart’ is a word that gets thrown around a lot in governments. Smart cities, smart waste management, smart systems… you name it. This is the vision that nations around the world are striving towards and with smarter tools like Betty Blocks at their side, the mission is far closer to becoming a reality than ever before.

Making the change happen will depend on whether innovative minds are able to prove the potential of non-traditional technologies to do the exceptional for governments and citizens alike.

Read our government-focused whitepaper to uncover specific examples of organizations that have made true innovation possible with no-code.
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