But in many cities, that economic engine needs a tune-up. New digital tools – sometimes referred to as e-government or mobile government solutions – can drive more efficient service delivery. For example:
- City dashboards allow cities to measure progress toward stated goals against a set of key performance indicators (KPIs). With the help of KPIs, cities can continually monitor and improve their strategies.
- E-procurement moves the entire procurement process to an integrated electronic platform. This allows a city to get real-time access to a database of suppliers to make price comparisons. The Korean On-Line E-Procurement System (KONEPS) delivered an estimated $8 billion in savings in 2010. And the SmartPay program of the U.S. General Service Administration reports estimated savings of $70 per transaction ($1.7 billion annually) when electronic payments replaced written purchase orders.
- Electronic payment systems “digitalize” a city’s disparate payment mechanisms (licenses, social service payments, transit payments, parking meters) into an integrated whole, providing greater efficiency and better oversight. Electronic disbursement of salaries and benefits reduce costs to 60%, according to research by Council member MasterCard. Reducing the cash in a city’s ecosystem also reduces the grey economy, since digitalization provides more transparency and control while increasing collections.
- Advanced revenue collection and payment systems enable individuals and businesses to submit tax, application permits and the like online. These electronic forms and auto-fill features can save money and time while reducing errors. Cities can also strengthen compliance by integrating business analytics, big data, business rules and workflow. Some cities report revenue increases of 5% or more as a result.