Today, nearly every task can be accomplished instantaneously using a mobile device. Town of Gilbert, Arizona embraced this model of self-service and began modernizing its services by digitizing it’s government forms. By focusing its digital transformation efforts on improving the customer experience, the Town of Gilbert was able to implement innovative solutions that provided constituents and employees with the tools and resources they needed during an unprecedented pandemic.
At the DocuSign Public Sector Symposium, Eugene Mejia, the Town of Gilbert’s Assistant Chief Technology Officer, explained that the goal was to create a more intuitive process for people to access government services while providing more transparency. “We really place an important emphasis on making sure that we give our customers [and] our team the tools they need to be successful,” Mejia said. At a high level, Mejia explained that their team’s focus with these changes is to “provide the highest quality services we can to our community.”
Before the town began this digitization process, constituents would have to print out a PDF document, fill it out, and then bring that form into the correct municipal office to be processed. However, when everyone began working from home during the pandemic, the ability to remotely fill out and submit forms for government services became crucial. As a result, the Town of Gilbert decided to prioritize the digitization of critical forms that would help keep businesses afloat.
Knowing where to start and which forms to prioritize required a thoughtful approach. In an interview, John McVay, an application analyst with the Town of Gilbert explained how their team created a ranking system for prioritizing and processing forms that needed to be digitized. “As we transitioned into a remote and hybrid work environment, it was critical to identify those forms that were still being handled on paper and bring them into DocuSign – especially forms that were being submitted by the public,” McVay said. “After that, we started targeting forms that people were filling out and then emailing for processing. If we can fill out a form electronically, why can’t we include a workflow and e-signature at the same time and save ourselves some time?”
During this prioritization process, the Town of Gilbert discovered a need for streamlining workflows by consolidating and centralizing the intake and ranking prioritization process by creating a Center of Excellence (COE). This COE empowered municipal employees to come up with innovative solutions for improving processes and creating a better customer experience. By looking at the volume and usage of specific constituent forms, the COE was able to streamline the process of prioritizing the digitization of constituent-facing forms. The COE also made it easier to analyze and get insights on the types of data being collected from these forms to improve constituent and employee data privacy.
After implementing these changes, the Town of Gilbert conducted a survey to determine the success of their transformation efforts. What they discovered from this feedback was that constituents found the form application process to be more intuitive and that there was more transparency about the availability of government services. By modernizing the form application process, the Town of Gilbert empowered its citizens with better user experience and more security when requesting government services.
One example of the program’s success is that the use eSigniture forms made it easier for the Town of Gilbert’s firefighters to manage and streamline medical forms necessary for annual physicals. When the firefighter’s medical forms had to be submitted in a paper-based form, they would often get lost or damaged in the process, creating more work for the firefighters and their doctors. Switching from paper-based forms to digital forms improved the cybersecurity and physical security of firefighters’ medical forms and personal data. With eSignature forms, firefighters can fill out their medical forms digitally and share them with the town offices and the medical offices.
Mejia believes that innovative changes are made when municipal agencies are willing to collaborate with their communities and surrounding jurisdictions to find new ways to improve government services with technology. Mejia attributes the program’s success to the hard work of municipal employees and their partnership with DocuSign. “We want to move past that transactional relationship and really build a key partnership with those that we’re working with in the public-private space,” Mejia said. “That way, we ensure that we have everything we need, and leverage the expertise, tools, and [best in class] research that [comes from collaboration], because we can’t do this alone.”
Learn more about tools government agencies can use to securely digitize and streamline document creation and workflow management here.