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How to Make the 21st Century IDEA Work for You

New legislation can actually save you time and money

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The 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (IDEA) is the latest in a series of laws aimed at improving citizens’ public service experiences. The legislation, which passed on December 20, 2018, sets clear milestones for departments to modernize their internal and external systems.  

A critical area of the law, for example, requires departments to transition from manual, paper-based processes to digital services—and to increase the use of digital forms and electronic signatures. Specifically, it requires each agency to:

  • Submit a plan for accelerating the use of electronic signatures by June 20, 2019
  • Make all federal paper-based forms available digitally within the next two years by December 20, 2020

Understandably, many agency leaders may find these additional rules to be disruptive and cumbersome.

But there's a silver lining: The new law gives agencies permission to innovate.

Agencies that look beyond the law will uncover a number of hidden benefits. Making forms available for printing via a downloadable PDF and using digital signatures are good first steps. But departments that go a step further can improve processes and workflows, drastically increase citizen and employee engagement—while creating efficiency and lowering costs.

Top 4 benefits agencies can achieve with modern forms and signatures

The primary objective of the 21st Century IDEA is to improve citizen experiences. But transitioning to electronic signatures and digital forms can also add value to your department's internal objectives as well. 

In short, digitization speeds up response times, onboarding, and processes for citizens. And in today’s fast-paced environment where citizens have higher expectations, the need for improvement is high. 

Here are four ways you can add value for your department through modern updates:

  1. GAIN MORE EFFICIENCY: Disparate, paper-based, manual processes are slow and inefficient. When you digitize your department’s operations with an integrated, cloud-based solution you can speed up delivery, enable a mobile workforce, reduce workflow errors, and empower employees with real-time data. For example, the State of Hawaii reduced their transaction time to less than 300 minutes using Adobe Sign.

  1. SAVE MONEY: Many government agencies have resisted adopting new technologies due to constrained budgets. But the truth is, you can realize exceptional cost savings through digitization and cloud-based services. Indeed, according to the President’s Management Agency (PMA), there are more than 23,000 different forms inside the federal government that lead to 11.4 billion hours of paperwork annually!

Try out this digital transformation savings calculator to see how much money your department can save through digitization. 

  1. DELIGHT CITIZENS AND EMPLOYEES: Today's citizens are frustrated by often slow, fragmented, and inefficient experiences and services. Understandably, they expect the convenient, efficient, mobile-friendly service experiences they get from private sector companies. By providing citizens with modern e-signature solutions and access to forms they can fill out online, you will be able to improve customer services. 
     
  2. PROTECT CITIZEN DATA: For government agencies, protecting citizen data is critically important. But outdated technologies and paper documents make your agency vulnerable to security threats. Moving your processes to the cloud can provide increased security.

Adobe Document Cloud solutions have been stringently vetted to maintain appropriate security levels for government agencies.

Meeting the 21st Century IDEA requirements doesn't have to be hard.

At Adobe, we understand the challenges the 21st Century IDEA creates for government agencies. Dealing with the new mandates and compliance standards—and getting employees to adopt new processes—is tough. Indeed, just knowing where to begin can be a challenge. 

We can help set you on the right path.

Adobe Document Cloud for Government offers a holistic suite of solutions that lets you optimize your digital transformation to improve efficiency and reduce costs, with fast time-to-value. Most agencies already have Adobe Acrobat, which can be integrated with tools like Adobe Sign to immediately improve your digital form and signature experiences. Work with Adobe experts to build in stages, as budgets and timelines allow.

Find out how to get started today