The Federal Workforce is Shrinking—Let Technology Help

Agencies could turn to platforms that help manage the information employees currently manage and process.

The Office of Personnel Management recently reported a decrease in the number of active federal employees, which poses a significant challenge for agencies that are as busier than ever.  This reduction in staff needs to be counteracted in some way, and many agencies are seeking to use technology to address this—but how?

One solution could be in an agency’s approach to content management. A large number of activities that federal employees are tasked with revolve around managing the massive amount of information that an agency now has to manage and process. A content services platform could help. As opposed to traditional technology-led solutions based around managing documents only, content services encourages and facilitates the active use of all types of digital assets, including documents, images and video, which in turn allows individuals and teams inside and outside an organization to manage, collaborate and disseminate content easily and securely.

By modernizing their approach to content management, agencies can recognize numerous benefits as the federal IT workforce evolves and work becomes more complex. Here are just a few.

1. Manual processes are streamlined to improve productivity.

Consider the massive number of information assets like images, files and documents that an agency has to sort and tag to conduct search-related tasks. These manual processes are time-consuming and with a shrinking workforce, agencies don’t have the luxury of wasting time.

Modern content services platforms that are integrated with artificial intelligence technology can automatically tag content items in large quantities, and to a much deeper level of detail than humans—reducing the human interaction required but also making content much easier to find. Such a platform can also streamline administrative functions like scanning and filing, and extracts the most critical information from documents and systems. Without these labor-intensive tasks on their shoulders and with the right information at their fingertips, government employees can find and deliver information to citizens in a more personalized manner.

2. Information and content can be shared across agencies.

For agencies that operate on legacy systems, content resides in multiple repositories that restrict flexible, centralized management and access. This is challenging for agencies that need to share information to end-users and citizens alike. We have all experienced situations where we hear “sorry the information is in a different system”—but all too frequently this is the case.

By connecting information stored together with a content services platform, agencies can share information and content across the agency internally and externally as well. A more connected and intelligent approach to content management means government employees can collaborate from a central hub yet in harmony with legacy systems. This ensures that government workers have access to and deliver the correct and most current version of any information asset at all times.

3. Employees can focus on mission-critical tasks to better serve citizens.

Perhaps the most important benefit of a content services platform is that it frees up government workers to focus on tasks of greater value to their overall mission. By taking time away from manual processes and by enabling cross-agency collaboration, agency employees are free to focus on tasks that require a deeper level of thinking—which is increasingly important as federal employee numbers dwindle. A modern platform can deliver faster time-to-value, which can keep citizen satisfaction high as the federal IT workforce continues to shift.

Looking Ahead

Overall, modernization is changing the way people work and emerging technologies continue to play a fundamental role in shaping government. Agencies need digital systems that support mobile and cloud, and that can quickly and efficiently manage the spiraling volume of modern digital content types like videos, photos and social media.

From a content management perspective, updating information systems can positively affect the federal workforce by opening up opportunities for existing employees. It can also give government a leg up when looking to attract stronger tech talent. Moving forward, federal CIOs should analyze their content management processes and evaluate how modern technologies like a content services platform could position the agency for future success.

Bobby Hangliter is the director of federal business at Nuxeo.