As a government leader, one of your top priorities is to balance a large volume of policymaking with limited staff and resources. It can be challenging to keep track of policy projects, identify potential risks and ensure your team stays on course. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions such as Esper can give you the visibility you need to enhance your agency’s policy management.
In this buyer’s guide, we will walk you through key factors to consider when procuring the best policy management software for your organization.
How to choose your policy management software
If you’re considering investing in a technology solution to overcome the hurdles of policy management, it’s crucial to ask the right questions during the procurement process. Here’s a checklist of what you should ask:
1. Is it an end-to-end policy management platform?
The policymaking lifecycle involves many stages, so you need an end-to-end platform that supports policy research, drafting, reviews and publication. Many agencies end up cobbling together disparate solutions. This type of fragmentation creates unnecessary costs, friction (e.g., incompatibility between systems) and tech fatigue.
You should also make sure that your policy management tool is purpose-built for the public sector. Government agencies have unique requirements and regulations that are not present in other industries. For example, policy text usually has to be formatted in a very particular way, which varies depending on jurisdiction.
With Esper, you can consolidate all your policy lifecycle processes into one cloud-based platform. Not only is Esper an end-to-end solution but it’s also built with government agencies in mind.
2. Does it identify policies that require review?
You need to ensure that your agency’s policies are up to date and reflect the latest federal and state guidance. If policies are not reviewed regularly, they can become outdated and potentially put the agency at risk for legal liability.
Look for a policy management tool that is able to identify policies with repealed statutes, outdated references, upcoming expiration dates and more. Administrative code cleanup capabilities bring you economic benefits, too. For example, agencies can save legal fees by proactively addressing potential areas of liability before they become a problem.
With Esper’s citation tracker, you can flag outdated legal references and identify potential areas for improvement. You can also improve your policies by visualizing data insights such as policy engagement metrics (last updated, total views, average time on policy etc.) and policy complexity metrics such as reading level and text length.
Did you know that it could take over six hours to fully read certain policies? Learn how AI-powered regulatory technology can give you a faster approach.
3. Does it offer resource forecasting?
Many government leaders struggle to know where a policymaking project is in their team’s pipeline. Leadership needs visibility to better forecast resources. That’s why you should look for a policy management tool that can track team bandwidth and manage workload with a project dashboard that shows the status of active policies, progress towards, completion and a filtered timeline view.
With Esper, you can even visualize projects in a Gantt chart sorted either by time period or by individual.
4. Does it enable my team to collaborate in the drafting process?
A policy management solution that enables team members to collaborate in the drafting process is crucial to ensure efficiency and accuracy. Collaboration helps to reduce silos and administrative overhead. Two team members can work on the same policy at the same time, expediting the drafting process.
Without such a solution, the drafting process can involve a lot of back and forth in Microsoft Word over email and SharePoint. This workflow can lead to version control issues, misunderstandings and delays in the drafting process.
Keep in mind that multiple stakeholders are involved in the drafting process, including general counsel for legal purview, subject matter experts for content and executive director for signoff and strategic direction. A collaborative policy management tool can help bring these stakeholders together in one place, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and that feedback and comments are easily shared and tracked.
5. Does it automate workflows?
With automated task-based workflows, you always know what the next step is, where things are blocked and who is assigned what work in your agency. Esper automatically notifies you when a policy is ready for your review. This way, you eliminate messy email chains and save your employees’ time, which brings you cost benefits.
Esper’s Professional Services team ensures that each step of your policy lifecycle and associated tasks have the correct stakeholders, approval processes and timelines associated with the policy project.
6. Does it help me retain institutional knowledge?
A policy library can serve as a single source of truth where all your policies can be drafted, published, searched and analyzed. Benefits include more efficient collaboration, a greater focus on policy content and institutional knowledge retention. For example, if team members leave, the knowledge doesn’t go with them. Esper makes it easy for future staffers quickly ramp up.
Our policy library is not a typical document management system. It functions as the system of record for past, present and future policy. Users have the ability to access archived versions of policy to understand how policy evolves over time.
7. Is it easy to use, secure and compliant?
Having a modern, intuitive user interface is critical, so you can easily onboard new users and access your policy management platform from any browser with internet access. Esper’s cloud-based, collaborative document editor offers robust permissions so that only the right people can view and edit documents. By centralizing policymaking into one platform, Esper minimizes the risk of having multiple versions of policy referenced and reduces points of vulnerability for data breaches.
In addition, Esper has received Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRamp) authorization. This government-wide program standardizes security assessment, authorization and continuous monitoring for cloud solutions. By requiring government software providers to adhere to FedRAMP standards, agencies can have greater confidence in the security and reliability of these solutions. FedRAMP reduces the burden on individual agencies to conduct their own security assessments for each software solution.
8. Does it offer customer support and training?
Offering customer support and training can make a difference when it comes to ensuring successful implementation and ongoing use. Government employees may have varying levels of technical proficiency and experience, and having access to reliable customer support and training resources can help them use the policy management software effectively and maximize its benefits.
As part of Esper’s subscription, agencies receive dedicated customer support and training for all users. It’s part of the value we bring to your customers.
Drive policy management innovation with Esper
Be a champion of policy management innovation in your agency. Partner with Esper to address policymaking pain points, improve administrative efficiency and save money.
Request a demo to see our end-to-end policy management tool in action.
Frequently asked questions
Why should your agency invest in government SaaS solutions?
Government agencies should invest in software as a service (SaaS) to modernize their operations and save costs.
Among their benefits, SaaS solutions:
- Allow agencies to access high-quality software without the high upfront costs associated with on-premise solutions.
- Can be scaled up or down as needed, allowing agencies to easily adjust their usage and costs based on their changing needs.
- Offer flexibility as they can be accessed from any connected device, making it easier for government employees to access and use the software from remote locations.
- Are typically more secure than on-premise solutions, as SaaS providers are responsible for implementing and maintaining robust security measures to protect their clients’ data.
SaaS solutions such as Esper can give you the visibility you need to improve your policy management in government. Read our blog post to learn more about the benefits of cloud-based policy management over homegrown systems.
What are the best practices for purchasing government technology?
The best practices for purchasing government technology include:
- Get buy-in from all stakeholders. Engaging with all relevant parties, including agency leadership, IT staff and end-users, helps ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page regarding the need for new technology, the desired outcomes and the implementation process.
- Assess your processes, needs and requirements. Review existing technology infrastructure, identify areas of inefficiency or pain points, and determine how a new technology solution can address these issues.
- Determine your priorities upfront – whether it’s increasing efficiency, improving collaboration, reducing costs, enhancing security or improving customer service. This step is critical to ensure that the technology solution selected is aligned with your goals.