Making the Case for Digital Transformation in a Resource-Scarce Environment
Everyone’s greatest asset is their time, and when Glendora, CA’s Finance Division made the case to Council for moving their budget process from analog to digital they focused on the metric that mattered most: the cost to the City.
In a year of revenue shortfalls, Glendora proved that justifying new expenditures is a matter of showing your work. The City’s simple and persuasive status quo calculus is replicable across all government types.
“By understanding the cost of our time preparing the budget and the cost in time creating reliable forecasting models while managing the risks of errors when using multiple manual processes, the decision to transform our processes and invest in OpenGov was fairly straight forward.”
June Overholt, Administrative Services Director, City of Glendora
>50% time and cost savings
900 hours of work slashed
Better compensation forecasting
Quarterly reporting capabilities
Showing Their Work
Digital transformation can feel too conceptual, but what it refers to is simply converting non-digital or manual processes (like Excel worksheet updates) to collaborative, cloud-based, and automated workflows.
For Glendora, adopting OpenGov meant having all key financial (and non-financial) data organized and in one place, accessible anywhere to folks across teams (with rules around who sees what), and built-in analytics capabilities that ensure error-free calculations.
When presenting to Council, Glendora staff focused on a few key factors: a multitude of manual processes amounting to 900 hours of work with an annual cost of $83,000 (or the total cost of adding a full-time Accounting Technician position).
“Time spent on preparing, formatting, reviewing, re-formatting, re-working, and all the steps required to create a budget document added up to a meaningful cost to our team and the City,”
Kyle Johnson, Assistant Finance Director, City of Glendora.
Revealing Hidden Costs
With shelves of books dedicated to organizational economics, and terms like ROI (return on investment) and TCO (total cost of ownership) bandied about, quantifying the cost of inefficiency may seem daunting for many local governments. It doesn’t need to be this way.
To keep it simple, Glendora focused on calculating the cost of creating the budget by adding up the time spent and applying a salary-based factor. This simple summation includes more complex calculations like the cost of errors that necessitated rework, the time to download data from across databases and worksheets to run analyses, and the time spent on redundant work required to perform multi-year forecasting
Savings from OpenGov
Reducing the level of effort and cost of building a budget and book is expected to yield well over 50% time and cost savings for Glendora. The City anticipates even greater savings in year-two as processes and methodologies continue to evolve.
With OpenGov, many local governments can rethink their cost and departmental structures in their second budget year. With increased clarity around overlapping or shared expenses, public sector leaders can more fully see the value of integrating functions.
Personnel costs are often the largest and hardest to get a handle on. Glendora will use OpenGov to enable better forecasting by automatically calculating changes across divisions preemptively and showing the precise impact of compensation changes which will improve negotiation costing.
With OpenGov, Glendora’s budget will evolve from a backward-looking static document to a forward-looking reflection of the community’s values with quarterly reporting and shared dashboards. More transparent CIP budgeting and tools for collecting and quantifying non-financial inputs from the community with OpenGov increase community awareness and engagement.
About the City of Glendora, CA
Known as the “Pride of the Foothills”, Glendora is nestled in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles County, California. With dozens of restaurants, cafes, shops and boutiques and small-town vibe, it tops local best-of lists year after year. A consistently high-ranking school district has made the city an attractive choice for families in the region.
Budgeting and Planning
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