iPads in (Municipal) Government

Apr 03 2012

An increasing amount of agencies have gone (or are considering going) paperless via tablet devices such as iPads. Besides looking cool, the reason is obvious; for the multitude of benefits and efficiencies it provides.

Several cities are considering funding only a portion of the new technology, therefore making the employee responsible for a portion of the expense. Implementing new technology has never been so creative!

City Council members and/or staff will no longer need to search through thick agenda packets of memos, contracts and reports at their meetings. Instead, they finger-tap through electronic documents on sleek, lightweight iPads. The paperless agenda process is made simple with the iPad and apps such as “Dropbox” and “iAnnotate.”

The cost savings seems to be the primary reason an increasing number of agencies are utilizing iPads, thereby replacing other costly (paper) processes. Depending on the usage, the cost savings the iPad provides can be significant.

Many cities are using iPads to replace their paper Council agenda management processes. For example, most people do not realize just how costly a City Council meeting is until they conduct a cost analysis comparing the price of printing agenda material vs. uploading them on an iPad. One would be surprised at the result! By purchasing iPads, Brea was able to reduce the printing costs for Council agendas substantially from 24 to four (4) packets. With each packet averaging at 200 pages, this equates to saving approximately 4,000 pieces of paper per Council meeting (eight reams!), in addition to the staff time spent printing them.

The savings doesn’t stop there. Brea’s Executive Staff have been using iPads well beyond council meeting agendas. The iPads have become an integral part of management’s daily work processes. Instead of seeing several binders of paper at council or management meetings, it is now commonplace to see the simplicity of the iPad as its replacement. iPads are also replacing laptops to conduct presentations with the help of apps like “Keynote,” “Pages,” and “Numbers,” to name a few.

Minor workflow changes will be necessary in order to fulfill the paperless objective, but the advantages are demonstrated by your organization’s end result in the benefits obtained with the savings of time and money.

-Amber Ahlo, BreaIT Analyst