Sloane Wright is a senior vice president at Plano, Texas-based Tyler Technologies, providing technology, such as bill-pay software, to make government agencies, including departments of transportation, more accessible for businesses and citizens. He has led Tyler’s state divisions in Alabama, Indiana, and Florida.
The future of payments is digital, as more people than ever expect to purchase goods or services with digital options that are fast, secure, streamlined, and convenient. Citizens expect this same level of convenience when interacting with their government.
But that’s often not what they get. Instead, they get a different way to pay each time for utility bills, renewing driver’s licenses, applying for building permits or making business filings. This requires going to different websites with different logins for each payment. This siloed approach can create headaches and bad experiences for citizens, and – for governments – a payments program that is clunky, extremely slow, and vulnerable to human errors.
Let’s look at an example. Bob, a Georgia homeowner, finds himself interacting with various government agencies throughout the year. In fact, Bob finds himself logging on to a county utility website almost every month to make a utility payment and twice a year to the tax collectors’ website to remit property taxes. Additionally, Bob has decided to participate in the county fun run to kick off the spring season. Because the county’s IT systems don’t talk to one another, Bob (and the rest of the public) is required to find each of these websites and create accounts with the utility, tax collector, and parks and recreation department directly.
This means that Bob must manage multiple logins and payment methods, but also does not benefit from the efficiencies gained if the county remembered his information and account history every time he logged on. It does not see him as one resident who interacts with many services, but rather an interaction that lives in its own silo.
Increasingly, government agencies — and the people they serve — need a payments system that is connected across departments and jurisdictions. Governments and residents want simplicity. They want one payments platform for their entire community. They want technology equipped to modernize the public sector.
Let’s go back to Bob. If payments technology was connected throughout the county, Bob could simply create a single payment account, link to the applicable services and bills from a dashboard, securely store payment methods and establish auto-payment schedules for things like his taxes and utility bills. Plus, a transaction would be completed in an instant.
Without the infrastructure connectivity, Bob would be sent from one department page to another, where he would have to re-input all his data including his credit card information, and then pay for each service individually.
Payments illustrate how technology continues to transform the public sector. It simplifies inbound and outbound payment processes in local, state, and federal agencies saving valuable time and resources while maintaining the industry’s highest security standards. As an executive at a company that provides such services to governments, we believe such connectivity makes life better for people as they interact with the public sector.