When it comes to government services, many of us expect that we still can’t do everything online that we can do in person. And often, the online service portals that do exist lack much of the functionality and seamless user experience we have to come to expect from the online and mobile app experiences we use every day.

There are currently approximately 323 million citizens in the U.S. As of 2012, there were approximately 87,525 separate local governments, which means that, on average, each local government services almost 3,700 people. Each of these entities serves constituents with not only differing expectations for service delivery but also different levels of technology experience. Some people prefer a brick-and-mortar setup, while a growing segment prefers online services. 

To be fair, online government services have matured considerably in the last decade. But, despite the surge in digital service delivery, according to a 2017 survey of 1,200 government officials by Deloitte, citizen satisfaction in those services has fallen to an eight-year low. 

And why is that? In a report on technology platforms for digital governments, Gartner tells us that it is due to three main reasons:

  1. Legacy government systems and processes, often in silos
  2. Difficulty developing agile digital initiatives
  3. Funding levels that force CIOs to choose between maintenance and innovation

These three issues, plus others, contribute to the difficulties local governments have when it comes to developing smart, connected cities and digital services, an effort that Juniper Research says could save residents as much as 135 hours each year.

We can help you realize significant cost savings in your design, development, testing and deployment efforts, freeing up funds for those innovative projects you have on your to-do list. As for numbers one and two, we’ve got you covered there, too. 

State of App Dev in Local Government Research Findings

Every year, OutSystems surveys IT professionals and reports on the state of application Development around the world and in all major industries. This year, more than 3,500 respondents from more than 116 countries told us what they’re working on, what their goals are, and what keeps them up at night.

If you’ve thought maybe you’re on an island and wondered if your troubles are yours alone, wonder no more. The same challenges that local governments are facing are universal. Here are a few of the highlights.

Apps, Apps, and More Apps


Local Government

Big Backlogs Are Still a Burden

Local Government

Bigger, Stronger, Faster, Smarter: A Low-Code Regimen for Local Government

We now know that state and local government IT teams aren’t doing that much better or worse than their counterparts in the private sector in terms of workload. But we do see that they are benefitting from low-code.

Organizations using a low-code platform are 21 percent more likely to say they are happy or somewhat happy with the speed of application development. And they are almost 50 percent less likely to report app delivery times that take more than 12 months. In fact, 15 percent of low-code users say they are delivering apps in four months or less. In an IFTTT world, it stands to reason that if a low-code platform like OutSystems can help other vertical markets, it can certainly bring additional value to local government efforts.

At the heart of this success is speed. OutSystems increases development times as much as 10 times. And for organizations who are either already agile or that want to adopt agile methods, OutSystems enables them to iterate quickly to keep pace with changing customer needs or regulatory pressure.

Why is that important? Agile teams are geared for speed. Faster feedback cycles loop into faster, iterative updates, which means shorter delivery times, which makes everyone happier.

Agile + Faster = Happy

According to our SOAD report, low-code users are 15% more likely to rate their agile maturity a “3” or better. We also know from experience that rapid application development allows for more agile IT teams that can address feedback and adapt quickly, whether that’s making changes to software or addressing resource issues. Let’s see how respondents ranked themselves in terms of agility.

All respondents:

  • Investments in agile tools and services in the past year yielded a maturity score of 2.6 out of 5.
  • Investments in DevOps tools and services in the past year yielded a maturity score of 2.44 out of 5.

Public sector respondents:

  • Investments in agile tools and services in the past year yielded a maturity score of 2.37 out of 5.
  • Investments in DevOps tools and services in the past year yielded a maturity score of 2.36 out of 5.

For reference, here is the rubric used for these responses:

Local Government
Agile Maturity Model

An agile strategy for government IT teams is espoused by Gray Brooks, senior application programming interface (API) strategist with 18F, the U.S. federal government agency charged with delivering digital services and technology products.

Brooks said of organizations 18F consults with, “We want anyone who’s interested to be able to quickly throw together a prototype, share with the team, with stakeholders, and with potential users, and truly fail fast. Then, iterate [a design] until you can release it and create a feedback loop.”

OutSystems can help local and state government IT teams do exact,y that, just as we’ve done with city governments. One of our favorite examples is the City of Las Vegas.

City of Las Vegas Uses OutSystems to Modernize Services and Support 600,000 Residents

Following an extensive back-end systems overhaul, the City of Las Vegas wanted to modernize its front-end delivery system to support new apps for city workers and for residents. In just three months, the City moved from ideation to the deployment of a new field service app that enhances communication and increases the productivity of the city’s many inspectors. Based on the initial project success, the City has embarked on a series of new, community-enhancing apps and services using OutSystems.

Learn more about how the City of Las Vegas is pioneering digital modernization for local governments across the U.S.

Want to Know More?

Learn more about OutSystems for local government and see how we can help make digital transformation a reality for municipalities across the U.S.