How dynamic case management can modernize citizen services
- By Alex Stein
- Feb 20, 2015
Government CIOs are under a lot of pressure to raise their standard of service, and not just from constituents brandishing smartphones.
President Obama’s 2011 Executive Order specifically urged agencies to advance into the digital age by offering “popular lower-cost, self-service options accessed by the Internet or mobile phone and improved processes that deliver services faster and more responsively, reducing the overall need for customer inquiries and complaints.”
Budget restraints create another strain – the relentless push to do more with less. CIOs know that major infrastructure overhauls are too slow, costly and fraught with risk. They are looking for easily deployed solutions that will adapt to frequent changes in politics, business and technology.
Cloud-based platforms require less intensive development resources, and software-as-a-service offerings can be updated and expanded incrementally. The ability to test upgrades and new processes without disrupting the course of business is essential to government agencies, most of which provide critical services to large populations.
Dynamic case management (DCM) solutions built on cloud-based platforms can create viable opportunities for government agencies to catch up in these areas.
DCM enables a unified, holistic and real-time view of case progress, agent workflow and performance metrics. Informed by business rules, case management processes can be customized to the particular type of service or investigation. Forms and documentation are integrated into workflow, intelligent decisions automated and casework routed efficiently. Tracking metrics helps managers by highlighting bottlenecks, service gaps and underperforming employees. Predictive analytics likewise detects areas of risk and aids longer-term planning.
Meeting citizen service requests and expectations and overcoming bureaucratic limitations are primary challenges for public-facing agencies and can be quickly and efficiently addressed with scalable, pay-as-you-go DCM solutions.
Meeting citizen expectations in a digital world
The combination of mobile devices and sophisticated business-to-citizen digital services has affected customer expectations well beyond retail. Citizens increasingly see themselves as government’s customers and are frustrated by the lack of responsiveness and accessibility they encounter. They want to communicate online via interactive web sites, mobile apps, email and text alerts.
Moreover, they expect consistency across all these channels. They want to be able to access their case histories and rely on agencies to track their interactions. The bottom line is that everyone wants faster resolution of inquiries and complaints. Opening up more online and self-service communication channels should relieve burdens on understaffed call centers and promote accuracy and accessibility.
Knowledge workers in government agencies are just as exasperated as the citizen-customers they aim to serve. They don’t have the tools they need to make decisions and deliver results. The information they need is stuck in silos, barricaded by aging systems that don’t play well together and are rarely connected to external sources.
DCM solutions give the modern knowledge workers mobility and flexibility, allowing them easier access to tools such as research, documentation, forms and case histories. These solutions, unlike traditional systems of record, can help agents handle structured, unstructured and unexpected work.
Predictive analytics, business rules and collaborative tools improve contextual, data-driven decision-making, optimize productivity and inform better employee training. Public sector knowledge workers empowered by DCM tools to better address constituent needs are likely to be more satisfied with their jobs. And improved workplace morale feeds back into more positive interactions with the public and lower turnover, which leads to significant cost savings.
The digital era brings with it an unprecedented amount of data in a dizzying array of formats. Data can’t just be collected, stored and retrieved; it requires indexing, integrating, searching, analyzing and sharing, all while adhering to privacy and security regulations. DCM can help agencies move toward end-to-end digitalization.
Social, mobile, cloud and data technologies open up a whole new world to agencies often limited by bureaucratic challenges. Gartner calls this convergence of digital powers the Nexus of Forces, and it is already driving innovation in government, especially at the municipal level. As government IT reinvents itself, DCM solutions will play a powerful role in establishing more interactive and productive relationships with the public.
Alex Stein is founder and chief strategy officer for Eccentex Inc.