Applying better services without another app
- By David Squibb
- Jan 04, 2017
Government agencies communicate with thousands of internal and external employees, clients, citizens and constituents every day. The missives are often strictly regulated, which can lead to bottlenecks in day-to-day communication. To be more responsive to the needs of citizens, public-sector leaders are turning to customer relationship management solutions like Microsoft Dynamics.
Microsoft Dynamics explained
Microsoft Dynamics delivers CRM through five applications: sales, customer service, field service, project service automation and marketing that can work together or individually. It is IIS-based and can be accessed via a browser or installed with Outlook (either as a plugin or via server-side synchronization for POP3 or SMTP-based email servers). The Outlook synchronization is how Dynamics CRM manages replication of information between the central CRM database and the local device. It also works with the rest of Microsoft Office and SharePoint.
In October, Microsoft released Dynamics 365, cloud software that combines CRM with enterprise resource planning software often used for financial, manufacturing and supply chain management. Dynamics 365 includes new applications that comb through data stored in any Microsoft document, an existing CRM/ERP system and social media sites like LinkedIn to provide organizations with business insight and sales leads.
The 365 platform can streamline communications and processes related to constituent relations by managing external and internal communications or enabling development of custom applications for clients.
In the public sector, everything from noise complaints to potholes must be logged and routed to the right employee, who then must provide a solution, budget and implementation. When these requests are tracked digitally, it makes for a more seamless, efficient and cost-effective experience for all parties.
Without realizing it, most government agencies already have the tools they need to enhance communications while complying with laws and regulations. These Microsoft Office users can extend and augment existing Microsoft Dynamics tools with platforms like 365. Microsoft developed the Dynamics XRM solution on top of the original CRM platform to add functionality that addresses the “X” factor -- services to external users who are not what are traditionally considered customers.
Some state and local governments are using Dynamics CRM to achieve cost savings, streamline operations and transform the delivery of citizen services. For example:
To address a spike in tourism related to the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., the city customized its permitting solution with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to reduce the burden on IT resources, automate workflows and create a more efficient event application process.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals used Dynamics CRM to modernize case management for the Office of Adult and Aging Services. The customized platform consolidated 109 existing processes to just one and gives case workers and citizens a unified solution for intake, assessment, electronic plan of care and ongoing case management.
Organizations like Interpol are using the CRM platform to equip law enforcement, intelligence agencies and emergency services with a system that allows access to services and rapid partner solution development. The “Citizen Safety Architecture” incorporates familiar Microsoft tools to deliver emergency response, transportation and border control, physical security and disaster and crisis management.
Grant management, task management and offender management also can be improved with CRM solutions.
The IT department of the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General supports a variety of complex business needs, but it did not have the resources or time to build new resource-intensive solutions. Rather than deal with multiple vendors and lengthy sales cycles, CIO George White decided to use the Dynamics CRM and XRM platforms, which allowed his team to keep application development in-house.
As of September 2016, White’s team had built 25 custom applications for various constituents and clients, with another 20 in the works. CRM cut 75 percent of development time by automating features like role-based forms, custom entities, workflows and searches. By spending less time spent on such commonplace tasks, the software developers and programmers can dedicate more time to customizing applications to meet the client’s unique needs.
In another situation, the North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety used Dynamics CRM to streamline the processing of alcohol and lottery permit applications by allowing employees to fill out and process forms while in the field. The automated workflow reduced the time required to process a group of applicants from five days to one, an 80 percent productivity increase.
By expanding existing platforms and digitalizing manual processes, agencies can improve performance even when budgets are stretched thin. For any public-sector organizations, that kind of efficiency is key.
David Squibb is chief sales and marketing officer for Xpertdoc.