The public sector isn’t idolised for the way it does business. Governments are often criticised for their lack of adoption of new technologies and their slow response times. While the times have been changing for a while, current events have accelerated the need for public agencies to adapt to a changing world.
The current trends
The global demands on government are changing. Aging populations are straining systems and resources. Developing nations are stepping into their own, and demand is rising to match. People are migrating in larger and larger numbers. Outbreaks like Covid-19 are putting pressure on governments like nothing else we’ve seen before… and the list goes on.
At the same time, citizens have come to expect more from their governments. In fact, according to Accenture, 85% of citizens expect the same or higher standard of quality from government services as they do from commercial organisations. With customer experience becoming a core metric of performance, most governments have only recently started to catch up with the implications.
From pressures to downsize, to changing hardwired beliefs, the public sector has its troubles ahead of it. Governments are looking to modern tools that have been spearheaded by private enterprise for some time now, to allow them to make up the difference. Using technology to respond quickly and accurately to citizen requests and update services to meet their changing needs, the public sector hopes to bridge the gap.
Challenges that the sector faces in meeting customer expectations
Governments are working to overcome some impressive challenges. Some of them are systemic, while others are technical or social.
- Outdated systems can’t handle the huge waves of demand that come from the public. A modern example of this is when the U.S. healthcare website launched only to crash the first day due to massive traffic.
- Battling technical debt is something that governments have struggled with. Refusing to update archaic systems has crippled their capacity to work. Avoiding the pain of redoing the half working processes that are being used isn’t something they can avoid any longer.
- Case management skills in the public sector often aren’t effective. Employees need the ability to address inquiries securely while still being efficient. They need access to the information needed to answer a question from a system that allows them to clearly see everything relevant about the person they are speaking to.
All of these challenges have been exacerbated by the events of this year. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is making vulnerabilities even more obvious.
How they are addressing these challenges
To meet the changing demands placed on them, governments are finding new ways to become more efficient. The expectation is for them to use technology to be able to do more with fewer resources and find new ways to help employees be more productive with less effort.
The public sector knows that the option of raising taxes or cutting spending elsewhere isn’t attractive. So, they are learning to put in place the drastic enhancements in efficiency needed to offset the initial costs of changing infrastructure and workflow processes. With solutions like Salesforce and MuleSoft that enable them to create a fully integrated environment and get a 360o view of citizens, they are leveraging the best capabilities of a modern CRM approach that is already widely adopted by private organisations. At the same time, tailor-made, out of the box productivity features, allow an agency to adapt and implement these necessary changes quickly and prove ROI faster.
Governments are reaching to create a different relationship with citizens. They are adapting to compete with the private sector in terms of customer service. They are working to put people at the heart of their services and looking to increase accountability.
The way that governments handle data is shifting too. The data they collect and make decisions from it are changing. In the past, the public sector had little visibility at what was happening on the front lines. They are using new tools to inform their decisions and drive the improvements in efficiency they need to stay relevant.
They are collecting, managing, and using data in smarter ways that are closer to those seen in their private counterparts. They are learning to plan more long-term to tackle issues that can’t be handled within a few years.
This means embracing the cloud and creating omnichannel communication avenues across departments. Options like centralised portals and databases allow for personalisation and self-service. Process automation is taking over as they become smarter at what they do, lowering the turnover times of workflows and the amount of busywork that goes into a system.
They are learning to analyse what they do to improve performance. Reporting is starting to happen in real-time, giving workers the opportunity to identify problems and stop them before they become too big to handle. Automation features like those found in Salesforce allow governments to create automated workflows and processes themselves without technical knowledge.
Integrating AI is allowing these changes to happen faster. Laying a solid foundation will allow for sweeping changes to happen without the panic of developing an entirely new infrastructure. Salesforce’s ‘Einstein’ feature is already deployed and being used to give more clear insights to its users.
Security continues to be imperative. These concerns are being built into systems from day one. Encryption keeps all transmissions secure, preventing sensitive or personal information from falling into the wrong hands. Security keys and two-factor identification are becoming standard, and that’s just for a start. With a government cloud already in place, Salesforce already follows government requirements like:
- FedRAMP Authority-to-Operate
- ATO for Defense Information Systems Agency Impact Level 2 (DISA IL2)
- Impact Level 4 (DISAIL4)
The public sector is starting to acknowledge the pressure to change as dictated by budgets and citizens. Thankfully there are already tools that have already been successfully tested and proven by the private sector, that can effectively resolve the extensive needs of government agencies. If governments can continue to adopt these technologies, they stand a much better chance of overcoming their current challenges.
If you would like to find out more about how Coforge can help you leverage Salesforce and MuleSoft to improve efficiency and citizen engagement, give us a call or email us at Salesforce@coforge.com
Other useful links:
Why local governments need digital transformation
Guide: Performing a Successful Technical Debt Assessment in Salesforce