Jenifer BondJanuary 19, 2021

5 Critical Ways Governments in the U.S. Should Digitize in 2021

As we close out one of the most volatile years in recent history, government institutions must become more efficient, resilient, and reliable to deliver better quality of service and increase public trust. There’s no longer a choice in the matter. To better meet public expectations, we need to reinvent how public service works. Here are five critical ways U.S. governments should start digitizing in 2021:

  1. Innovate with new ways for citizens to obtain critical services, now and after the pandemic: This is how we helped Minnesota-based Olmsted County create a virtual waiting system for citizens needing to take care of basic tasks, starting with driver’s license renewals. Using Avaya OneCloud CPaaS, the county can send automatic notifications to people reminding them of their appointment date, what their timeframe is to be served, what place in line they are in as they wait in their car, and when to enter the building to meet with an employee. The county recently expanded its use of the solution to other departments for services like passport renewals and obtaining vital records (i.e., marriage licenses, birth certificates), and is now coordinating with the Olmsted Public Health Department to get ahead of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
  2. Leverage automation and AI virtual agents to speed up Contact Tracing and Case Investigation: We have talked at length about applying AI and automation around patient identification and communications as part of Contact Tracing and Case Investigation. You can learn more about this here and here. You can also check out the story of how Texas-based Harris County Public Health increased its number of positive COVID-19 case investigations by 25% using Avaya OneCloud CPaaS. There’s also this blog I recently wrote on the business case for using AI-enabled bots in government. Lots of great resources to dig into!
  3. Digitally redirect calls to the mobile Web for a mobile app or mobile browser-based service experience: Agencies can detect when calls are coming from a mobile device and deflect them to a mobile self-service experience to help offset huge increases in inbound call volume and optimize their budget for IT spend. If the caller agrees to be redirected to the mobile experience, the call will drop and the person will be sent a text message with a link to related information (i.e., a COVID-19 FAQ or a video for what to do if you test positive). Agencies can even suggest nearby testing or vaccine site locations based on the home geography of the device the person is calling from (this is huge, considering that the rollout of the first COVID-19 vaccine is underway). This is also huge for agencies that handle unemployment benefits, some getting over 20,000 calls a week with callers being placed in the phone queue for hours.  
  4. Leverage cloud-based notifications to get people the information they need fast (and vice versa): We’re almost a full year into the pandemic and most people still don’t know what information to trust. How quickly can children spread the virus? How long should you quarantine if traveling out of state? Do you need to get tested if asymptomatic? There are plenty of resources available to get these answers, but they aren’t exactly easy to find and there’s a lot of complicated, bureaucratic language to sift through. Another option outside of digital redirection is to send proactive notifications that can give people the information they need and update them as developments continually change. This can be related to policy measures to contain infections (school closures, restrictions on mass gatherings, travel bans), healthcare (appointment reminders, follow-ups, arrival check-ins) and other public services like public transformation and education (i.e., notifying parents of when the bus is running late or school closures for holidays or bad weather). Avaya OneCloud CPaaS allows these notifications to be customized with optional response tracking and auto-forms to capture information that helps improve critical decision-making. For example, health providers can include a post-COVID-19 vaccine survey for people to safely report side effects.
  5. Create a long-term plan for UCaaS as COVID-19 reshapes the workforce: Governments went from never going remote to rethinking their entire business model overnight. Within three weeks of the outbreak, four million DOD and military workers were working remotely. Even as government offices reopen, the majority are looking to use secure cloud services to enable remote work in the future (not just working from home but working from anywhere). Jerry Dotson, Avaya’s VP of Government Solutions, puts it best: “The idea of a seamless work environment is not a temporary fix to the challenge of remote work. Once agencies begin taking full advantage of UCaaS capabilities, they will most likely not want to go back to the so-called ‘normal’ way of doing business.” This is exactly what happened for Alta California Regional Center, a private, non-profit corporation working under contract with the State of California, Department of Developmental Services. Driven by the pandemic, the organization shifted from its on-premises phone system to our cloud-based video meeting and team collaboration solution, Avaya Cloud Office, and is now looking to use the solution as part of a semi-permanent shift to remote work.

Digital government is better government. Learn more about Avaya OneCloud for transforming U.S. government services.

5 Critical Ways Governments in the U.S. Should Digitize in 2021

Jenifer Bond

Jenifer is the Area Sales Leader, US SLED (State, local and education government agencies) at Avaya. She is an accomplished, high energy sales leader with over 20 years of proven success. Jenifer has been consistently recognized for exceeding sales goals with a customer centric approach. She has a passion for building high performance sales teams.   

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