All over the world, governments are challenged to create more value while holding the line on budgets. Whether due to austerity measures or political policy, government executives are under pressure to reduce costs while still meeting the needs of their constituencies.
Identifying what is most important to the customer is essential to this process, notes Liz Joyce, executive advisor at Gartner. “Leaders need to first understand the return of different services through the lens of the customer. Since not all services are equally appreciated by customers, leaders need to identify the activities that the function must do to deliver the greatest value.”
So, what do your constituents want? Easier access to government services online? Quick answers from municipal staff to their questions? Finding out what they need and want is your first step.
Joyce suggests that to make sustainable cost reductions – those that save money but still deliver desired services – “leaders need to shift their approach from driving efficiencies across all activities and instead make investments and cuts to resource the areas that are most valuable to the organization.”
Investing in the right places
One way to reach this goal is to reduce investments in hardware and software by moving computing resources to the cloud. With unified communications (UC), governments save money by using just the services they need, when they need them. More capacity? New features? UC can be scalable and flexible. With a push of a button, it’s there.
Consider, too, that legacy systems often cost more than they’re worth in support and maintenance. Worse, their inefficiency contributes to lost productivity. These conditions inevitably lead to unhappy constituents who aren’t getting the services they want.
5 ways to do more with less
Unified communications enables government employees to communicate efficiently no matter where they are or what kind of device they’re using – desktop PC, mobile, tablet or VoIP phone. Connecting via the cloud enables seamless communications.
Here are five ways UC increases government efficiency to meet the need of its constituents.
1. Collaboration. Public safety depends on strong communications. And whether it’s a natural disaster or a community event, UC solutions link first responders via mobile technologies and enable them to share rich data like video and photos – even with different communications devices.
2. Mobility. What if your employees were accessible to constituents no matter what their location? Some staff can’t be tethered to a desk phone: They need to be out in the field, attending community meetings or even just moving between offices. With a cloud-based mobile application, they’re available to the community just the same, logging into a web-based interface wherever they are. The result is more productivity, greater responsiveness to customers and additional cost savings for the municipality.
3. Managed services. What if you could get all this functionality but without the hardware or software investment? With unified communications as a service (UCaaS), there’s no hardware to buy since all services are delivered via the cloud. Now your communications costs shift from a capital expense to an operational expense, one that’s controlled by actual usage. There’s no need for multiple administration tools either. All functions are accessed via a single browser-based interface that is intuitive and user-friendly.
4. Scalability. No matter your customers need, budgets vary year to year. With UCaaS, you use just the bandwidth necessary at that moment and scale up or down as required. Are your services affected by seasons, with higher call volumes at different times of the year? Scale up when you need to and scale down when demand slacks off. Buying just the capacity you need lowers your total cost of ownership (TCO) over time.
5. CRM integration. Your constituents are accustomed to quick and efficient service from businesses. Cloud-based call centers enable your staff to route customers efficiently – or answer questions immediately. For example, call center staff can see on their computer screens which colleagues are available to help. Instead of transferring the caller to voicemail, they reach the right person immediately.
As pressure continues for government to deliver better services more efficiently, officials must find creative ways to meet their constituents’ needs. UC offers a solution that is scalable, responsive and cost-effective.