As a new industry strategist for the US public sector at OpenText ™, I want to bring you some information that I think really defines how I see the market. And a lot of these thoughts come from being a citizen just like you.
My first birthday as an owner is approaching and I have reflected on what I have learned so far about this major life event including the little things like how to never miss Garbage Day again. My excuse was that I knew I could wait until morning as several weeks before pickup the pickup time extended well into the afternoon. Not only was that not the case that morning, but I also didn’t know the fastest way to find my neighborhood pickup time.
This leads me to ask, do you know the Department of Public Works? Or let me be clearer; Before you became a homeowner, did you know that the name of the city or county department responsible for maintaining your city’s infrastructure is called the Department of Public Works? No one told me, so I’m letting you know in the hope that you will avoid similar confusion.
Audio Q&A with LaRel Rogers, New Industry Senior Marketing Strategist, US Public Sector
According to the American Public Works Association (APWA), while some public works services are considered “must-haves” in every community, they may not be easily identified or delivered at the same level from one community to another. To adjust garbage collection times and all other city or county services, government websites must become ‘frictionless’, or what Deloitte describes as offering “one-click” purchases to access services with little or no effort. Deloitte also calls for governments’ commitment to digital to include personalized, forward-thinking design and experience.
Some American municipalities have started to move towards a new, seamless service delivery method. Let’s take a look at Miami-Dade County in Florida and its award winning example advantages that a digital citizen experience can bring.
Offer a “government without borders”
Miami-Dade County citizens can access the service they want without needing to know which department provides it. This powerful model of self-service is what the county calls “government without borders” because it transcends bureaucracy. Miamidade.gov portal navigation is now structured by category, made possible by OpenText ™ team site ™ backend tagging and classification capabilities. The site, now citizen-centric and omnichannel, had not been redesigned since its initial launch in 2001. To support hundreds of services provided by more than 70 separate departments, the team was inspired by the sites of e-commerce where AI and analytics recommend products or services that interest you.
This included the introduction of a search box that connects the citizen to the content or service they need without ever having to know which service provides it. Subsequent user research showed that 75% of citizens said they were able to find what they were looking for and 69% were able to complete their task on the first visit, relieving county employees and contact centers.
Adopt “mobile first”
Key to the success of the new portal has been the transition from a web-based only service to mobile capabilities, as today’s citizens are more likely to use smartphones to navigate and access services. Additionally, Miami-Dade used data capture models to structure content for voice and augmented agents such as Alexa and Siri to further improve omnichannel accessibility. Today, over 60% of portal traffic comes from mobile devices.
A scalable personalized experience
Miami-Dade has added intelligence to its portal with AI that helps feed information back to users as well as find other information that may be relevant. Additionally, with a custom miamidade.gov profile, users can create custom settings to receive SMS or email alerts for things like recycle day reminders (I need them), service transit or hurricane warnings.
The more a citizen uses the portal, the more the county can personalize its services, anticipate citizens’ needs and engage with them in a timely manner. It has become a process of continuous improvement.
The path to follow
As in many other sectors, the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation within government. It is understandable that the trash day is not considered a life event or a high impact service. But no matter what department or level of government you work in, delivering better digital experiences to citizens who maximize your resources and empower your workforce is the way to go.
Learn more about Experience platform for OpenText cities, specially designed to provide all the tools you need to foster deeper and richer civic engagement.