As the new Industry Strategist for the U.S. Public Sector at OpenText™, I want to bring you some insights that I think really define how I view the market. And a lot of these thoughts come from being a citizen, just like you.
My one-year anniversary as a homeowner is approaching, and I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve learned so far about this major life event, including the small stuff like how not to miss trash day again. My excuse was that I knew I could wait until the morning, since several weeks prior pickup times went well into the afternoon. Not only was it not the case that morning, I also didn’t know the quickest way to find my neighborhood’s pickup schedule.
That brings me to ask, are you familiar with the Department of Public Works? Or let me be clearer; prior to being a homeowner, were you aware that the name of the city or county department that handles upkeep of your town’s infrastructure is called the Department of Public Works? No one told me, so I’m letting you know in hopes you avoid similar confusion.
Audio Q&A with LaRel Rogers, New Sr. Industry Marketing Strategist, U.S. 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 readily identified or delivered at the same level from one community to the next. To address trash pickup times, and every other city or county service, government websites must become ‘frictionless’, or what Deloitte describes as offering ‘one-click’ shopping to access services with little to no effort. Deloitte also urges that governments’ commitment to digital include personalized and anticipatory design and experience.
Some U.S. municipalities have started to move towards a new way of seamless service delivery. Let’s look at Florida’s Miami-Dade County and its award-winning example of the benefits that a digital citizen experience can bring.
Delivering ‘borderless government’
Citizens in Miami-Dade County can access the service they want without needing to know which department provides it. This powerful, self-serve model is what the county calls ‘borderless government’ because it cuts across bureaucracy. Miamidade.gov portal navigation is now structured by category, made possible by OpenText™ TeamSite™ backend tagging and classification capabilities. The site, now citizen-centric and omni-channel, hadn’t been redesigned since its original launch in 2001. To support hundreds of services delivered by more than 70 separate departments, the team took inspiration from ecommerce sites where AI and analytics recommend products or services that are of interest.
This included introducing a search box that connects the citizen to the content or service they need without ever having to know which department delivers 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, taking pressure off county employees and contact centers.
Embracing ‘mobile first’
Key to the success of the new portal was the transition from a solely web-based service to encompass mobile capabilities, as today’s citizens are more likely to use smartphones to browse and access services. In addition, Miami-Dade used data-capture templates to structure content for voice and augmented agents such as Alexa and Siri to further enhance omnichannel accessibility. Today, more than 60% of portal traffic comes from mobile devices.
An evolving personalized experience
Miami-Dade has added intelligence to its portal through AI that helps surface information for users as well as find other information that may be relevant. In addition, with a personalized miamidade.gov profile, users can create custom settings to receive SMS or email alerts for things like recycling day reminders (I need this), transit service or hurricane warnings.
The more a citizen uses the portal, the more the county can personalize its services, anticipate citizen needs and engage with them in a timely manner. This has become a process of continual improvement.
The way forward
As with many other sectors, the pandemic accelerated digital transformation within government. Understandable that trash day doesn’t qualify as a life event or a high-impact service. But no matter what service or level of government you work in, delivering better digital citizen experiences that maximize your resources and empower your workforce is the way forward.
Learn more about Experience Platform for Cities from OpenText, specifically designed to provide all the tools you need to drive deeper and richer citizen engagement.