The citizen experience upgrade network admins should start

The private sector is setting expectations with the omni-channel, but it’s a difficult shift for government, IDC says

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citizen experience

Even Third Platform strategies can backfire.

In April, the New York City Police Department asked citizens to tweet their own photos of New York’s finest with the hashtag #myNYPD. Within hours, hundreds of photos and videos were tweeted depicting apparent police brutality.

NYPD’s hashtag fail shows why governments have been slow to shift to an omni-channel model, said Scott Lundstrom, group VP of health, financial and government insights at IDC. He made the remark during a recent webinar on delivering government services through an omni-channel model using the Third Platform (mobile, social, cloud and big data/analytics).

“As organizations begin to engage in these technologies, they do find they’re hard. They do find that they need to be managed and monitored,” said Lundstrom. “So this channel shift doesn’t happen overnight. But it is important.”

It’s important for governments to make the shift, he said, because citizens (a.k.a. consumers) have become accustomed to a highly personalized experience on Facebook, Amazon and Twitter, delivered to them through channels of their choice.

“They really do expect government to keep up,” said Lundstrom.

So far, governments are lagging behind private sectors like retail, he said. No kidding. How come a personalized coupon hits my phone as soon as I enter a store … yet I have to retype my personal information onto multiple online forms at government websites?

Listed below are some reasons why, according to Lundstrom and his IDC colleague Masimiliano Claps. They also suggest what governments can do to catch up – and how network administrators can help them.

Risks: Hijacked hashtags aren’t the only risks governments face in adopting omnichannel. Dealing with citizens’ personal data also presents special privacy, security and compliance risks that are unique to the public sector. In fact, privacy laws will have to be revised around the world to make government use of big data and analytics more effective, said Claps, IDC’s research director of government and health insights for Europe, Middle East and Asia.

Progress: Despite obstacles, some governments are making headway. The United Arab Emirates has decreed that all government services must be available via mobile by 2015. The U.S. is trying to streamline and standardize security clearance for private cloud vendors through its Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). In Italy, a push toward omnichannel means 30 per cent of all government services will be delivered in collaboration with commercial partners by 2015.

What’s next: Beyond omnichannel and Third Platform lies the Internet of Things, said Lundstrom. Some city governments are already combining IOT sensors and big data to make public services proactive, not just responsive. In Boston, a city fleet drives through streets scanning license plates; alerts are triggered if the plate owner has outstanding fines, taxes or arrest warrants.

For network admins: Lundstrom had some advice for government network administrators …

– make sure suppliers can support the addition of future channels and the corresponding integration requirements, keeping compliance laws in mind

– do big data pilot projects with an eye toward personalized citizen experiences

– deploy cloud to make those services more scalable (and accessible by mobile)

“It’s a holistic view that it’s not one process or one department that needs to get better but that the whole city needs to be smarter – the whole city needs to be more information-driven and more focused on creating value out of information,” said Lundstrom.

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