Technological Confluence Can Foster Organizational Confluence: The Case Of The Smart City
Technological confluence fosters organizational confluence. In other words, when technologies combine in new ways, the siloed, bureaucratic structures of the past require updatingin business or government. The synergy between new and newly connected technologies creates a multiplier effect. But it also creates the need to break boundaries, as the digital, connected universe of information forces together previously independent activities and organizational structures.
Take a smart city. In the past, any city public works department could operate reasonably effectively in an independent silo, repairing roads, clearing snow, maintaining streetlights, and so on. But in a hyperconnected city, data is collected and shared to optimize everything from traffic flows to garbage pickup to streetlights. This can, in effect, force various city departments to work more closely together, both from a technical and organizational perspective.
Now take it up a level. In order to maximize mobility, the city would work with the regional transit district, the airport authority, and private companies including ride-share, bike and scooter rentals, and more. To best serve citizens, establishing a unified, multimodal payment system makes sense. But it also requires breaking down technical and organization boundaries in a grand confluence of information and operationsa meeting of the virtual and physical worlds.
What A Successful Interaction Looks And Feels Like
Government agencies should aim for the kind of contact response that leading corporate centers strive to achieve: quickly and accurately identifying the caller or website visitor, retrieving relevant and up-to-date program or enrollment information, and carrying that information through the whole transaction, all the way to resolution. Its about solving peoples problems without making them jump through unnecessary hoops.
Historically, the most common measures of contact center performance have focused on speedthe time a caller spends on hold, for instance, or the length of time a representative spends on each call. The drive to answer calls quickly or to finish a conversation fast has in many cases ignored the most critical quality measure: Did you satisfactorily solve that persons problem?
The ultimate gauge should be successfully completed transactionsideally without requiring a human agents intervention. To achieve that often means having robust human-technology intervention.
Constant collection and use of feedback
Empathetic and trusted technology
Technology can help. AI is making chatbots more conversational and anticipatory.5 Pairing AI with human-centered design principles can markedly improve callers IVR experience6and peoples attitude toward both automated phone systems and the agencies behind them.
Making automation feel human
The Nine Government Transformation Trends
Since launching five years ago, the Deloitte Center for Government Insights has focused on the ongoing transformation of government. This trends report is informed by research, surveys, and Deloittes work in the trenches with governments worldwide, which give the center a unique horizon scanning capability.
The nine trends we highlight in this report have three things in common: First, they focus on government operations instead of policy issues such as immigration or health care. Second, each trend has moved beyond pilots and experiments and has begun to penetrate the heart of government. Third, they are all global in scope, happening in both developing and more economically advanced nations to varying degrees.
Accelerated digital government: COVID-19 brings the next generation of digitization to government.
The pandemic changed digital from nice-to-have to must-have for governments. To meet the surge in service demand while operating virtually, governments have accelerated their digital journey along three major dimensions: scaling digital infrastructure, creating a more digitally savvy workforce, and investing in citizen connectivity.
Seamless service delivery: Personalized, frictionless, and anticipatory.
Location liberation: Adaptive workplaces in government.
Fluid data dynamics: Generating greater public value from data.
Government as a cognitive system: Using hindsight, real-time data, and foresight to drive policy and decision-making.
Lets make this work.
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Government Today: The Impact Of The Great Confluence
Inventions such as the printing press and the automobile made profound impacts but were relatively slow to proliferate. In the United States, the Ford Model T rolled into production in 1908. But the interstate highway system, which was needed to realize the automobiles full potential, wasnt signed into existence until 1956 and was only completed in 1992.
In contrast, the internet, and later the smartphone, transformed business, society, and government in less than 30 years . Tech advancements are bringing about social impacts at a rapid pace. As complementary factors are added, the impact is magnified due to the confluence of different elementssome technological, some not.
These examples illustrate the importance of confluencethe coming together of disparate streams to create something new. When synergistic tech innovation is combined with social forces and government actions, the impact can be shaped and amplified.
The Challenge Of Adopting New Paradigms
People dont simply decide to embrace new paradigms. These fundamental changes take hold when the old paradigms no longer fit a new reality, or when clinging to an outdated paradigm produces unacceptable results. Only then will public perception adapt to the forces coming together in our rapidly advancing future demanding change.
There is evidence that these new paradigms are starting to take hold in the emerging trends that can be observed in government today.24 These new paradigms can serve as high-level guides on how policies, organizations, and behaviors should change. But make no mistake: Making these shifts the norm, not the exception, will be a massive challenge, culturally and institutionally. Nevertheless, COVID-19 has demonstrated that government can changeand change very quicklywhen necessary.
The Drivers And Building Blocks Of Change
Historically, most technological advancements have helped make existing processes a little better, a little faster, and a little cheaper. Today, disruptive technologies can create entirely new approaches that were once unimaginable. These new technologies can feel like magic. They break long-standing trade-offs and enable us to easily accomplish what was previously difficult, costly, or simply impossible.
Rapidly changing technology infrastructure, in turn, is radically transforming the way people live, how our society operates, and how business gets done. The changes brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution are producing dramatic shifts in human behaviorsfrom diagnosing diseases to cultivating crops.
Technology and societal factors often combine and coevolve, with technology prompting changes to society. The invention of the automobile, for example, spawned more teenage freedom, allowed people to leave cities, and changed the pace of life. The introduction of the birth control pill accelerated changes to societal norms around sexuality and marriage.
Learn More About ‘insights To Action’
Insights to action is a community for sharing proven ideas during a time when government agencies are almost universally experiencing disruptive change. It shares insights from trusted leaders with extensive experience and diverse perspectives on leadership, strategy, business operations, innovation, and emerging capabilities.
Insights to action helps leaders and managers look again at the challenges and opportunities that come along with the evolution in government.
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Customer Experience In Government
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Hcd Helps Gsa Assist Fraud Victims
The General Services Administrations Technology Transformation Services has used HCD to improve the customer experience for those reporting scams to the USA.gov website.
Americans lose more than US$1 billion annually to various scams. The TTS team was charged with improving the USA.gov website to make it easier for these victims to report their situations and obtain assistance. Using HCD principles, the team invited 32 people who had previously contacted USA.gov about scams to a workshop to learn about their experiences.
Based on insights from actual users, TTS created an easy-to-use chatbot to provide personalized experiences. Within a month after launch, the chatbot had handled more than 4,000 inquiries seventy-eight percent of users had asked a question and received a satisfactory answer. Handling routine inquiries in this way allows contact center staff members to devote more time to more challenging issues.2 The lesson? Getting the input of actual users can help make self-service simple.
Not all tech solutions are created equal. Automated menus with confusing choices can be off-putting and frustrating. And customers who dont speak a regions primary language often have been ill-served by automation.
The use of artificial intelligence , including natural language processing, is transforming tech-based service, making it possible to deliver great service at low costs. The contact center of the future is expected to use technology as a service tool.
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Case Study: Texas Health And Human Services Commission
In 2011, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission simplified this process by installing a statewide integrated system that aggregates eligibility for various federal and state programs by using an integrated rules engine. This allows a single mother, for example, to apply for multiple benefits with one application. The system rules assess the programs for which she may qualify based on her income, household size, and other factors. With more people from all income levels becoming comfortable with mobile transactions, HHSC began exploring how it might bring its integrated eligibility functions to the mobile arena.
Older models of IT development might have entailed a multiyear, multimillion-dollar effort to build a mobile-friendly version of the service.
Instead, HHSC focused on the user perspective, asking what would eliminate a pain point for users but also benefit the agency. Unsurprisingly, one problem applicants often cited was the need to submit verification documents. While they could do so by mail, fax, or the web, many applicants didnt have easy access to scanners or personal computers. Perhaps surprisingly, however, many do have access to smartphones with cameras. Since banks have long allowed their customers to deposit checks by taking a picture of the paper check with their phone and hitting the upload button on an app, why couldnt applicants do the same thing?
Source: Delivering on Digital
Open: Solve Problems By Tapping Into External Ecosystems
Transformational change requires governments to look beyond the walls of their organizations. They should be open, carving out new and innovative methods to collaborate with different partners for their mission needs. Building ecosystems that continuously seek solutions both internally and externally should become a core competency of future government.
We find ourselves in a position where we no longer have to do everything within NASA. We don’t have to do everything within our contracts or community now that we can see projects on the outside. The commercial space industry is able to provide us with capabilities that before we had to do on our own. We’re able to leverage the technology and capability from other industries …23
Steven Gonzalez, technology transfer strategist, NASA Johnson Space Center
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Taking The Next Step Toward Building The Contact Centers Of Tomorrow
Many public leaders who oversee contact centers see many opportunities for improvement, but arent clear on the best way to move ahead. Their concerns often fall into four categories:
- How can we afford this?
- Do we have the skills to make this happen?
- What underlying technology infrastructure do I need?
- How can we pull together all the technologies?
How can we afford this?
One silver lining of the pandemic is much greater awareness of the need to enhance governments ability to provide customer services. Federal COVID-19 funding and surplus state revenues in many states can help agencies upgrade these capacities.
Note that, just as the cloud allows you to pay only for the technology you use, a pay by the minute approach to call center services can limit upfront costs and allow charges to be proportional to usage, eliminating the risk of paying for capacity needed only during peak demands.
Do we have the skills to make this happen?
Public agencies often lack the specialized expertise needed to rebuild their contact centers. From telephony to AI, from cybersecurity to data integration, few public agencies have the depth and breadth of knowledge to go it alone.
What underlying technology infrastructure do I need?
How can we pull together all the technologies?
The Five Domains Of Government: A Mission
We tend to categorize government by the various missions reflected in its organizational structure.
Thus, the U.S. Department of States mission is to lead Americas foreign policy through diplomacy, advocacy, and assistance 1 Within the State Department, however, there are numerous bureaus, each with their own mission. For example, the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance has a core mission suggested by its name. There are countless such nested missions in government, ranging from defense to social services.
This mission-oriented view is useful in organizing for execution it helps coordinate the efforts of those dedicated to a particular goal, as well as for exploring the future of a particular agency. But it is not very helpful when contemplating the broader future of government. There are simply too many missions and too many varied activities in the public sector to paint a comprehensive picture of the future of government through that lens.
To help explore governments future, we have identified five principal domains of government activity. These are:
- Service delivery
- Regulation and enforcement
We use the term domains for these areas to denote an area sharing a similar evolutionary path.
The ubiquity of these domains across government makes them useful units of analysis to explore government futures.Using these domains as a guide, what follows is a vision for how the future of government could be optimally realized.
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The Deloitte And Savannah College Of Art And Design Study
In the fall of 2021, Deloitte Consulting, LLP worked with the Savannah College of Art and Design on a project looking at how to boost user adoption of IVR by those contacting government agencies. Deloitte professionals and the SCAD team of professors and students, most majoring in user experience design, explored what was behind peoples negative attitudes toward IVR, and how to overcome them. After all, it is often peoples lack of trust in automated responses that drives them to insist on speaking with human representatives, overwhelming the system and forcing agencies to hire more employees.
Using a combination of surveys, one-on-one interviews, and live experiments, the project team identified and examined users specific assumptions about agent-assisted solutions being invariably superior to technology-delivered solutions. And the researchers worked on how to reverse those assumptions and steer users toward trusting IVR systems.
Affective elementsincluding more and better communication and more empathetic and responsive languagehelped measurably. Perhaps more intriguingly, callers appreciated the option to customize an automated voice: voice speed, gender, and even vocal inflection.
Algonquin Highlands Heritage Map
Geographic location: Lot 4, Conc. A, Sherborne
Current address: 20130 Hwy 35 on St. Nora Lake
Date range:1944 – present
In 1944 the Province of Ontario and the University of Toronto Faculty of Forestry entered into a partnership to educate government personnel and university students. For many years the site was known as the Ranger School and later, the Ontario Forest Technical Training School. Many courses were taught to government personnel. Students from various faculties at the University came to the school each year on field trips.
In 1969, the schools curriculum of resource management was taken over by Ontarios colleges and universities. That was the first time the future of the property that would become the Frost Centre, was in doubt. In 1974, Ontario Premiere William G. Davis announced that the facility would be developed as a demonstration area in resources management, education and recreation and would be called The Leslie M. Frost Natural Resources Centre. The Centre became the first outdoor education Centre in the province dedicated to environmental and resource management education. It was also the first Centre to have a large crown land management unit , associated with it for research in and demonstration of resource management, recreation and public education.
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Dive Into The Nine Trends
The Deloitte Center for Government Insights Government Trends 2021 captures nine of the most transformative trends in government today. The report distills years of research on government operations, coupled with on-the-ground coverage of what is happening in the trenches right now.
Deloitte 2021 Government Trends
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The Seven Shifts That Are Redefining The Future Of Contact Centers
The basic building blocks of a contact center–including people, process flows, and technology–should be familiar. But there are seven significant shifts making the future contact center very different than what is happening in government contact centers today:
- Shift #1: An experience hub, not a cost center
- Shift #2: From call center to contact center
- Shift #3: Automated, automatic, self-service
- Shift #4: Tech-supported human interactions
- Shift #5: Integrated information and workflow
- Shift #6: An enhanced employee experience
- Shift #7: Empathetic tech
Shift #1: An experience hub, not a cost center
Its not about getting people off the phone fast or diverting them to tech its about solving their problems and making them happy. Do it right, and you can see satisfaction go up and costs go down.
For too long, contact centers have been seen as cost centers, and the biggest expense factor has been labor. As a result, management has generally viewed technology as a way to reduce the time spent talking with customers.
But if the purpose of a contact center is to create a great customer experience, in some cases it might make sense to spend extensive time talking with a customer to resolve a difficult issue. On the other hand, a great customer experience may not involve any human interaction, as when you pay a vehicle toll at 60 mph thanks to a transponder on your windshield.
Shift #2: From call center to contact center
Shift #3: Automated, automatic, self-service
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