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A New Type of Agency: Agile and Anticipatory

When constituents receive the same level of service and convenience from government as the private sector offers — whether dealing with garbage collection, fishing licenses or social services benefits — people tend to think well of government. It matters whether someone has a positive or negative experience transitioning from traditional, face-to-face interactions with agencies to more digital outreach, said Chris Dilley, CTO State and Local Government at ServiceNow, a company that helps organizations deliver experiences that constituents expect.

He observed that the more critical a service is to someone’s life, the more anxious that person will feel, and choosing technology to facilitate smooth experiences is important.

“Technology has become oxygen,” explained Dilley. “For every organization, it’s just absolutely necessary. It’s no longer optional.”

Planning Ahead

Agencies must anticipate what constituents may need next week or year, and how services provided today will influence lives in 10 to 15 years, he said. Looking forward means gauging impacts not only on individuals, Dilley said, but also on their communities and the agencies serving them. Technology that uses both real-time and historical data helps agencies act at the right moments. “Through utilizing data, and now with the use of AI, we’re going to be able to support governments … to drive a better experience, be more engaging and have more insights … before the need becomes really critical,” Dilley said.

An Agile Workforce

Staffing also plays a part, since employees must be able to weather change as their agencies work to improve constituent experiences, he said. Program areas that typically include generalist employees should anticipate when experts are needed, so there’s a way to balance staffing, for instance.

“As we think about the specific needs that people have, especially from a digital interface perspective, we [must] look at our staffing levels,” he explained.

By improving workforce balance, agencies build public trust, so when people seek assistance, they know that agencies have employees, as well as new technologies, to handle their needs.

Service, Not Stampede

In recent years, Dilley has helped the State of Tennessee’s Health and Human Services Department enhance its service delivery. Waiting-room space had been limited, but why should constituents have to wait for hours in a physical location, he asked. ServiceNow helped establish a registration and user-preferred communication system that alerted constituents 15 minutes before they would be served, Dilley said. The system also prioritized urgent needs, such as food and financial assistance for children and families.

“Tennessee worked to change that citizen experience to keep those constituents engaged and make that [experience] more digital, leveraging the ServiceNow platform,” he said.

Dilley also shared how ServiceNow helped the State of Montana create a system to facilitate the licensing and permitting processes, specifically around ranching and branding processes. The solution provides more visibility and efficiency, helping Montana ranchers and one of the state’s biggest industries, he said.

It’s the kind of government service that makes a real-world difference, here and now.

This article appeared in our guide, “Building Trust With Tech In State and Local Government.” To see more about how agencies are using technology to build relationships with constituents, download it here:

Photo by Antoni Shkraba at Pexels.com

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