How Cloud Takes Citizen Engagement to the Next Level

This blog post is an excerpt from a sponsor of our latest IT modernization guide

Citizens expect government services to keep pace with the technology they use daily.

To meet these growing expectations, agencies are investing in digital services and cloud computing solutions that improve how they serve and communicate with citizens. Governments that fail to embrace the evolution of apps, devices and digital tools will quickly fall behind both the private sector and their peers.

“The recurring theme in this area is that the expectations of citizens are rising every day,” said Bob Ainsbury, Chief Product Officer at Granicus. “You’re already late to the party and the party’s likely getting more and more advanced,” he added of failing to quickly modernize IT.

Granicus has become a leading cloud software provider that works with more than 4,000 entities across special districts, federal, state and local governments. These partners use Granicus’ secure, cloud-based solutions to boost their connections with citizens and modernize operations.

Take, for example, Granicus’ govDelivery Communications Cloud. It’s a FedRAMP-certified marketing-automation platform that aids government organizations in delivering successful engagement campaigns and programs. Organizations use it to collaborate and share information more easily with citizens.

With govDelivery, citizens get timelier access to crucial information, thanks to the solution’s ability to automate processes using custom-built and branded templates across email, social media, text and web communication channels.

The ultimate benefit for government employees is the ability to deliver more to citizens while spending less time and money. “At the end of the day, the cloud allows you to connect more quickly to a broader range of people,” Ainsbury said. “And that ultimately improves the citizen experience.”

Another benefit of moving to the cloud with tools like govDelivery? The ability to let citizens decide the information they’re interested in receiving, target them with the most relevant content and then take stock of metrics to constantly refine strategy and processes.

“Digital is, by its very nature, measurable,” Ainsbury noted. “In the old days, a mayor might measure the communications team by how many press releases they did. Nowadays, it’s how much engagement there is. It’s not just if you performed a specific task, but if that task led to engagement and action.”

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) offers an example of how digital communications can dramatically improve an agency’s constituent services.

The DNR had an unwieldy communication strategy where every office sent their own emails using different tools, which meant nobody was on the same page or delivering a consistent message. In 2014, the organization decided to embrace modern digital government by using govDelivery.

The change allowed the agency’s communications department to finally centralize its messaging. Because of the umbrella structure of administrative privileges, the communications team was able to act as a gatekeeper to ensure that any message being sent out met the DNR’s style guide and brand. Additionally, the govDelivery platform allows the DNR’s programs to exist under a single communication vendor, which saves them thousands of dollars annually.

The DNR utilized the govDelivery Network to attract new subscriptions, and its communications team used insights on how subscribers were engaging with its newsletters to better tailor email content and topics to them.

Since switching to govDelivery, the DNR’s number of subscribers exploded by over 1,300 percent. While they only had about 24,000 subscribers in 2014, today they have over 341,000. Those subscribers aren’t passive ones, either. During the last twelve months, the agency sent 440 bulletins, and had a 51 percent engagement rate.

“When you deliver top-notch digital content, people will engage,” Ainsbury said.

Cloud-based messaging platforms help agencies operate more efficiently and reduce costs by offering a scalable infrastructure that is flexible to the needs of its users. Valuable time and resources are saved by communicating across multiple formats simultaneously and organizations are better equipped to respond to their constituents. It’s this sort of engagement that brings both parties closer together.

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