Our next webinar for Open Government Cloud Computing is called ‘Building a City in the Clouds‘, referring to an analysis of how it can be applied at the Municipal level.
This will include best practice reviews of cities like New York, Toronto and Edmonton, and how they are re-inventing their citizen service capabilities through Open Data and outsourcing to Cloud providers.
Citizen Service Cloud
Their goals were to deploy a common, shared Citizen Service Platform that can unite all of their service departments into a consistent customer experience.
Like most large organizations the city operates an estate of legacy applications to provide services like permits, licencing, police enforcement dispatch and incident tracking, maintenance scheduling and so forth, and they want to provide a singuar user interface to these via 311 call centres, web sites, kiosks, counters, emails, mobile other access channels for their residents, achieving an integrated Citizen Service Management (CSM) solution.
This is a significant technology challenge.
The legacy estate features major applications like SAP for the bulk of their ERP needs, which runs on a Solaris/Oracle platform, and then also each of the smaller departments typically runs their own dedicated software package for their particular business process needs, whether that be the parks inventory or property listings. Each needs integrated into this environment.
Other technologies are also in the mix such as Citrix and VPNs for enabling and securing access, and all of this must be integrated together via a universal logical model to achieve this overarching customer-centric integration, linking in their VoIP infrastructure and Ottawa.ca web site for customer interactions, as well as providing core central functions like a single electronic payment system.
Open Government – The Pothole Report
In addition to the integrated CRM strategy requested in this RFP, a relatively ‘traditional’ and well established strategy, government agencies are now also obliged to consider and implement an ‘Open Government’ program too, as described in the resolution from the Privacy Commissioner.
This adds the additional challenge and requirement that not only should these customer services be unified, but that the customers themselves should now play an integral part in the service delivery itself, via Open Data and other online participative models.
One example is “The Pothole Report”. Using spatial data and online maps customers can identify and prioritize potholes and how they can be fixed.
In other words the key defining feature of Open Government is that it’s a platform for enabling citizens to contribute to the work load, via a model that also improves how other citizens access it.