What Prevents Unified Communication in Gov?

Today, one of the most important capabilities for a government organization to possess is effective communication – both between employees and with constituents.

Of course, communication has always been an important part of government work. It’s the role of agencies to not only meet their missions but convey their tactics, and outcomes, to the citizens they serve. And to do that, agency employees have to communicate with each other – sharing insights and experience to collaboratively produce great work.

Now more than ever, that communication is vital. But, it’s also more challenging to achieve.

With innovations in digital and mobile technologies, there are countless channels that constituents can – and want – to use to access government information and services. They want access via phone, online chat, text messaging and more.

And they want that information to be accurate, up-to-the-minute and consistent across mediums. More than that, they want communication that isn’t static. Gone are the days of posting a cumbersome form and assuming the user will figure it out, send a request, and wait a few days for a standard response.

Today, consumers expect the same level of dynamic and responsive interaction with government services that they get from private-sector companies – the Amazons and Ubers of the world.

To provide that level of service, agency personnel have to do a lot more, like creating content for multiple platforms and managing or responding to multiple communication mediums consistently. But agencies aren’t getting more staff or bigger budgets, so to meet these new demands, public servants must find new ways to coordinate and collaborate internally. That also requires new channels of communication to connect workers and their information.

Not to mention, with the rise of teleworking and mobile technologies, those channels have to extend well beyond the four walls of the agency. Critical information has to be available anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

The problem is, as expectations and technologies have evolved, many agency communication platforms and strategies have not been updated to meet new needs. Traditional setups often have a central line of communication – usually a call center or maybe an email inbox – to receive constituent input. That prevents many users from getting timely information in the format that they want to receive it in.

Plus, employees act on those requests through time-consuming, manual processes. Lengthy phone calls, one-off emails sent from department to department, and culling through old data to find relevant info are standard procedure in outdated communication strategies. Not to mention, IT departments get weighed down managing and updating legacy tools to support these operations.

As a result, agencies end up spending significant time, money and other resources on communication that doesn’t even meet constituent expectations. That also means they have less resources to dedicate to other mission-critical tasks.

Agencies must adopt a modern, unified communication strategy if they are going to meet the demands of today’s digital environment. To learn how to do that, check out our recent, 10-minute GovLoop Academy course, Cloud-Driven Communications Transformation in Government.

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