Collaboration, customer service, and mobile communications top the list of trends important to state and local governments in 2013, according to results of a GovDelivery survey of more than 400 individuals in U.S. state, county and city government organizations.
Improvements to the three trends can help state and local governments fulfill their core missions more efficiently:
- Better collaboration increases efficiency.
- Better customer service through increased engagement with citizens and stakeholders results in organizations fulfilling their missions.
- Expanded use of mobile devices helps government organizations reduce their costs while enhancing productivity, collaboration, and customer service.
There is overlap in these trends. An initiative to better interact with citizens through text messaging, mobile-optimized websites with self-service options, and integrated digital communications can address all three objectives of improving customer service, supporting mobility and improving collaboration.
Survey respondents identified the top priorities from a list of potential trends including today’s hot topics, such as big data, cloud computing and cybersecurity. Respondents were asked to look at these trends through three filters:
- Trends taking center stage in 2013 (affecting their agencies and others)
- Trends directly affecting their own work
- Trends that their organizations were already addressing
While there are differences between state, county and city government responses, all levels of government shared the top three trends overall:
- Collaboration with other agencies and with citizens
- Citizen/customer service
- Mobility and bring your own device (BYOD)
Following is a brief summary of each top trend presented in a white paper about the survey that is available for download.
Collaboration is Critical
Collaboration tops the list in the trends taking center stage for most state and local agencies in 2013. The question was framed to include collaboration with other government organizations as well as citizens.
Social media use is increasing within the private sector so it comes as no surprise that citizens want to collaborate with their local governments on social media and other channels such as interacting with government organizations using their own devices.
Most of the surveyed individuals said that collaboration affected their jobs directly and that their agencies are already addressing this trend. Nevertheless, there is room for improvement, as reported in the white paper.
When asked if they use social media to find information that affects their own jobs and organizations, just over half of respondents said yes. Particularly in county governments, many respondents are not yet making use of social media for collaborative purposes.
In 2013, expect state and local government organizations to expand their use of digital technologies in support of collaboration:
- Supporting collaboration with other agencies and citizens through pervasive social media channels
- Cross-promoting programs and communications with other agencies through websites and digital technologies
- Using dedicated communities and channels for inter-agency collaboration.
Customer Service is a Top Priority
For state and city government respondents, the top trend identified as affecting their own jobs and as being addressed by government was citizen/customer service. For county governments, citizen/customer service ranked second behind collaboration.
City governments have made the greatest strides in using social media to share news and information from their organizations. This is positive, as communication with customers is the first critical stage of customer service for many organizations.
Email and text messaging are other important channels for improving service through communications. Letting citizens subscribe to the information they need helps government agencies communicate more effectively and thus, serve the public more effectively.
In 2013, expect broader adoption of both social media and other digital channels in support of customer service initiatives across all branches of government.
Embracing Mobile Government
Expanding the use of mobile devices and phones is a major concern for government organizations at all levels. Internally, many employees want to use their own devices to access applications and data. Externally, citizens and constituents are embracing mobile technologies and mobile applications at a rapid pace creating new opportunities for government agencies to engage with citizens.
Enabling mobile access to government systems provides an opportunity to engage citizens and improves productivity while reducing government coststo provision devices to employees and contractors.
The rapid growth in mobile adoption may be outpacing some government efforts. While about half of the survey respondents listed mobile/BYOD as a top trend, fewer said that their agencies are actually addressing the issue.
Getting a handle on mobile and personal devices is a top priority for state and local government organizations:
- Externally, government organizations need to find ways to engage with citizens and constituents on their mobile devices, whether on dedicated government mobile applications and mobile-optimized websites or through email and text messaging.
- Internally, government organizations need to develop policies around using personal devices and security protections for their most vital systems. Mobile devices and applications can help employees be more responsive and collaborative with their colleagues and others. As the demand for higher customer satisfaction grows in the public sector, so will the need for mobile devices.
Download the white paper for more details about the survey results.