Why unified communications is critical to a digital public sector
RingCentral’s Peter Hughes was asked last year by GTR for his wish list for 2021. His number one wish was for government, industry and innovators to look for every opportunity to integrate and unify their communications, their applications and their systems. That’s where RingCentral believes we will see the biggest benefits from digital acceleration in Australia this year.
This year we expect to see a dramatic acceleration in digital transformation projects at all levels of government. This is driven by the opportunity to deliver services better, faster and with improved outcomes, at the same time reducing costs at a time when budgets are under constant pressure.
In 2015, Deloitte estimated that federal and state government digital transformation would deliver $20.5b in cost savings over a ten-year period. In a more recent study by TechnologyOne and IBRS, digitising a complex transaction can save local government between $90 to $350 per transaction.
However, shifting to digital means that services that have always been delivered either face-to-face or person-to-person via the phone are now being delivered online. Public service colleagues who had been sitting alongside each other in the office are now just as likely to be working remotely. If integrated communication and collaboration isn’t factored into the equation, both the customer and employee experience will suffer — which in turn will negate the positive impact of any digital transformation initiative.
In research RingCentral conducted last year with knowledge workers in Australia, the US, UK and Canada, we found that creating a connected culture leads to significant improvements in the employee experience. Employees at companies that promote a connected culture cite better physical and emotional well-being and say they are more productive working remotely than their counterparts at organisations without that culture. Ultimately, it remains critical that you continue to focus on the total employee experience — their systems of experience — for all staff, no matter where they are working. That includes constantly improving your remote workers’ access to resources and collaborative tools, so that they continue to feel connected to your organisation’s culture and their colleagues.
The improved employee experience also reflects on the quality of the services that are being delivered to customers. Just as vital, governments are shifting to allow remote workers to deliver higher standards of service to those who use public services. Ultimately, unified communications can strengthen the link between government and the public sector, businesses and citizens, and allow for greater collaboration, problem solving, and benefit sharing between all three.
Used to doing their banking and shopping over whatever channel suited them, citizens now expect the same from their digital public services. The public sector must respond accordingly or risk losing the faith and support of those it serves. Providing multiple contact channels is only the beginning, however. Unless calls, voicemail, messages, and customer data are linked in a coherent single view — and across agencies where possible — it’s hard for public services to provide a co-ordinated response. Avoiding this siloed experience also means a seamless connection between your internal and external communications, which can be achieved by deploying a single, integrated contact centre and unified communications platform. Delivered as a cloud-based environment, this communications integrated platform ensures that all the threads in a benefit claim or social care case review, for example, are combined so citizens can be directed to the right people immediately and where case workers can consult and collaborate with colleagues and other agencies seamlessly and effortlessly.
The disruptive changes we have faced during 2020, and the response from our public services shows just how adaptable and resilient we are in Australia. There are now numerous government digital transformation projects underway to open up access to information and streamline services for Australian citizens, so it’s critical that internal communications and collaboration keeps pace with the change. RingCentral is committed to ensure government organisations at all levels have the tools they need to overcome today’s unprecedented challenges, and take every opportunity to integrate and unify their communications, their applications and their systems.
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