Whether it’s speaking to citizens on the phone, web-conferencing with staff in different locations or sharing files with partners, effective daily communication is paramount to government organizations of all shapes and sizes.
Unified communications consolidate a variety of communication methods under one platform. Through a common interface accessible via any device from any location, employees can transition seamlessly between multiple communication mediums.
Local and state governments are leveraging the technology as a means to fight the contradictory pressures of declining budgets and rising citizen expectations. This blog post will examine how unified communication solutions are helping governments improve processes and better serve citizens while still reducing costs.
How can Unified Communications Help Improve Processes in Government?
For many government agencies, face to face meetings may be impractical, costly or time constrained. Unified communications offer a commonly shared, real-time communications experience through an integrated suite of functions; including voice, video and collaboration; regardless of geographic location. Virtual meetings can be established through multi-way instant chat messages or video conferencing sessions to provide more flexibility on when and how often a meeting can occur.
How can Unified Communications Enable Governments to Better Serve Citizens?
Unified communications are essential for government agencies wishing to improve citizen engagement and service. Agencies which employ a unified communications solution enjoy increased efficiencies through the reduction of travel and the ability to communicate in real time across multiple mediums, such as chat, voice and video. Many agencies also realize tangible productivity gains through the availability of “progressive collaboration,” which is the ability for a simple two-way chat session to evolve to a multi-party collaboration session without ever disconnecting the initial session. This technology can also be extended to enhance the experience of the citizens they serve, enabling the agency to focus on its mission.
For example, unified communications can improve the customer experience by enhancing an agency’s Knowledge Management capabilities. Through the implementation of presence, unified communications allow colleagues to determine the availability of the appropriate government employee(s) and expedite the resolution of the issue at hand. Knowing where, when and how a required resource can be reached ensures customers are quickly directed to the right staff and departments without needlessly being passed from one person to the next.
Government customers have become accustomed to the around-the-clock service they now receive from the private sector: a result, citizens expect their needs to be addressed efficiently and transparently. Unified communications applications offer customers a variety of communication options, allowing citizens to engage with their government agencies 24 hours, 7 days a week.
How can Unified Communications Help Governments Reduce Costs?
Government agencies challenged with complex and costly legacy systems can simplify infrastructure demands by introducing a common, fully integrated unified communications solution.
Unified communications can be particularly beneficial to government agencies as travel budgets continue to shrink. Unified communications solutions, including instant messaging and video conferencing, can help keep government staff members connected and informed while avoiding unnecessary travel costs.
Time is money, therefore: it is important to note that unified communications can also assist in decreasing the demand IT infrastructure has on an agency’s internal IT team. A hosted unified communication solution, which is maintained by the service provider, enables IT staff to focus on more urgent or higher priority initiatives.
Even though government budgets will rise and fall with changes to our economic climate, the demand citizens place on government agencies to provide transparent and efficient services continues to increase. Unified communications provide government agencies with attainable tools that may reduce internal spending while simultaneously improving processes and engagement with citizens.