COVID-19 forced a massive experiment in telework and the delivery of services in a virtual environment. Now, technology leaders across state and local government organizations are being asked to expand telework strategies and delivery of services online over the long term.
For those that didn’t already have the infrastructure in place to support this over the long term, the shift is presenting some challenges. Many organizations are finding either their systems don’t support virtual teams and customer support at all, employees have some virtual capabilities but are limited in what they can and can’t access to support customers, or their systems are so dated that they no longer have access to the technical experts to make updates.
If any of these scenarios are the case for your organization, how do you begin to migrate to a virtual environment efficiently and with minimal disruption to the team and customers?
Building a foundation for virtualization
When taking teams and services virtual, there is a lot to consider. It’s not merely a function of IT building out the cloud infrastructure, there’s also an element of change management that needs to occur. While many teams were suddenly forced into remote work, and may be accustomed to it by now, organization leaders should consider how they will uphold the organizational culture and communications over the long term, and get teams on board with the shift to a permanent remote environment.
Technology can support the communication and collaboration component to a certain degree, but you’ll also want to establish a cadence for regular communications and best practices for company-wide collaboration. Additionally, because employees will have offsite access to personally identifiable information (PII), there should be policies and guidelines in place for how to handle that sensitive data.
From a technology standpoint, at the minimum, you’ll need a cloud-based system of record that enables access remotely. But the system should also have a track record of success within the public sector or licensing vertical. You want to know that it has the right security and compliance requirements baked in, and that it’s designed to meet the workflow functionalities of your organization.
The team will also need an efficient way to request tech support when issues arise, since walking down the hallway is no longer an option. Similarly, IT has to be able to support remotely. They have to be able to see what’s going on within both the software and hardware to diagnose the issue.
Solutions like Salesforce Service Cloud, for instance, can be implemented to offer up self-help articles or recommended fixes as a first resort. But if the problem persists, it enables IT teams to resolve the issue remotely, by generating remote support session keys, sending software updates, installing patches or even making hardware equipment updates remotely.
Orchestrating the customer experience
As your team is thinking through the internal infrastructure, you’ll also need to map it to the external infrastructure or customer experience. Security and remote support when issues arise of course need to be a top consideration, but so too does the overall experience.
Today, customers have grown accustomed to the personalized virtual experiences brands like Amazon, Google and Apple deliver, and they expect that level of service elsewhere. And particularly, if your organization is migrating entirely away from in-person delivery of services, you want to be sure you have a way to maintain that same level of personalized customer interaction in a virtual environment.
Cloud-based portals built on tools like Salesforce Communities allow for dynamic interaction and more personalized experiences. For instance, the system can be preprogrammed to auto-fill forms based on preexisting, known customer information or based on data they are inputting in real time (like the pre-fill of a zip code based on the street address entered). Systems can also be configured for a personalized experience to only ask application questions that pertain to that customer.
This is particularly useful in licensing where certain questions, fields or information don’t pertain to every applicant. It can significantly shorten the application process for the customer and reduce the nonrelevant data your team has to sift through on the back end.
While there’s been a lot of trepidation around shifting to completely virtual environments, many agencies now know it’s possible. We now have the tools to address the biggest concerns that prevented this migration in the past –– one big one being worker productivity. Cloud-based tools can now measure and monitor productivity and who’s working and who’s not, or where certain processes are tripping them up. This enables you to address issues before they become major problems.
Now that we’ve seen what’s possible, it’s time to future proof your organization against other potential disasters that could prevent in-office work. Building a cloud-based infrastructure now will give your organization the flexibility to be able to carry out continuity plans no matter what the future may have in store.
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