311 call centers and CRM for local government
Ron Lanzo 270000BY51 firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  eam management asset crm 311
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EAM, CRM (Customer Relationship Management), and Service Desk software markets are distinct and separate. Related sub markets also exist for areas such as Case Management or Service Experience Management; both are commonly seen as types of CRM applications. For non-emergency calls to the local government there’s a need to manage these citizen requests and process them appropriately across multiple departments or service response organization. For a local government entity there are a lot of options they can lean on with respect to how they manage the Citizen interaction. What direction they chose has a lot to do with the size, organization, and the number and type of services they are responsible for.
It used to be common that to request local government services you’d let your fingers do the walking to the front of the phone book where you’d find each department listed with a separate phone number. This has been widely replaced with single service call numbers going to a central call center. The advent of a performance management culture and management by “Mayor’s Scorecard” has driven the need to manage and automate the processes associated with these citizen interactions. So what’s a City or County CIO to do when presented with the need to deploy software in support of such a call center operation?
The largest cities tend to have fragmented organizational structures with independent department budgets. In most cases over the years this has lead them to operated independently to the point where each department ran on their own software managed by their own IT shops. The CIO in these cases is more likely to act independently and select a CRM application as a stand-alone investment. A good example here is NYC implementation of Oracle/Siebel.
Smaller cities with strong mayors were amongst the early movers. They tend to have a single IT shop for the city and are able to leverage investments in one organization across to the others. So here you might see a Utility CIS or Enterprise Asset Management system that is already in play at the city be leveraged across departments as the single call center application. The City of Corpus Christi is a good example of this in their use of Maximo.
With Mid-Sized cities you see a bit of both worlds. They share the needs of larger cities to position one unified City to the public, but have multiple departments and agencies using a variety of business applications based on their needs. One city I visited recently had implemented Lagan (Kana) as the CRM and integrated that with both Maximo and a competing EAM (in different departments).
In all cases the emergence of social media is adding a new means for Citizen/Governmental interaction. The proliferation of smart devices and social media sites serves as a great opportunity for governments to identify issues and solve them more quickly. The key is finding a way to make as many of these connections possible for the least IT overhead. LAUSD announce recently that it was implementing City Sourced as a means to capture maintenance issues from end user smart phones.
There isn’t enough here to spot a trend, but two things that are safe bets…. Consolidation of vendors will continue in and across these tangential spaces and there will be more, emerging technology driven options driven by cloud technology.