Over the past year, state and local governments have had to find ways around disruptions and challenges brought about by multiple challenges. On-going budget constraints have certainly been a primary cause for the challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic was the proverbial last straw. While state and local governments could have easily continued on and managed the challenges there’s been a noticeable trend to thinking outside the box to identify and create solutions. For Oracle’s Celeste O’Dea, Business Development Director for the Public Sector, the defining characteristic of those state and local governments that have thrived despite the disruption is the ability to be nimble and implement incremental change.
“The ability to be nimble, to react quickly to the challenges [agencies are] faced with, is going to be critical [in the coming years],” shared O’Dea. By working in terms of “bite-sized,” agencies are able to add value at a quicker pace. In thinking smaller, agencies can focus energy and “think about ways [to] treat the symptoms while also trying to cure the disease,” commented O’Dea. This creates multiple quick wins for government in states, cities, hospitals, education, and more.
Public-private partnerships allow for “commercial enterprises, who want to be able to help customers do great things and deliver great services and add value to what they’re doing, and the public sector…[to benefit from] more sophisticated tools and technologies that can help them drive the future of public sector,” stated O’Dea. Through these trusted partnerships, agencies are able to “identify, operationalize and implement integrated technology strategies.”
Internal-Facing Changes: State of Oklahoma
With the surge of remote working, the State of Oklahoma saw a significant rise in call center inquiries to the point that it became challenging for IT support to react to all of the requests. To help IT support and remote workers alike, the state decided to launch a chatbot to triage requests and get information into the hands of users quickly. In only eight days, the state was able to “deploy a chatbot that lets them help to triage those IT help desk calls. Their calls tripled during this challenging time, and they were able to react and respond very quickly,” commented O’Dea.
Additionally, for the State of Oklahoma, remote work created some administrative challenges when it came to tracking hours and purchases. The state developed a mobile application that established a way “to track hours and purchases related to their COVID efforts.” This application allowed for greater organization amongst the state.
External-Facing Change: Jackson, Mississippi
The City of Jackson, Mississippi devised a system that allowed citizens to pay their utility bills through kiosks. The city developed the kiosks to “facilitate bill payments” in a way that is “a touchless response, so they don’t have to put the public-sector workforce frontline with the general populace who may or may not be symptomatic,” stated O’Dea.
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