Government Customer Service Outlook: Cloudy with the Potential for Continued Cost Savings


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With government spending being scrutinized more heavily than ever before, and budgets and workforces being slashed, there is a bright spot for significant savings, and that’s the continued adoption of cloud-based technologies for processes such as constituent service and engagement.

Several years ago, the outlook was a little hazy as to if the public sector would move to the cloud, but with the Office of Management and Budget’s Cloud First initiative, it’s now just a question of who, what and when most agencies will do so, if they haven’t already.

Just as it’s lowered entry barriers for businesses in the private sector, cloud computing is making sophisticated customer engagement technologies available to cost-conscious government entities who have long been barraged by constituent complaints and angry reviews about service quality and speed, but have had no easy or affordable way to improve upon the siloed solutions that had been in place for years.

“The cloud has always been an attractive IT solution for the government because it’s so difficult to get capital expenditures budgeted,” says Ken Landoline, principal analyst at Current Analysis. “If an agency had to deploy an ACD (automatic call distributor) for a call center, it meant spending $2 to $3 million on hardware, software and start-up costs. Now, they can have customer service software up and running in a couple of days in the cloud, with a monthly expense to manage as opposed to a capital investment.”

Such benefits have been driving the U.S. government’s Cloud First strategy, which requires agencies to evaluate secure cloud computing options before making new IT investments. This same strategy identified $20 billion in potential savings from cloud computing, representing about a quarter of federal IT spending.

The private sector was first to successfully test cloud solutions for customization, scale and effectiveness. In a recent Sailpoint survey of more than 400 private sector IT and business leaders, respondents reported that one-third of their mission-critical applications are now in the cloud, a number they expect to grow to half by 2015.

As for the public section, the IDC predicts that federal government cloud services adoption will increase by 50% in 2013 over 2012, comprising more than 7% of government IT spending. Drilling down 25% of IT leaders responding to InformationWeek’s 2013 Federal Government Cloud Computing Survey said they’ve already taking advantage of SaaS solutions, while 56% cited SaaS as their next cloud initiative, even though security does remain a chief concern.

A recent MeriTalk report on migrating mission-critical applications to the cloud reveals that the government could save approximately $16.6 billion annually if all agencies move just three mission-critical applications to the cloud. Of those that have already moved at least one, 91 percent have reported success.

Cloud adoption by the government isn’t just a US phenomenon. The UK and Australia are among many others working to support cloud computing adoption. The public sector’s collective priority is right on track, in line with Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for Smart Government, which includes cloud computing at number 9:

  1. Mobile Devices
  2. Contextual and Social User Experience
  3. Next-Gen Analytics
  4. Internet of Things
  5. Citizen-Managed Data
  6. Business Process Management
  7. Big Data Information Management
  8. Enterprise App Stores
  9. Cloud Computing
  10. Cross-Domain Interoperability

The move to the cloud is just a part of a bigger forecast that includes navigating a perfect storm of individually disruptive yet converging technologies known as the nexus of forces which includes mobile, social, cloud and big data.

For more government customer service best practices and advice from leading analysts, download Parature’s latest whitepaper, Multi-Channel Service: Elect to Serve Your Constituents, covering key topics in government customer service and constituent engagement including:

  • Providing ‘no wrong door’ access
  • Moving to the cloud
  • Capturing voice of the customer feedback
  • Using service to drive revenues and compete with the private sector
  • Leveraging cloud technology simplicity to attract, retain and maximize IT talent.

Click here to download.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tricia Morris
Tricia Morris is a product marketing director at 8x8 with more than 20 years of experience at technology companies including Microsoft and MicroStrategy. Her focus is on customer experience, customer service, employee experience and digital transformation. Tricia has been recognized as an ICMI Top 50 Thought Leader, among the 20 Best Customer Experience Blogs You Must Follow, and among the 20 Customer Service Influencers You Must Follow.


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