All across the country, citizens count on their state and local government officials for a number of matters of public safety and services. In fact, according to the White House, a majority of Americans engage more frequently with their state and local governments than with the federal government. Some of the many critical services state and local governments provide to residents include police and fire departments, libraries, and schools. Additional services include things from paying parking tickets and renewing your driver’s license to parks and recreation, emergency medical, transportation, public works, and more.
Virtually every service provided by municipal governments (anything below the federal level) benefits from having clear, reliable channels of communication between public servants and their constituents. Two-way communication helps ensure that the services provided meet the needs of the community. Citizens express needs, and the governments deliver—ideally. With that in mind, then, the marriage between state and local government and unified communications makes a lot of sense. So, what is a unified communications platform, and what are the benefits of the best unified communications solutions?
What Is Unified Communications?
Unified communications (UC) simply refers to a system or platform that brings together multiple communication channels. Businesses across virtually all industries leverage these platforms to improve their efficiency, quality, collaboration, and more by consolidating/streamlining their communication systems. Not only does the adoption of a UC solution save an organization money, it also reduces IT headaches, maintenance needs, and downtime.
How Are State and Local Governments Leveraging UC Platforms Today?
UC platforms—especially cloud-based Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)—provide the foundational infrastructure for efficient, streamlined operations, better inter- and intradepartmental collaboration, and reliable communication with citizens and constituents.
The primary features and unified communications benefits of UC technology include the ability to make and receive calls (including call holding, transferring, etc.), maintain constituent and communication data, collaborate, and even automate certain tasks.
Trends: Elevating State and Local Governments with UCaaS
When UC was first emerging, it was a simple tool that was able to suit state and local governments’ basic needs for communication and collaboration. The trend toward cloud-based UCaaS platforms has redefined unified communications by incorporating advanced technologies that don’t just serve a purpose—they elevate the ways users work for, communicate with, and serve their communities.
A Shift From Enabling to Elevating
Now, with UCaaS providers offering cutting-edge, cloud-based UC solutions, state and local governments are able to do even more with the available technology. Specifically, the trend toward UCaaS over rudimentary UC is elevating operations in terms of efficiency, engagement, reliability, and security.
- Efficiency: Governments want to serve their constituents well, and a big piece of the equation is efficient communication. When citizens have needs, can they get in touch easily? Do they receive responses in a timely fashion? Inefficiencies in state and local government can impact service delivery and erode the connection between the community and its leaders.
- Engagement: Related to efficiency, state and local leaders should be accessible. This means giving some thought, again, to the constituent experience. When state and local governments make use of UC platforms, they can improve and increase the available channels for outreach and dialogue. At minimum, state and local governments should have phone and email options, as well as automated and self-service opportunities as well.
- Reliability: With the variety of crucial services provided by state and local governments, reliability is an important consideration. The best communication tools and experience won’t mean a whole lot if they’re not reliable. Simply put, having communication systems go down (or even having buggy systems) erodes trust and provides a poor experience. Especially in the midst of a pandemic, reliability is crucial.
- Security: State and local governments rely on accurate and complete data to understand their constituents and their community’s needs. Considering the range of data needed for service delivery, a data breach could be catastrophic.
The best unified communications platform for a state or local government is going to be the one that fits their needs and, at minimum, provides efficiency, engagement, reliability, and security. Opting for UCaaS over on-premises, UC enhances the benefits by adding in often-vital services like advanced call routing and recording, as well as data analytics and tracking.
The other major trend in how state and local governments get the most out of their UCaaS software is to go all-in on the as-a-service part of its name. They do this by working with a partner, like InterVision, who offers a “managed services” model.
What is a “Managed Services” Model, and How Does It Benefit State and Local Governments?
The “Managed Services” approach to UCaaS essentially outsources IT from a services and strategy perspective. This approach makes a ton of sense for state and local governments, institutions with stringent budgets and relatively minimal IT departments. InterVision offers Managed 8×8 Services, and we have 25 years of experience helping organizations best select, implement, and strategize the technology they need.