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By Kevin Lafeber
At SunGard, our goal is not only to maintain a strong connection with our customers, but to encourage a community. In fact, we rolled out a ‘Connect Community’ portal last year for our ONESolution PA customers. After much success, we’re expanding the program to include customers of our entire suite of products.
When government agencies purchase a technology product, they make a big decision that not only affects their operations, but impacts the citizens they serve. You must have faith that your business partner will stand behind it. Many times, you do not know who other customers are or don’t have an easy way to interact with them.
Connect Community is available to our customers as a free new feature of our existing products. The main focus is customer-to-customer interaction, as members of our community can connect both with other members and with SunGard staff. Anyone can ask and answer questions from the broader member community, such as how other government agencies are using our products, and what solutions have they implemented for their jurisdictions.
Although the ability to interact directly with other customers is the chief focus, another popular activity within the community is to review software release notes, providing customers with easy access to lists of enhancements in the latest software versions – directly from the software developers and product experts at SunGard. Members have told us they enjoy hearing from the talented teams that actually developed the tools they use every day to serve their citizens.
The concept of understanding the value of a strong member community is not new to us. In fact, the SunGard Public Sector Users’ Group Association has fostered a strong network of our software users for over 25 years, promoting open collaboration of software users. Member communities keep us informed of the needs and priorities of our users, as is our hope with Connect Community.
Our Connect Community is a complimentary service to our customers, and we are excited to see the many ways you will use this collaboration platform!
By Kristy Dalton
The rise of mobile devices is transforming how government agencies function. Citizens now text, web chat and submit service requests via smartphone apps. Most cities and counties leverage social media – which is inherently mobile friendly – to interact and engage with residents. Instant sharing of icy sidewalks, overflowing trash cans or illegally parked vehicles empower residents to become the “eyes and ears” for 311 service centers.
Increasingly, government workers are using tablets to conduct building inspections, issue parking tickets and collect fees from residents. The related BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) movement has ushered in a new era of “govies” who can respond to their constituents in real-time. Their response capacity is no longer tied to a specific desk in a government office – inquiries may be answered from any location and increasingly may come during evening hours or weekends. Lookout Inc. surveyed federal agencies and found that 50% of government workers now use their personal device for work email and 49% use those devices to download work related documents.
This new era also presents security and chain of custody challenges for CIOs and IT managers. Twenty-four percent of government workers send work documents to their personal email address and 17% store work related documents on personal file sharing apps such as Dropbox or Google Docs, according to the survey cited above. Many government agencies now have a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) to tackle the common issues posed by BYOD, mobility and other web based threats. Proper archiving and storage of these messages and files creates additional hurdles for IT leadership.
Many police officers now transmit reports via wireless connections and no longer need to come back to the station. This advancement can save valuable time and allow them to continue to serve the public in the field. Keeping officers on the street and visible to the public is arguably more important than ever. Hi-tech tools can enable better low tech engagement like community policing and talking in-person with residents and local business owners.
An underrated aspect of the rise of mobility in government is sustainability. Government is historically known as being a paperwork intensive enterprise. Many agencies have utilized Software as a Service (SaaS) and other digital tools to reduce or eliminate paperwork while providing better service. Real-time entry in the field also reduces or eliminates the need for later data entry which often slows down the process and increases the likelihood of errors.
Mobile-first inclined Millennials are not just becoming homeowners and taxpayers, but also starting to fill leadership roles in government as well. Both government and its stakeholders are better served in this new mobile-first era.
Local governments, public safety and justice agencies, non-profit organizations, and the citizens they serve can envision the future happening today with SunGard Public Sector.