Denver is experiencing a period of unprecedented growth. The city welcomes 1,000 new citizens each month, making it the fastest-growing city in the United States. Its job market, affordability, and quality of life recently earned Denver the #2 spot on the 2017 U.S. News and News and World Report Best Places to Live.

But managing such growth in the digital era is no easy task. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s top priorities include keeping the city of 680,000 safe and sustainable while providing new opportunities for the community’s next generation of residents.

The Mayor’s top priorities include a focus on maintaining affordable housing, increasing transportation options, and improving mobility. “The mayor would like to create a customer experience that makes people say ‘I can’t believe this is government,’” said Christine Binnicker, Deputy CIO for the City and County of Denver, Technology Services.

 

The mayor would like to create a customer experience that makes people say ‘I can’t believe this is government.’”

Christine Binnicker, Deputy CIO, Technology Services

In this new digital era, service models that are timely, targeted, and smartphone-ready have become the new norm. As a result, citizens expect 24/7 self-service and comprehensive engagement options whether they’re customers, employees, residents, or community leaders. “Citizens were demanding that they interact with us just like they do with businesses they engage with,” Binnicker said.

Like many departments and agencies looking for ways to navigate this increasingly digital environment, Denver faced the convergence of high growth and changing customer preferences. The City was being asked to support this deluge of new residents with higher quality services, and Denver “wanted a system that created a 360-degree view of our residents. We wanted a system that allowed for transparency, that allowed for multichannel integration, that allowed for them to be able to see ticket status,” Binnicker. “We wanted to offload calls from our 911 because non-emergency calls were flooding the 911 call center. At a time when the population is growing, the ability to offload such calls is very important.”

The city’s IT provider, Denver Technology Services, decided to move to the cloud because “we knew that if we wanted to keep pace with our customers, we had to deliver what they needed and we had to think differently about how we were doing our work,” Binnicker said.

Prioritizing a platform that was secure, affordable, and able to integrate with third-party systems, the team kicked off several mission-critical initiatives:

  • They took case management digital.
    Their digital case-management system has a clean, user-friendly interface that encouraged employees to use the application citywide. This helped the city shave 23 seconds off the average call time, reduce duplicate data entry, and save money. “In one agency, our Department of Public Works, we’ve saved more than $7,000 by moving just 4% of cases to digital in the first six months,” said Binnicker.
  • They opened up 311 services.
    Nonemergency 311 services no longer has to touch every case as they did before. Keyword routing sends inquiries directly from citizens — including those submitted via their mobile website, Pocketgov — to the pertinent agencies to complete the work via the case-management system. This makes it easy for caseworkers to update progress on the go and engage more residents, and for both groups to engage in bidirectional conversation. The front-end experience is integrated with back-end mission execution.
  • They developed data-driven processes.
    Services like modern case management, digital 311, and Pocketgov do more than make it easier for Denver to answer community questions – they allow the city to capture more information about their users. Binnicker and her team can see which categories the community is reporting on, monitor which alerts folks are signing up to receive, and more.

“This information helps us determine where we should be dedicating our resources, and what things we should be working on to make it easier for our residents to connect with their government,” Binnicker said.

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