There’s a lot of talk in the tech world about “as a service” – “Software as a Service,” “Infrastructure as a Service,” “Platform as a Service;” – these terms are banded around, mainly by software companies, to describe various models of providing the toolsets required for companies to do what they do.
The delivery models of these toolsets don’t actually change the way that public sector businesses work, but they enable change to happen. Paper based forms, snail mail and cumbersome 6 week processes can be automated via the web, apps and e-forms. Front line staff, on a rubber band to the office, conducting appointments with a pen and paper can input directly into case management systems, via handheld devices. Individual citizens having to explain themselves to a multitude of different departments, on a number of different channels, can transact via a single portal where all of their interactions are held. Technology has progressed to such an extent that digital has to be the default.
UK Government has taken this opportunity (or should that be challenge?) at a central level and created the “Digital by Default Service Standard” - that being any government service going live after April 2014 needs to comply to 26 standards, with the aim to make services “so good that people prefer to carry out the transaction online rather than by phone, post or in person” .
Alongside the aims to create user-centric, iteratively designed services, Government has embraced the “as a service” approach with it’s Cloud First policy , providing support for organisations that are attempting to make technology more of a commodity than a reliance – why should a GIS system, or Case Management system not be easy to re-use in the organisation? After all, a majority of citizen services rely upon an address, unique identifier, case, account (and their specific needs) and process. The “gubbins” of Government should be reusable, simple, user-centric, mobile and effective.
And so we come to the idea of a citizen platform; a set of re-usable technology components that enables the business (government) to deliver services to citizens quickly, efficiently and above all digitally. At Salesforce we have developed the Salesforce1 platform; from a transactional web portal, through to contact centre case handling, and back office or front office service delivery - everyone can use the same toolsets and the same processes. Middle office is digitised, citizens provided a self-serve portal and front office staff a mobile solution; all with re-usable components, all mobile out of the box and crucially all on the same platform.
Underpinning the Salesforce1 platform is the building blocks that create these solutions; mapping, case management, workflow, database, integration points – all hosted in the cloud. This allows you to stop spending time supporting your infrastructure, and instead spending time innovating, changing your business and serving citizens.
This article was carefully crafted by Michael Nelson, a salesforce.com UK Public Sector expert.