Can governments provide better and more efficient service to citizens through customer
relationship management systems? SAP thinks so.
Earlier this month, SAP AG released its CRM rapid deployment solution for citizen contact centers. Part of the German company's Urban Matters program, the solution is intended to streamline governmental multi-channel contact centers, through delivery of services and information across communication types.
'Achieve Quick Results'
The company said the software uses pre-configured content and pre-defined services that are specifically designed for these uses. Supported channels include phone, e-mail, Web, and chat, and SAP said the offering can be deployed in under three months, thanks to pre-configuration and rapid deployment methodology.
Jens Romaus, senior vice president and global head of Public Services Industry Solutions at SAP, said in a statement that the solution "can be deployed quickly for a fixed cost," helping governments to "achieve quick results while minimizing the risks typically associated with a new software project."
A shared service model concept is utilized, so that CRM capabilities can be reused on other projects. Channels for social media and mobile devices can also be added as an extension to the citizen contact center solution, when needed. In addition to this support for citizen contact centers, SAP offers other public section solutions in its Urban Matters program for social services, public security, tax and revenue management, citizen services and grantor management.
We asked Charles King, an analyst with business technology research firm Pund-IT, if governments represent a growing market for CRM. He replied that they've "not traditionally been the fastest adopters of new technology," but "continuing cost pressures" mean that they need to look to technology to save money and improve services.
Pitching to Governments
King also noted that there may be a divide along generational lines as to which citizens will benefit from technology like CRM, such as younger people utilizing CRM services more than older ones. But King pointed out that various kinds of Web-based citizen services are becoming commonplace in some U.S. states, such as his state of California, where much of the interaction for jury duty, for instance, can be handled online.
Increasingly, CRM vendors are pitching their products to the governmental market, composed of agencies that are, ostensibly, entirely in the business of providing services for and to citizen-customers. For instance, Oracle has said that its CRM Public Sector, part of its Social Services Suite, is one of the first off-the-shelf software solutions created specifically for social services.
In Oracle's case, the CRM solution is part of an integrated platform for government, the Social Services Suite, which provides tools for determining eligibility, managing cases, increasing caseworker efficiency, and improving overall program effectiveness.
Similarly, Sunnyvale, California-based KANA Software has a Service Experience Management platform that includes CRM and Web-based customer service, along with business process management, knowledge management and social media. The company said the platform, which can be cloud-based or delivered on-premise, has been used by more than 250 governmental agencies.