Adding voice to Councils’ digital transformation strategies

We like to think we have our fingers on the pulse of new and upcoming technologies here at Agile Applications. And as a software and digital services provider, we’ve made it our mission to help Local Authorities transform and modernise their digital back-office functions. According to a recent study, however, Councils are struggling with their digital transformation strategy.

The iGov survey found that 38% of public servants believe their organisation is missing out on “key opportunities” to embrace digital. A further 45% of respondents said they believed there were barriers preventing their organisation from widening service availability, whilst just 13% said they felt all opportunities were “fully embraced”.

Barriers to digital transformation

Clearly there are some barriers to get over before Local Authorities are all well down the path to digital transformation – costs, culture and legacy systems were the most commonly cited in the survey (we’re confident we can challenge all of those). And to continue with that metaphor, it’s a path that will continue to get longer for the foreseeable future; such is the progress of technology.

When it comes to the government’s digital strategy for the public sector, 38% of respondents to the same survey said they agreed or strongly agreed that it was achievable. This is compared with 17% who disagreed or strongly disagreed with its viability.

And when asked about specific technology, the survey revealed widespread consideration of automated processes for citizen engagement processes – for instance in handling appeals or requests. 34% said they had already implemented automated technology, while 18% said they had a strategy in place, and 11% said they had explored the benefits.

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The future of citizen engagement

We’re always pushing ourselves to find exciting new features and technologies to enhance our products and give Local Authorities even better value for money. Amongst many other trends, we are getting very excited about the ways in which we can develop voice recognition and voice activation features for our apps.

You may have seen the sudden increase in instances of voice technology solutions – on your mobile phone (Siri, Cortana, Google), at home (Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service), and even in your car. Indeed, Google said in 2016 that 20% of all queries on mobile devices were voice searches, and the numbers have only increased since then. Which is why we are currently developing ways to integrate similar technologies into our apps to make Council functions simpler and more streamlined for residents and employees alike.

You may already be aware of our @HOME recycling app, which many Authorities are already using to encourage recycling and waste disposal habits amongst their residents. By the end of 2017, you will be able to ask the app how to recycle specific items and it will show you the correct container for your Council. Cool, right?

That’s not the end of our ambitions either. In our vision of the future, soon will come the day when the majority of Council functions and citizen engagement can be activated with voice or video technology. And that is where you come in.

How can we help you?

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Wherever you or your department currently stands on your journey to digital transformation – whether you work in Planning, Building Control, Environmental Services or Waste – we can help you. You are the experts in your field just as we are the experts in digital technologies; we have the technical expertise to help you reach your goals, improve your productivity and reduce your costs.

Don’t be scared by the speed of technology – there are so many exciting technical developments to enhance your business processes.

Get in touch to find out how we can work collaboratively with you to solve your business challenges, whilst delivering innovative and exciting technologies to help better engage your citizens.

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