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U.S. Agencies Reshape Online and In-person Services Delivery

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Agencies at every level of government have worked to bring their services and benefits and procedures in line with modern digital systems as citizens and employees alike expect automated and convenient processes like those available at online businesses. To help the government seamlessly provide the services people need and keep workers productive, IT professionals must envision and implement the right technology.

Over the last two years, agencies have learned which services can be moved online and which processes must still be done in person. A growing list of government services can be handled via the internet, including paying fines, getting permits or applying for a marriage, birth or death certificate. However, agencies like the motor vehicles department require in-person experience for some transactions. Additionally, there will be a percentage of the population will need to access services in-person due to things like a lack of internet access or personal preference.

Agencies must embrace innovative and secure ways to conduct in-person processes with minimal risk of disease transmission. Advanced scheduling software is the key. When leveraged appropriately, it requires fewer staff members in the office at any one time and enables crowd control measures like social distancing. Organisations that deploy these types of applications can also streamline and modernise their processes.

Scheduling software can change the entire model for agencies that depend on face-to-face assistance, like the post office, DMV or traffic court. IT departments can set up systems that allow citizens to pre-book appointments instead of just showing up and waiting in line. Walk-ins can still be accommodated by utilising kiosks that collect a person’s basic information (reason for visit, phone number) and place them in a virtual queue. The system can give the user an estimated wait time, allowing them to grab a coffee or do some shopping, eliminating the physical line and minimising crowding in enclosed spaces.

Another benefit of these systems is that the data collected by the scheduling software (both online and from kiosks) can be used to “right-size” the number of employees needed in the office, allowing the rest to work remotely. The footprint of government offices could also shrink dramatically to account for the controlled rate at which customers will arrive, allowing for the repurposing of much of this space.

Digitising the face of service delivery requires a greater emphasis on cybersecurity, and companies that provide digital queuing software must include top-of-the-line security features. Secure, cloud-based software solutions can help agencies manage the deluge of personal data they collect as more aspects of citizens’ lives go online.

Whether people continue to physically visit government offices or conduct their business online, agency IT teams will still be monitoring efficiency and security. The most successful teams will be those willing to embrace the newest innovations, such as machine learning, virtual queuing and ever-improving connectivity.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in partnership with the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defence, launched two new resources to support our nation’s noncitizen service members, veterans, and their families. Through its Immigrant Military Members and Veterans Initiative (IMMVI), DHS will host a one-stop online centre to consolidate relevant federal resources. As part of the resource centre, DHS has also created a portal for veterans who need assistance in applying to return to the United States or accessing VA benefits to which they may be entitled.

These new resources are just the first step to help support noncitizen service members and their families who have made tremendous sacrifices for the U.S. The government is committed to identifying previously removed veterans to ensure they can obtain VA benefits, access COVID-19 vaccines, and return to the United States as appropriate.

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