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Friday, 31.05.2024
eGovernment Forschung seit 2001 | eGovernment Research since 2001
It is nearly impossible to talk about e-government without mentioning Customer (or Citizen) Relationship Management (CRM, says Oracle's Andy Smith. CRM features prominently in the government’s national strategy for local e-government and many local authorities have factored it into their recently completed Implementing Electronic Government statements (IEGs). So is CRM the ultimate answer behind creating a successful e-government or has government been caught up in the hype?

The importance of delivering e-government is central to every local authority’s plans. Of course e-government is not just about technology. It’s about delivering better citizen services at an affordable cost to the taxpayer. But technology is key to enabling a cost-effective service transformation. This is where CRM systems have a vital role to play.

CRM can be used as a central tool in allowing data to support services over multiple channels. And it can give organisations a more holistic picture of their individual customer. This means an e-government strategy that incorporates CRM will certainly help UK local authorities to make steps towards the pinnacle of ‘better services and greater efficiency.’

Better services result from increased flexibility and choice on the ways that citizens can access services; easy-to-understand public services made available from a single information point; faster and better-informed responses to a higher volume of telephone calls with the caller being given a single point of reference.

Greater efficiency results from moving from a departmental-based organisation to one centred around the citizen; process automation thereby increasing the efficiency of handling requests and reducing the chances of human error; achieving a single view of every citizen, regardless of the contact channel, as an aid to individual service delivery and organisational planning.

But although many local authorities are talking about CRM, rather fewer are actually doing it. And some are making the mistake of starting with CRM as a technical solution, without first identifying the business and organisational problems they are seeking to solve. Many vendors are little better. There are plenty of companies purporting to offer a CRM system for local government, but there are very real differences in terms of what is actually on offer. For example many amount to little more than simple call tracking systems. These may be fine for small call centres but cannot help with the complex integration issues and multi-channel access required for real e-government.

The seamless integration between front office service delivery and back office fulfilment is critical to e-government in that it improves customer service, streamlines back office processing, increases productivity in front line service delivery and helps users utilise resources most effectively. The result is reduced costs.

Nobody is suggesting that all this can be done overnight. Authorities therefore need to look for a CRM system that is flexible enough to allow implementation at a number of levels. At its most comprehensive, this means a system which caters for customer contact through multiple access channels (telephone, one stop shop, internet, Digital TV, Mobile) and full integration into existing operational systems such as Social Services, Housing, Revenues and Benefits, Environmental Services as well as Financial and HR systems. But at its simplest it means a system that allows an Authority to select a starting point for an Electronic Service Delivery implementation such as a single service area or single channel. But even those authorities starting with a single service need to ensure that the chosen system can be expanded to Full Electronic Service Delivery, Joined up Services and Joined up Agencies. Otherwise the dream of fully integrated customer service will remain just that.

To date, the UK has seen a number of early adopter local authorities implement CRM, with a small number operational, and a smaller number still experiencing a good return on their investment. The remainder are facing a significant expense before their technology will deliver a sustainable CRM programme. Most have yet to integrate with existing back-office operational systems, let alone considered inter-agency collaboration. The majority of local authorities are still struggling with where to start.

Whilst many vendors are still promoting the need to comply with the 2005 e-government targets and the need for major business process re-engineering, our view is that the initial investment that authorities have made, or will make, in CRM should transform their authority at a steady pace, join services and deliver inter-agency collaboration. Despite conflicting vendor opinions, this can be achieved without the need for major additional software expenditure, bespoke systems integration or business process re-engineering. Suppliers should make the thousands of days of intellectual capital already invested by early adopter authorities affordable to the wider marketplace.

From Liverpool to Hull, from Havering to Hertfordshire, from Clackmannanshire to Stevenage, we are working with authorities that want to use e-government to improve their customer service and cut their administration costs without having to throw away their existing legacy systems. By building new functionality onto what is already in place, local authorities are gaining a fast, cost effective and low risk solution that has the ability to grow from a simple call centre to real joined-up government.

So is CRM the ultimate solution or a passing fad? The truth lies between the two. CRM can help local authorities transform their services and drive out costs, but only after choosing technologies wisely based on the issues and problems that have to be solved. Only then can the services and efficiencies that citizens demand become a reality.

Quelle: crm-forum

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