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Budget cuts and financial scrutiny have forced public sector organisations to look for new ways to streamline their spending and, as with any other business, local authorities must become more customer-centric if they want to succeed in today’s interconnected environment.
Chris Hemming, Head of Public Sector Recruitment at Cognitive Group, explores how improving operational management through the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics can help achieve both of these objectives.
Traditionally, government bodies such as local authorities have had a rather disjointed approach to operations, with customer facing services such as council tax, student loans and benefits, housed on different platforms. Firstly, not only is the council paying for each system separately, but the customer is having to visit multiple platforms to access their information, leading to (generally) an unhappy user experience. And, as local authorities are constantly facing threat from opposition, finding ways to improve constituent satisfaction is only going to benefit them.
CRM systems are already present in the public sector, but we are mainly seeing data management features being used. An effective CRM system can help align the needs of the council and the public, by creating one system that manages all contact for every service on offer.
One of the key benefits of having a single view of the customer is that all information (e.g. tax/housing data) will be captured in one place. This accessibility will lead to greater insight and understanding, which can be used to communicate more effectively with constituents and also allow for services to be tailored to meet specific needs.
Lagan was the original supplier of CRM systems to focus on the public sector and although they were at the forefront back in 2009, there have been major developments and innovations in the technology that have surpassed what Lagan has to offer.
Microsoft Dynamics on the other hand is constantly innovating; the Dynamics 365 platform for example, integrates both CRM and ERP systems through the use of a common data model, helping local authorities to manage all aspect of their operations – from financials and HR to marketing and consumer insights.
Additionally, the Cloud aspect of Azure offers much needed security for the sector, and as Dynamics is just an extension of the Office 365 suite, users will appreciate the familiarity of the interface. Microsoft is also currently offering free license fees for office users, adding a further incentive for Lagan users to migrate over.
The introduction of Dynamics 365 sees the CRM solution as we know it, being re-branded to Dynamics 365 for Customer Service. The Dynamics for Customer Service functionality has reached an all-time high, supporting Public Sector strategies for digital channel shift, improving customer insight, enhancing the customer experience and a maintaining up to date information.
Dynamics 365 Operations provides the transactional capability required to manage Council Tax, Housing Benefits, Finance, Procurement, HR and other transaction based services, all of which can be fully integrated with the Dynamics 365 for Customer Service solution.
Included within the Dynamics 365 product set is the Portal solution, offering an online self-serve facility for customers to serve themselves at a time to suit them. The portal is fully integrated with Dynamics 365 Customer Service, enabling customers to access key data such as Council Tax balance, Benefits payments, Waste Collection information and much more. It also provides the ability for customers to raise service requests and check their eligibility for council services.
The Mobile Solution within Dynamics 365 provides the capability for mobile working. Council workers can access and edit customer records and create cases even when they are out of the office. This enables the most up to date information and activity to reach the field workers without the need to return to the office resulting in an increased amount of time spend delivering services.
It is clear to see that through the use of Dynamics 365, local authorities now have the ability to reduce their IT landscape, manage and maintain one core data set and hold a 360 degree view of their customers. This results in an improved customer experience, improved service standards, reduced IT costs, reduced operational costs and improved user experience.
So, if you would like some ideas on how to build your programme team in 2017, or to hear about our current job opportunities, get in touch today.
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Cognitive Group are specialists in Microsoft Dynamics recruitment with a focus on Microsoft Dynamics AX jobs, Microsoft Dynamics CRM jobs and Microsoft Dynamics 365 jobs
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