Five reasons why councils need to join up front and back office data

Modernising processes to improve services is a key priority for councils today. A big part of that is moving to the cloud and making data the key component. This allows the front-end to be linked to back-end systems to gain valuable insight into citizen interaction and in turn improve the customer experience and services provided.

Here are our top five reasons why joining up data from the front-end and back-end to achieve true integration is the way forward:

Councils can increase their services’ speed and accuracy dramatically
Citizens expectations and needs are changing constantly. Legacy systems are now struggling to keep up with the speed and accuracy needed to provide the best service possible. With many councils striving to digitise their services, the front-end seems like the obvious place to start. After all, it’s what the citizen sees. However, no matter how well-functioning your front-end is, trying to marry that with a ten-year-old back-end system is bound to result in frustrations, making it difficult, if not impossible to achieve. Councils will truly see the benefits of digitisation when they transform the whole process, not just one part.

Workloads will become lighter
The term ‘automation’ can still make some people feel uneasy. The fact is, by automating some processes (like data moving from front to back-end, and vice versa), the time of stretched staff can be freed up to do other, more interesting things. And it goes far beyond making things easier at the front-end for citizens. Front-end only improvements make for a better customer experience, but do nothing for the workload of the staff at the authority.

As an example, online query forms are simple to navigate and make processes faster for citizens. However, without digital integration of the front and back office workflow, the data entered through that form will require the manual input of a staff member to duplicate the data and assign the task to the right department and complete the customer journey. Workflow automation and the right front-to-back end processes takes away this cumbersome manual element.

Money is saved

It can take time for the benefits of transformation to be felt by citizens and staff alike, but in the longer term, financial savings are likely. St Albans City and District Council, with whom we are currently implementing a project to digitise their services, have so far seen efficiency savings from the first phase of that project, which is replacing legacy systems in favour of a cloud-based platform that efficiently joins up processes.

Councils can improve the lives of their citizens through better quality of data
We’ve mentioned the Local Digital Declaration before, which sets out the principles to the successful transformation of public services. How can a council uphold this if it doesn’t know anything about the people who use its services? Allowing front and back office systems to work together means that data becomes far more accessible and accurate. It becomes easier to share and integrate across departments; map and gain insights from and, critically, simpler to identify areas of service that need improving.

Citizens will have a better experience
Customer service is all about helping people have a better day. That can’t be achieved with struggling legacy systems, stretched staff, and systems that don’t join up data or communicate through a whole system. It’s important for citizens to know that they have a council that can communicate with them on every medium, with speed, and provide a seamless customer journey. By using the wealth of public sector tech innovation at their fingertips, councils can offer better customer service and help people to have a more positive experience with them.

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