Local Governments Migrating To The Cloud To Meet The Needs Of Their Citizen Customers
The United States is experiencing unprecedented urbanization. According to the University of Michigan, about 82% of the U.S. population lives in urban areas, up from 64% in 1950. By 2050, that number is expected to surpass 90%. At the same time, the population is getting older. By 2035, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that 1 in 5 U.S. residents will be over 65, outnumbering those younger than 18 for the first time in history.
Cities In The Cloud
In the wake of these two trends, U.S. cities and local governments are struggling to provide services for their growing and aging constituencies. One of the key challenges that cities face is with their communications systems. Based on their retail and online experiences, many citizens expect a seamless omnichannel experience when engaging their local government — via their choice of text, phone, online chat, or video. And in many cases, the aging city IT infrastructure is not up to the task.
Legacy telephony and contact center solutions also have minimal analytics capabilities, making it impossible to effectively monitor contact center performance and collect and action citizen feedback.
Neither can these legacy systems accommodate the needs of the modern, mobile workforce. Many municipal employees work remotely, and many would prefer to use their personal or mobile devices for work purposes. With unemployment rates at historically low levels, governments are hard-pressed to attract and retain talent, and antiquated or ineffective technology solutions often create significant employee dissatisfaction.
Finally, most cities and towns looking to upgrade their communications infrastructures struggle with significant budget constraints. According to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, the largest contributors to those constraints are unfunded pension and benefit obligations (some estimates point to a country-wide $5 trillion liability for state and local governments).
As a result, cash-strapped cities and municipalities are exploring alternatives that require minimal capital investment — cloud-based voice and contact center solutions that promise transparent, predictable pricing, ease of implementation, and access to integrated applications.
UCaaS Frontrunners Lead the Way To Cloud Migration
Two UCaaS providers that have made significant investments in their public sector practices and offer compelling solutions for local governments are Jive Communications and 8x8.
In 2018, Utah-based Jive was acquired by collaboration leader LogMeIn, maker of popular solutions such as GoToMeeting and OpenVoice. This acquisition propelled Jive into a position of new segment leader almost overnight. Silicon Valley’s 8x8 is a perennial industry frontrunner and a Gartner Magic Quadrant UCaaS leader for seven consecutive years.
Leveraging the capabilities of the cloud, both of these companies have adapted their solutions to meet the unique requirements of cities and local governments in several key areas.
The Power of a Single Platform
Municipalities moving communications to the cloud face a potential pitfall if they migrate applications with different vendors. Using numerous cloud platforms can create ‘data silos’ in the cloud, and can result in multiple interfaces for users to learn and IT to manage.
Employing a single platform from 8x8, cities can migrate to voice, then incorporate other capabilities (like chat, video conferencing, and contact center) over time and at their own pace. This single platform approach is especially valuable for remote and mobile users, who can access all features from a single application on a smartphone or other remote device.
Jive takes a similar path, combining their voice capabilities with GoToMeeting's web, audio, and video conferencing into one simple and flexible solution called GoToConnect. Customers can expect further integration of other LogMeIn applications into the platform.
Many local governments will choose to migrate to UCaaS over time, and many will embrace Jive’s simplified pricing model. Jive charges on a monthly, per-user basis, and provides a wide range of functionality — voice, chat, video, even basic contact center capabilities — for that base price. Organizations needing more complex omnichannel capabilities and advanced contact center analytics can opt for Jive’s ‘Contact Center Pro’ solution.
8x8 takes a different approach to pricing, allowing municipalities to choose service plans on a per-user basis. This ‘pay for what you need’ philosophy lets customers mix and match capabilities based on role.
While the 8x8 model can offer lower introductory pricing, Jive’s ‘all-in’ approach may provide more budgeting predictability as customers migrate additional services to the cloud.
To be continued...
In Part 2, read about advanced analytics & reporting, ease of implementation & support, differences between 8x8 and Jive, and more.