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Part 3: The role of voice in public sector digital transformation

By 2020, the UK government’s digital transformation strategy is aiming to transform the relationship between citizen and state. In other words, public sector departments are intent on revolutionising the way they do things to become more efficient, intelligent, smarter and smoother.

Of course, that brings to mind things like better data usage in airports to recognise frequent travellers, GP appointments carried out over a video link, or the recently announced unlocking of Ordnance Survey mapping and location data, aimed at bettering our collective use of geospatial information.

However, one of the less talked about facets of government digital transformation is the place of voice communication, person-to-person conversations and the good old telephone. Because although digital transformation brings to mind AI, IoT and big, disruptive innovation, it remains true that certain parts of the government still need to talk. And voice communication has a huge role to play in any public sector organisation’s future.

Clear, quick and concise communication

Our own Transformation Game research revealed that improving the user experience is a priority for 49% of public sector organisations. This is where voice communication fits in.

Certain public sector bodies simply have to conduct their business over the phone. Law enforcement, emergency services, healthcare – to name a few. If they’re not able to talk to the public they’re serving then there’s the very real risk that things will be misunderstood, or lost in translation because the medium they’re communicating on isn’t sufficient for its purpose.

Of course, one result of this may be a failed interaction with the service in question. But another may well be that interaction having to be done again and again until it’s right, which is far from a good user experience. Voice communication is clear, quick and concise. Sometimes, that’s exactly what’s needed.Efficient and easy

Intelligent use of human and financial resources is vital in the public sector. And those in charge can be sure that if either goes awry someone will hear about it. Again, voice communication has a role to play here in making sure that the government hits the mark.

Humans can speak around 125-175 words per minute. And can listen to 450 words per minute. In contrast, the average user typing speed is only 41 words per minute. This tells us that there’s a level of efficiency with voice communications that simply can’t be achieved with text-based alternatives. So, while the public sector should rightly embrace live chat and other modern forms of communication, for certain conversations (where the subject matter may be complex to explain or understand) voice communication is a more natural fit.

The numbers simply don’t lie.

Keeping government cloud first

In 2013, the government introduced its ‘Cloud First’ policy. This made it mandatory for central government agencies to consider cloud solutions first before any other alternatives, and this was strongly recommended for general public sector bodies.

Of course, traditional ISDN phone solutions run counter to this policy. They’re fixed, held together by wires, and (as we’ve mentioned before) soon to be obsolete. Yet modern telecommunications solutions are one area where government bodies can tick the cloud first box easily.

Hosted voice telephony is cloud based, easy to use and install, and fits whatever objectives a public sector body has for its telephony. It’s modern infrastructure for a modern public sector, ensuring that voice communication is reliable when it needs to be, wholly based in the cloud, cost effective and efficient.

The trend may be towards text, but in the public sector there’s still a lot to say by voice. Hosted telephony is ideally poised to enable that.

Want to learn more about voice in the public sector? Read our new research report The Transformation Game.