How to Keep Your Team Informed and Safe
Such a solution was critical in the early days of the pandemic, as teams scrambled to set up remote work solutions for tens of thousands of users and it was unclear how traditional work would continue. A crisis portal will remain crucial if agencies need to return to a lockdown and shut down physical offices this fall as the pandemic evolves.
The portal approach has many benefits and acts as an intranet for agencies. First, it provides agencies and other government organizations with a single, public-facing place to manage communications. Clear and consistent communication is vital to reducing confusion and confirming everyone operates from the same information, and to ensuring everyone’s safety during a time of crisis. The portal lets administrators configure the communications aspect using widgets that can broadcast urgent messages to users.
The portal also includes easy reference to articles; for COVID-19, it includes articles from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Agencies can pull in social media feeds and external sources of information, such as data and dashboards from Johns Hopkins University on the status of the pandemic in a state or municipality.
Additionally, the crisis portal gives agencies the ability to let users, staffers, government employees of all stripes and constituents ask questions and interact with both leadership and each other. This community forum function can help individuals overcome a sense of isolation that lockdowns may induce. Forum moderation ensures that information is accurate and interactions are respectful. These forums can support photos and video, and can be used for a variety of topics, such as how to be effective while working from home, how to handle virtual education for children and offers information on the pandemic.
People visiting the portal can submit cases or requests, which can be easily tracked. This approach centralizes related work while also creating visibility into specific tasks. The portal includes omnichannel support to track cases that are brought in via the portal, from phone calls, chats, emails and even integrated social media streams.
The portal allows agencies to connect applications and centralized dashboards with important data, which creates efficiencies because they can be integrated with other apps ServiceNow has built in response to the pandemic. For example, the Emergency Outreach app distributes information and confirms safety and location through email or a mobile app, and the Emergency Self-Report app enables people to report their health while using workflows to help managers respond.
The portal also has a function to have a prebuilt virtual agent that uses natural language recognition software to respond to frequently asked questions.
As the pandemic evolves, it will be critical for governments at all levels to be able to maintain services for citizens and quickly respond to changing conditions. The crisis is far from over, as case levels continue to rise across the country. Government IT leaders, and the officials and public they serve, need tools at the ready to quickly and effectively handle dynamic and fluid situations. The crisis portal can be that critical tool.
This article is part of StateTech‘s CITizen blog series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #StateLocalIT hashtag.