Organizations were already in the process of digitizing their services and procedures, and so had the government agencies. But due to the pandemic, they have now come a step further—pandemic chatbots. People are used to booking an Uber or scheduling meal delivery through an app. That was not the case with state offices. In this article at InformationWeek, Jessica Davis shares how pandemic chatbots have become government CIOs’ lifelines.
Investing in Pandemic Chatbots
Casey Coleman, former CIO for the US General Services Administration, explains the state’s delay in adopting pandemic chatbots. Unlike the unified experiences consumers are used to today, different budgetary compliances usually run government services and guidelines. “There is no one-stop shopping,” as Davis puts it. That made it all the more challenging for the government to cater to its citizens. Though businesses are preferring a more connected service approach, government agencies were opting for siloed efforts. Per NASCIO’s 2019 State CIO Survey report, the state CIOs were interested in emerging technologies like automation, ML, RPA, and chatbots. However, they had yet to do something about it.
Now, cut to the post-pandemic days. The June 2020 report mentioned that three-fourths of state agencies were launching pandemic chatbots. Those would help people get answers regarding unemployment insurance, COVID-19 related inquiries, and other pandemic-influenced issues. So, governments have redirected the IT budget from their priority projects to support the pandemic chatbots.
Nearly half of the states are using these pandemic chatbots to address unemployment questions on their websites. The report stated, “Scaling up staff at call centers was necessary, and then many turned to chatbots to answer frequently asked questions.”
In April 2020, the Texas Workforce Commission received 98,000 claims on a single day. To address the overwhelming number of requests, they deployed more resources to their call centers. They also deployed “Larry the Chatbot” in four days, thanks to the timely help provided by AWS and Accenture teams.
Apart from call centers, the state CIOs also found use cases for these pandemic chatbots in other areas. For instance, clearing doubts about COVID-19 and granting loans to SMBs. The NASCIO report concluded that government websites are willing to use pandemic chatbots well after the pandemic is over.
To view the original article in full, visit the following link: https://www.informationweek.com/government/leadership/government-cios-prioritize-chatbots-in-pandemic/d/d-id/1339832?
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