Faster and better service with smart technology

Digitization is a must in the private sector, and we have recently seen that public services are also jumping on the digital bandwagon. After all, citizens expect to be helped quickly and correctly. But how do you as a government guarantee the efficient service, and how do you prioritize the right ones? The answer lies in part in the clever application of data analysis.

Public services have to deal with a huge pile of questions and documents every day. Until recently, this was still largely handled manually. Often, several people are involved, which only complicates effective treatment. In practice, of course, some requests are more urgent than others. Inspections would also proceed more smoothly if you could determine in advance which controls deserve more attention.

Fortunately, technology can help and streamline the work of public authorities with insights so that employees get the most out of their time.

Smart application of analyzes

The solution for public services lies in incorporating AI-driven intelligent decision making. It leaves the decision with the employees, while at the same time being supported by automated insight that ensures that they can use their knowledge and skills in an effective way. This allows them to make streamlined decisions faster and more accurately. This also reduces the enormous workload that these services often face. The applications are endless: think about performing inspections, detecting scams, security, …

How exactly does it work? Specifically, we will automatically apply business rules that have been established in consultation, for example to prioritize or optimize flows. This enables us to process huge amounts of data very quickly and then group interactions based on theme or urgency. What is not urgent or may not require the attention of an expert ends up in a green stream. Everything someone still has to take care of is displayed in an orange or red stream. This data-driven way of working makes it possible to handle a large number of inquiries from citizens in a very short time. For example, with COVID-19, a particular country was able to seamlessly process 300,000 applications for financial support thanks to this technique. This rapid service was essential for entrepreneurs who were in danger of getting into trouble as a result of the crisis.

Another example where data analysis leads to smart decisions can be found in the fight against fraud from the customs. Large quantities of goods arrive at Belgian ports and airports every year, and it is not possible to check all containers and packages equally thoroughly. In addition, customs officers must decide in a split second what can go through and what they want to inspect. They used to rely on their previous experience for this, but today SAS supports this process of data mining and analytics. The algorithm is also getting smarter, so customs control is becoming increasingly accurate.

Personal service

Thanks to the use of data analysis, public services not only work more efficiently, they can also offer citizens more personalized services. Compare that to the commercial world where this technology is used to show site visitors personalized banners with deals that really interest them. Or how a job site can show job offers per. individual user that better matches the jobseeker’s profile.

This is especially useful for public authorities as the population consists of different segments. While one citizen demands digital services, the other is a little less technically proficient, and emphasis must be placed on a non-digital way of communicating. Thanks to smart technology, the best form of interaction can be automatically determined for each individual citizen.

Complaints platform FPS Finance

AI-driven decisions are also very valuable for services that deal with complaints. When platforms overflow with messages from customers and citizens, it is not easy to keep track without help. Such a digital hotline exists in Belgium to support the work of the Economic Inspectorate. Both citizens and companies can contact us if they have a complaint, for example about counterfeit products or a purchase that does not live up to the description. Or when they discover scams online.

The platform is an important tool for protecting consumers and combating fraud. On an annual basis, about 50,000 complaints are received, which the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority must deal effectively with about two hundred inspectors. To steer this in the right direction, FPS Finance has built a solution together with SAS. Each complaint is checked by smart technology based on the profile and a few business rules, after which it is divided into themes.

This will also allow inspectors to determine which complaints are the most acute and what they should investigate as soon as possible. Thanks to the division into themes, complaints are sent immediately to the right person. For the service’s employees, the application therefore increases efficiency, while at the same time the citizens get answers much faster. In the long run, the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority could make this solution even more sophisticated, for example by using information for proactive screening.

The government of the future

Just as data analytics and artificial intelligence have brought about a digital transformation in business, governments are also taking big steps, driven by technology, towards more efficient services for citizens. By working data-driven and precisely prioritizing, they can deploy their own staff more optimally, thus guaranteeing a faster and better service. Scam and inspection services also lose less time and can more easily focus on files that really deserve their attention.

Author: Fabian Ducheyne, Account Executive Public Sector at SAS

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