Big data and open data have received a lot of attention from the media over the last few years. On the big data front, new technologies have a wide range of features and functionalities that provide a wealth of new data. For community leaders, open data promises greater accountability and transparency as well as fostering development efforts of computer programmers and start-up companies. Knowing what to do with data helps determine whether the data provide gold nuggets or are more like lumps of coal.
A June 4 article by Tod Newcombe in Government Technology (GovTech.com) explores how many smaller local governments have implemented customer relationship management (CRM) software with a 311 contact center to introduce a centralized customer service system for citizens to connect with their local government. And these 311/CRM systems provide considerable data that can be used by local governments for improving day-to-day management and longer-term policy development. Such data can help answer questions like:
- How many calls are being received?
- What types of call are being received (information versus service requests)?
- What types of calls are being received most often and where?
- Can a citizen inquire about the status of a request through a tracking number?
- Has the problem been resolved? How long did it take?
- Is the citizen notified of the resolution of the service request?
- Are other teams within the organization aware of the resolution?
- Is the citizen satisfied with the resolution?
The answers to such questions—data analytics—can help guide local government budgeting and resource allocation decisions. Data analytics can also be used to highlight how local government processes and procedures can be re-engineered to maximize efficiency and improve service delivery.
In the article, ICMA members from Evanston, Illinois (Erika Storlie, deputy city manager, and Susan Pontarelli, service desk supervisor) and Mankato, Minnesota (Tanya Ange, deputy city manager) explain how CRM/311 systems have been mined for data that can lead to management improvements.
Data collected through the ICMA Insights™ performance management and analytics platform include average calendar days to 311/CRM request resolution as well as citizen ratings of many services that may be deployed in response to 311 calls (e.g., code enforcement, solid waste collection).