One constant remains through human services change, even when disruption is everywhere. People are at the heart of the mission. And as agencies turn to digital technologies to streamline customer experiences, and improve outcomes—digitalization can make service delivery more human than ever.
The Accenture Technology Vision 2016 reveals that the digital revolution demands putting people first to truly transform organizations. Because digital means people too. The report reveals five emerging trends that no organization can ignore. How will they shape the future of human services?
Do things differently, do different things
Support lifelong learning, not jobs for life
Break down walls, break out new ways to work
Disrupt yourself, before being disrupted
Unlock data, lock in security and trust
Human services caseworkers can work side by side with new co-workers—machines and artificial intelligence. Intelligent automation brings scale, speed, simplicity and data insight to labor-intensive and transactional agency processes, such as basic eligibility determination. This transforms caseworker productivity and skills requirements—freeing up humans for the tasks that demand the human touch.
The State of Ohio Integrated Eligibility System uses no-touch processing for intake and case creation, relying on state and federally defined program rules to determine eligibility. Citizens can apply online and receive near real-time eligibility determination without worker intervention. Today, only 50 percent of all current applications are paper—an effective 15 percent workload reduction in manual application processing for staff.
Pension systems think no-touch processing can help improve internal efficiency.
The labor market is ever evolving thanks largely to digital technologies like intelligent automation. People need constant training and reskilling as career paths have more twists and turns than ever before. All human services agencies must adjust for this new normal workforce reality. But employment agencies must be at the center, helping people and employers adapt and advance.
Singapore’s Work Development Agency is intervening at different points in citizens’ lives. To meet the future demand of its economy and prevent people’s skills from becoming obsolete, it helps citizens to learn different skills no matter where they are in their careers. The agency has launched a national credentialing system that brings together education, training and career progression advice.
66% of public employment service officials surveyed across 11 countries believe they have only limited insight into future skill needs of companies.
As more human services agencies invest in digital platforms and digital ecosystems grow, agencies can track and predict future changes and their impact on the people they serve. This full visibility into tomorrow’s disruptive forces is unprecedented. It is an opportunity for agencies to defy convention and reinvent roles, service delivery and collaboration—every facet of agency operations.
The Department for Work and Pensions in the United Kingdom has launched a Universal Credit model to deliver working age benefit payments that dynamically adjust to salary every month. This supports modern flexible work arrangements and provides a consistency and security of income for low-wage workers. If tax and benefit data is understood on the same platform, then the old concepts of assessment of wealth versus assessment of need start to break down. Beneficiaries just have a running “account” with government.
1/3 of PS respondents (32%) rank public service as one of the top 3 industries that will face the most digital disruption in close future
A digital human services agency can deliver services in new ways, drawing data insights about people’s behaviors. But more digital means more risk of security breaches, and more opportunities to lose people’s trust. That’s why security-by-design and ethics are foundational. Human services agencies excel at protecting people, now they must excel at protecting their personally identifiable information too.
Citizens in Germany have control over their own data and how the government uses it. They can opt in or out of government agencies sharing their data internally. The more data that people share, the better services are enabled for them. But fundamentally, the citizen is in charge.
Technology is the driver. But people are the true force of change. And no one knows people like the human services community. Get started with these fundamentals today:
Put customers in charge of their own data—secure access to manage and update data and control its use.
Build data collaboration rules built into every interface—address data provenance, relevance and sharing.
Disrupt yourself—inventory services to determine what’s no longer needed and what needs to be developed.