If I look at the future of social services, then I think of services that are provided proactively as opposed to more reactively. They are insight driven and they are really tailored to the needs of a citizen or a family.
Technology is obviously an important enabler for these types of services, nowadays we have the possibility to use for example Analytics or AI to provide services that we could not provide in the past.
In most countries information still sits in silos and there are still boundaries between the agencies, but it is on the agenda of most of the agencies to overcome those barriers and we see great traction in that direction.
The potential is huge, agencies have a lot of data and they need to harness the power of data. If they harness the power of the data and if they collaborate and share data with other agencies but also with the private sector, then they will be able to provide insight-driven, tailored services that address the needs of the citizen.
Changing the culture or the mindset of agencies is often the largest challenge right, while technology can help to overcome those challenges, it usually requires broader programs to really implement a new culture and a new operating model.
I think there is a lot buzz in the market and a lot of fear in the market that machines would actually replace people. I think that is not true in the case of social welfare, maybe also in other industries. For me it is about machines augmenting what humans are doing, using machines for example to automate repetitive tasks thus freeing up human capacity to provide better and more valuable services and at the end of the day taking care of those most in need.
It is human plus machine that is the real game changer and that is what will allow agencies to really transform and provide better services.
AVEnueS is a virtual reality learning solution that Accenture has developed. We are using AVEnueS for example in the child welfare space to prepare case workers for their family visit which is usually a highly stressful and emotional challenging situation. By using virtual reality techniques to prepare child welfare case workers to prepare for that visit, we improve the data gathering and situation assessing skills which will result in a faster and better decision which will have a positive impact on a child’s well-being.
Delivering services in a new way will significantly improve outcomes for citizens and what do I mean by that? People will receive proactive, insight driven and tailored services that are really centered around their needs, so we are talking about a truly human government.