Covid19 has reinforced the need for digital services. A digital client desk offers municipalities and other authorities an excellent opportunity to increase customer satisfaction and reduce their distance to citizens. In a series of the blogs Bas van Gool (1uur.nu) explains what a digital desk is, including its advantages, the way a digital desk works, and for which other contexts it would be useful. In Part One: How did the digital desk arise and what may we expect for the future?
Moving from a physical client desk to a digital environment
In the past, we wrote about 1uur.nu’s intense and inspiring collaboration with AskRoger! . This collaboration enables us to combine their knowledge and know-how of Microsoft (communication) systems with ours on how people work. As a result, 1uur.nu was invited by AsRoger! and Microsoft to work with them on organizing a hackaton. The challenge? how do we transfer a municipality’s physical client desk to a digital environment? This question occupied many municipalities, certainly in times of lockdown, when person-to-person client contact was difficult. But even now that normal contact is easier again, alternatives for physical meetings are in higher demand than ever.
Why Microsoft Teams?
A hackaton showed that municipalities are very much interested in digital desks. What remained to do, of course, was developing them. Which software do you need, for instance? When you realize that 115 million people daily use Microsoft Teams, and that almost everybody in the Netherlands has used Teams at one time or another, the choice is easy. Certainly in municipal organizations Microsoft Teams is a well-known platform. Wouldn’t it be great if employees could meet with citizens in an environment they know already, with just one extra click button added? Not only does it offer municipalities a relatively easy way to improve their reputation, their IT departments will experience management and cost benefits too.
People are increasingly used to making digital arrangements for the services they need. Municipalities, however, were not exactly ahead in this game. Of course, authorities face an extra challenge concerning privacy. They have to be sure that the people they talk to are who they say they are; and the security of what they discuss and of any documents exchanged must be guaranteed. o how do you keep communications easy for citizens, enabling them to contact you from anywhere and using any device? nd how can you include the tried-and-tested DigID identification method as well as the trusted iDeal payment standard?
The first results are here!
We at 1uur.nu know exactly what to do to clarify organizations’ processes and how to support new work routines. AskRoger! has all the technology knowledge and know-how of Microsoft (communications) systems to develop a digital desk. Then Microsoft helped us develop a proof of concept. So now we have a product that enables citizens to make appointments online that are directly entered in the municipal employee’s diary. This offers citizens a simple way to file a request for a driver’s licence, a passport or an excerpt from their municipality’s population register; or to register a birth or discuss benefits entitlements.
The ‘digitale agenda gemeenten 2024’ report describes the role of municipalities in our society’s digital transition in terms of three objectives: ‘enablement’, ‘using opportunities’ and ‘explaining and reflecting’. The digital desk offers an innovative and accessible way to realize these objectives. Our next two blogs will focus on the advantages of the digital desk and on how it is implemented.
Want to get going?
Would you, as a municipality or other authority, want to start a digital desk already, or would you like a demo? Give us a call, at +31 183 512 253, or email us firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be glad to help you!