Breaking silos between public services with collaboration

Ernest Lee
May 16, 2019

How CPaaS, A.I. and analytics can help government industry leaders break organizational silos

One way to streamline public services and do more with less as public budgets flatten, is to break organizational silos. Organizations in the government industry are no strangers to the silo effect, which can create a high level of bureaucracy or red tape. This indicator is so important that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is using it in its public sector efficiency indicators comparison*.

Silos come in different forms. They can be based on a hierarchy, or sectors, or themes (like fighting crime, education, healthcare), on leadership type, and more. Separating these into different sections or teams in an organization creates a silo effect.

In the public sector, most departments are well established with a long history, which adds to the complexity as they have always existed and done things in a specific way.

Creating a dynamic environment while integrating different teams is not an easy task. It requires leadership and vision, but technology can be of great help! Leaders seeking silo-breaking efficiency can turn to technology for:

• Focusing teams on citizens, their needs and requirements and align departments to deliver

• Automate recurrent tasks thus removing the workload from public-facing teams

• Help public employees transition from being service providers to facilitators

• Encourage citizen engagement and communications

• Enhance cross-governmental digital collaboration with the creation of project-based teams

• Foster knowledge sharing and cooperation beyond the physical office walls

• Uncover trends, possible synergies and become proactive rather than reactive

Here are a few ideas on how to use smart government solutions to break silos and become more citizen-centric.

Start by defining a citizen journey

Having a primary objective to be citizen-centric can help break departmental silos while a customer journey will get things started! You will need to identify:

1. Your different citizen touch points

2. Available communication channels

3. The interfaces

Next, you need to define the journey your customers will want. Start by gathering everyone to discuss and define the journey, identify how every service will be represented, who will be the touch points and what the best ways are to address requests. Once the journey is defined, the next step is defining a citizen app and digital services on your website, kiosks, and whatever else you may have available for promotion.

City app blog body

Define the back office

Now that the citizen journey and touchpoints are clear, you can define the employee back-office and how the app will interact with their workspace and via which services (chat, voice, video, email). If you don’t know where to start, ALE government experts can help you define the citizen journey and back office setup.

Offer multi-channel interactions

No two people are alike. Some prefer face-to-face, others audio or video calls, some are email or short messaging fans. Offering the channel of choice for both employees and citizens can greatly enhance communications and reduce conflicts.

Encourage citizen engagement and communication with simple tools

Public sector organizations are working towards achieving an increased level of transparency by engaging citizens in government processes. Adding citizen feedback to your app will help the different government teams become aligned on citizen needs. A very simple example is gathering citizen feedback on public services or giving citizens the option to send public equipment deterioration alerts. Often the citizens don’t know to whom to address their alerts, and thanks to an app they can access from their own devices, they don’t even need to! You can make things very simple for them by defining some key topics and pre-defining the departments that should receive the notifications.

Damage notification

Identify the most recurrent requests and automatize them

Automating the most recurrent requests can free a lot of administrative time and offset the workload from public-facing teams, allowing them to focus on counseling the citizens. AI, in combination with eServices, can greatly help in identifying the most recurrent citizen needs and standardizing administrative requests such as document retrieval, meeting requests to the right department, and services follow-up. But it can also provide important trend data such as: Identifying the most requested services and departments, and peak times of the day/month/year for requests. In the long run, it can help plan resources and uncover department synergies.

Resident Online Services

Create cross-governmental, project-based collaboration

The best example of government agencies needing to collaborate are in times of emergency or natural disasters, when stakeholders from different services cooperate for the public good. Teams include local administration, first responders, rescue teams, police forces, fire fighters, schools and healthcare personnel. Collaboration tools can greatly accelerate emergency response with automatic group notifications and calls on all devices. Creating emergency intervention plans and teams well in advance across government organizations, creating digital collaboration spaces and defining notification rules across the public teams and the community can give IT managers an excellent precedent of a best practice in silo-breaking.

Alert notification 500x180

Foster knowledge sharing and cooperation beyond the office walls

Helping workers collaborate easily, whether they are on the move, in separate buildings, in different states or in different organizations, can help them deliver a better service. It can also help new workers integrate faster or sub-contractors have a faster view of the project they are in. Project contact lists, collaboration spaces, and document sharing to better understand the context, on any device, are only some examples of how to support knowledge sharing beyond the office premises.

Cooperation Rainbow Government

These are just some examples of how technology can help break government silos with collaboration. ALE’s team of Government experts can help you design your own digital transformation and collaboration strategy and take things even further.

Rainbow for Government offers powerful citizen-facing and employee collaboration possibilities, on multiple channels (audio, chat, video, screen and document sharing). It can integrate into any government working environment in a transparent and non-intrusive way, without unnecessary rip-and-replace. Government solutions are here to help leaders achieve customer focus and efficiency. 

* Research Gate: Public Sector Efficiency - An International Comparison 

Ernest Lee

Ernest Lee

Vice-President Government, APAC, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise

Ernest Lee is currently responsible for the Government vertical sales in the Asia Pacific region and is based in Singapore. His added responsibilities include Strategic Partner alliance and Country Head of Singapore business. Prior to this position he was VP of sales for Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei with strong growth year on year. With verticalization, he continues to accelerate the growth in his vertical simulated by the digital transformation such as Smart cities.

Before joining Alcatel-Lucent in 2005, he has more than 10 years of experience in the enterprise and security market covering the telco, government and defense industry.

He has served in various leadership roles in Singapore Computer System (SCS) and Datacraft (Currently Dimension Data). He holds an Honors in EEE from the University of Edinburgh in UK.

About the author

Latest Blogs

A group of people looking at a laptop.

Students play a key role in driving innovation

Today’s college and university students’ fresh ideas contribute to the innovative, leading-edging technologies of the future.


From customer service to customer satisfaction

Emerging technology, including artificial intelligence, is driving the shift from customer service to customer satisfaction.

a group of people standing together
Digital Age Networking

Tackling risk, resilience and security in a changing world

Understanding risk and creating resilient and secure networks is essential to ensure critical services and citizen safety.

a group of people standing together

Sustainable product design program: A view from our Termina…

The eco-design "MakCCIng Durable” program transformed the way the ALE team designs terminals.