Last year, I helped deliver on a campaign promise made by Denver's mayor, John Hickenlooper, to implement a citywide 311 system. Designed to help citizens and businesses navigate the complexities (think thousands of phone numbers) of our local government, our 311 system uses a combination of Oracle software and an expert call center to address constituent needs.
Here in Denver's Technology Services agency, we've seen the 311 system lead to innovative use of customer relationship management (CRM) and support products. Since the July 2006 launch, we've gained greater visibility into the needs of our constituents. City managers know how many compliments, complaints, and service requests are made. They can see how many requests each government agency receives, how long it takes constituents to get a response, and how well we're meeting citizen needs. As more of our departments come online, we expect these improvements to transform our organizations.
It's no surprise that constituent expectations inspired us to provide better access to government services?having flipped through the blue pages at the front of the phone book from time to time, I know how frustrating it can be trying to find the right contacts within city government. But since the front-facing aspect of 311 is running, my attention is increasingly turning to improving operational excellence inside the government.
And constituents are driving this next phase as well, with increased pressure for accountability and improved performance from government services. Fact-based management, with measurable results, is key to addressing these growing pressures. But an intelligent look at operational effectiveness can have a profound impact on a municipality's ability to make targeted, strategic changes to the budget.