With governments looking to increase their efficiency and reporting, the CRM-in-government market matches a clear need with a solution. Oracle is now expanding its offering in that market with release this week of its Siebel CRM Public Sector 8.2.2, part of its Social Services Suite.
The new addition is designed to help public-sector organizations improve program delivery while streamlining management. The company said its update enhances one of the first commercial off-the-shelf software solutions created specifically for social services.
Social Services Suite
The Social Services Suite provides an integrated platform for determining eligibility, managing cases, increasing caseworker efficiency, and improving overall program effectiveness. Targeted agencies include those handling social services, justice and public safety, constituent services, and tax and revenue.
The existing Public Sector component offers management for unemployment insurance, income assistance, disability and rehabilitation, child support enforcement, and child welfare. Features include the ability to handle automated eligibility determination, benefits management, appeals, service providers and child protective services. Service-oriented architecture is pre-built for integration with case management, rules management and financial systems.
Public Sector includes "citizen-centric" case management, with a 360-degree view of clients and families that integrates with existing systems, allows work flows and client data needs to be configured instead of customized, and offers quick implementation of legislative and regulatory program policies.
As an example, Oracle notes that caseworkers can help citizens, in real time, to understand benefits across programs, and to explain or document why certain citizens might not be eligible.
Manage Service Providers
Caseworkers can use the software to manage service providers, such as foster homes, medical care providers, counseling services, training institutions, and anger management clinics. A search-by-attributes function allows a caseworker to find a given provider based on criteria such as benefit type or location.
Public Sector 8.2.2 offers improvements for user accessibility, benefits management, appeals, and service providers. There are also enhancements to the integration with Oracle Policy Automation, including streamlined implementation, better performance, and added capabilities for auditing and decision reporting.
Oracle said that deployment of the new component, which is part of Oracle iGovernment, can leverage existing technology, such as through open integration to back-end processing systems. iGovernment is an Oracle platform designed for governmental agencies' IT infrastructures.
Laura DiDio, an analyst with Information Technology Intelligence Corp., noted that CRM systems are in about a third of state governments, "although not necessarily throughout each entire state government." Other key players in this market, she noted, include Salesforce , Sage, Microsoft's Dynamics and Sugar CRM.
In surveys done by her research firm, DiDio said respondents -- from both corporations and governmental agencies -- overwhelmingly said that ease of use was as important as features and performance. Also high on the list: integration with database management, the accounting department and productivity tools.
In government, she said, CRM systems "not only help to save money, increase efficiency and determine return for the investment," but administrators can monitor usage to a degree not otherwise possible.