Service NSW contact centres to be hosted in the cloud

Service NSW will become the first government provider in the state to deploy a cloud-based virtual contact centre.

The NSW government has signed a contract with NEC Australia to deploy a cloud-based virtual contact centre for Service NSW to improve response times to customer and reduce call wait times.

According to NSW Minister for Finance and Services, Dominic Perrottet, Service NSW — the state's "one-stop shop" for government transactions — is set to become the first government provider in the state to offer this kind of service from its Parramatta and Newcastle contact centres.

"It provides the opportunity to increase the number of lines offered to customers without being limited by physical location, enabling more government transactions and services to be offered through one number — a great convenience to customers," he said.

Due to be introduced later this year, the Genesys-based cloud contact centre technology will link up sites based in NSW, and expand phone lines to support peaks to create one virtual contact centre, Perrottet said.

"The cloud based contact centre means we can rapidly provide services where they are needed, without being constrained by the physical environment," said Perrottet, who also added the service will enable call backs for queued callers, call prioritisation, and improved call management.

"One example where this might be particularly effective is in emergency situations, such as bushfires, where we can link our customer service team resources to respond to a high number of calls at times when customers need it the most."

A Service NSW spokesperson confirmed there will be "minimal" upfront investment to the move as it will be operating using a software-as-as-service model, which would mean the costs will come as the agency scales up on a needs basis. 

The initial phase of the project, a solution capable of supporting up to 2,000 customer service representatives and 10,000 simultaneous calls, has been designed to allow testing ahead of the planned migration to the cloud.

Since its launch in July 2014, Service NSW has already served more than four million customers, delivering services from agencies such as Roads and Maritime, and Births, Deaths and Marriages, as well as taking calls for Seniors Card, energy rebate information, and small business support.

Service NSW currently employs 300 staff between its two contact centres, with the Service NSW spokesperson confirming that as more services are offered the staff numbers will grow. 

Service NSW's virtual contact centre forms part of the state government's larger push to help direct its agencies to move to service-based IT solutions , as part of its Cloud Services Policy. 

"Cloud is the future of ICT service delivery, and this policy puts NSW at the forefront of the digital economy, giving public sector agencies the tools and information they need to adopt cloud-based solutions," said then-NSW Minister for Finance and Services Andrew Constance.

"It will improve service delivery by allowing more agile, flexible, and reliable technology, and it will deliver cost savings by helping us get better value for money for these services."

Last week, the NSW government created a one-stop-shop for suppliers to provide enterprise resource planning (ERP) as a service to government agencies. It formed part of the ICT Investment Policy and Guidelines (PDF) that was released to help agencies make better IT investment and strategic planning decisions .

The new guidelines has helped agencies take advantage of recent reforms made to the NSW ICT Strategy , which saw the introduction of 36 new actions that were implemented last September.

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