As people everywhere flock to social media, smart local governments are using it to improve interactions with their citizens. A great example is Keçiören, a municipality in the Ankara Province of Turkey, where city officials decided to use social media to create more dynamic and efficient communication with their citizens.
Keçiören's goal was to serve residents better by responding more quickly to requests and complaints. Its leaders also wanted to automate receipt of citizen feedback and generate reports that would help them use the data they were receiving. City employees had previously interacted with residents using SMS services, a call center, and a complaint-solution center. But this setup was outdated and had three key deficiencies: It involved much manual processing, they weren't able to use most of the data they gathered, and the infrastructure wasn't sufficient for creating more efficient solutions.
After testing other IT approaches to citizen services, including a Linux derivative and Google apps, Keçiören officials turned to Microsoft partner Teknoloji Çözümleri Merkezi (TCM) and adopted its SOSYAL SOKAK (Social Street) solution, which is based on the Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and Windows Azure platforms.
Here are a few highlights of the Social Street solution:
Anywhere access: Citizens use their social media accounts – on their computers, tablets, or cell phones – to connect with the government application. There, they request services, make suggestions, and voice complaints through an easy map and text interface.
E-government integration: The citizen-facing app is integrated with Keçiören's cloud-supported infrastructure, so requests and complaints are sent directly to the call center and captured as tasks in a CRM database. This saves municipal workers from manually entering comments, and also enables them to generate reports on what citizens are saying and how they are responding.
Keçiören is the first Turkish city to go live with the Social Street solution, but it will soon be joined by neighboring municipalities. As they go online, 15 million citizens – the most served by e-government
in Turkey – will be connected with their local governments via the app.
Personally, I think the Keçiören leadership’s approach to citizen communication is visionary. The mayor, Mustafa AK, shared with me his belief that the most important investment is the one that’s made in people. Social Street demonstrates his commitment to that vision.
To learn more about Keçiören's implementation of Social Street, watch the video case study. And for more information on citizen involvement, check out the data sheet.
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