AWS Public Sector Blog

Mission critical cloud: State and local government, on the Fix This podcast

The third episode of the Mission Critical Cloud Fix This podcast Fix This episode 15: State & local governmentmini-series by Teresa Carlson, vice president of the worldwide public sector at Amazon Web Services (AWS), is now live. We dove into how the cloud helps state and local government customers deliver critical services to citizens. Interviews featured in the podcast include the state of West Virginia (WV), Smartronix, and Los Angeles County Internal Services Department (LA County ISD). You can stream all episodes on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherTuneInOvercastiHeartRadio, and via RSS.

Every day, citizens rely on their state and local government for information, services, and support. And in turn, state and local government customers must create agile, scalable, and flexible tools to meet the needs of their workers and citizens. We’ve heard from customers around the globe who have turned to Amazon Connect, our simple-to-use omnichannel cloud contact center, to achieve two goals: a flexible, remote working environment and a reliable, streamlined contact center solution.

West Virginia is currently undergoing a digital transformation with recent changes including building a crime database on AWS to protect vulnerable children, introducing an Amazon Alexa skill to help citizens get answers to common questions, such as “How do I register to vote?”, and most recently, restructuring its contact centers after COVID-19. We chatted with Joshua Spence, the chief technology officer of WV, about how he was able to lead the state’s adoption of Amazon Connect after they experienced an unprecedented spike in calls from concerned citizens about unemployment claims and more.

Spence shared the leadership lessons learned from the fast migration. In the episode, he says in all of his time working for the government, he’s never seen something move so quickly. We dove into what it took not only technically but also from a leadership perspective to get team buy-in, to retrain workers who had previously never done this job remotely, and more.

Prior to implementing Amazon Connect, workers were tethered to physical call centers and their telephony system was not centralized. With the help of Smartronix, an AWS Partner Network (APN) premier consulting partner, WV stood up their Amazon Connect solution over one weekend. Today, WV’s contact center can serve citizens in a more robust way with new features including multi-lingual support using Amazon Polly. The biggest benefit is that the state is now able to have insights about call volume, peak times, frequent requests, and related data—something that was previously impossible. Robert Groat, executive vice president of technology and strategy at Smartronix, joined the podcast to discuss.

Similar to WV, Los Angeles (LA) County in California is also undergoing a digital transformation. You may have caught the interview with Dr. David Baca, chief of schools of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)—the second largest K12 school district in the United States—featured on the remote education episode of the Mission Critical Cloud series. We continued our exploration of how LA County is technologically advancing the way it serves its residents featuring an interview with Benny Chacko, deputy manager of LA County ISD.

LA County ISD implemented its Amazon Connect solution over a year ago, and we wanted to check in on what they have been able to accomplish with a more mature solution. Chacko shared how relatively simple it was for LA County ISD to switch its workforce of over 100,000 staff from office work to remote work as soon as California’s shelter-in-place orders were issued in response to COVID-19. Employees who serve 10 million LA County residents were able to provide continuity of services without disruption. And LA County ISD was able to bring more than 30,000 workers remote using Amazon Appstream 2.0.

While their contact center was able to provide for residents, their website—which was previously hosted on premises—was not able to handle the surge in demand after the county’s first press briefing related to the pandemic. LA County ISD was able to quickly launch a new website hosted on AWS, which has since been able to seamlessly scale to deliver life-saving information to the county’s residents.

To hear from more customers and learn about the work AWS does with the public sector globally, register for the upcoming AWS Public Sector Summit Online, taking place on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. There will be a day of virtual sessions, moderated chats, a keynote, and interactive experiences.

Stay tuned for part four of the Mission Critical Cloud series, where we’ll take a deep dive into federal government to explore how the cloud helps them to deliver on their missions every day.

Stream all Fix This episodes on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherTuneInOvercastiHeartRadio, and via RSS.

Kim Majerus

Kim Majerus

Kim Majerus leads the global education and U.S. state and local government vertical at Amazon Web Services (AWS). Her sales organization includes education technology (EdTech) and government technology (GovTech) independent software vendors (ISVs) and solution and vertical strategy leaders who focus on health and human services, justice and public safety, transportation, and the internet of things for state and local government customers.