AWS Public Sector Blog

Business resiliency framework: 5 ways to simplify how governments digitally transform

State and local governments and education organizations changed how they operate, engage, and react to emergencies in recent years. In response to the pandemic, leaders also identified gaps in technology, service delivery, and resources that they had not previously recognized. Business resiliency is essential now more than ever to bolster day-to-day operations and improve disaster recovery capabilities. Implementing and monitoring business resiliency over time and across multiple departments can also be challenging. That is where the business resiliency framework (BRF) can help.

The framework uses the five most common business goals government and education organizations face: real-time data analytics, business continuity, process and systems modernization, workforce enablement and learning, and constituent engagement. The framework shows how both IT and business resiliency goals can be aligned over time and highlights how cloud technology can close various workforce, data, and analytics gaps. The BRF also reduces the need to draft multiple resiliency strategies, encourages cross-agency collaboration, and allows IT and non-IT government leaders to build an agile, cost effective, and sustainable approach to business resiliency together.

Business leaders can apply the five pillars of the BRF, which do not have to occur simultaneously or in a specific sequential order, to a single department or the entire enterprise.

1. Real-time data analytics pillar

The public sector, along with education leaders and their staff, need the ability to easily find, access, and analyze data, especially during an emergency. The ideal environment consists of a robust analytics software platform, strong processing power, and adequate storage that accommodates data in various formats.

For example, Oklahoma State University, a two-year, technical-focused college, historically faced challenges with consistent reporting, database management, and analytics. To meet this need, leaders often deployed expensive, complex data modeling software systems or had staff manually manipulate data points into meaningful information, which was not cost effective or sustainable. Working with Amazon Web Services (AWS), the university was able to train existing staff to use an adaptable, analytical modeling system and allow leaders to make timely, reliable, data-driven decisions responsive to student success, employee excellence, and community relevance.

2. Business continuity pillar

Business continuity allows multiple departments to work seamlessly and effectively on a day-to-day basis and during the most challenging conditions. Organizations who have achieved business continuity have staff equipped with the knowledge, skills, and technical resources to perform remotely and during an emergency.

The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) recognized their 30 year old legacy application would likely collapse due to the sudden increase in unemployment insurance claims during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. By deploying a modern interactive voice response system (IVR)/interactive web response system (IWR) cloud-based solution, the department quickly expanded its capacity to take simultaneous calls and process claims.

3. Process and systems modernization pillar

A cloud-based operation realizes advantages over those with legacy systems and outdated hardware and software. Benefits include but are not limited to lowered cost and increased speed and agility. A modern operation also improves an organization’s ability to improve and deliver constituent services. Applying technology to this pillar not only updates infrastructure but could result in an improved culture of innovation, proactive problem-solving across the enterprise, and seamless business processes due to the fact employees will have modern resources with which to experiment.

For example, Elizabeth River Crossings’ journey to modernize their infrastructure, which started in 2018, enabled their staff to provide transportation services remotely and better serve customers despite COVID-19 challenges.

4. Workforce enablement and learning pillar

Modern organizations possess a highly skilled workforce that can provide quality service from a brick and mortar office or remotely. Having this ability not only expands the organization’s aptitude to service customers in the field but also helps to make sure their workforce has seamless business processes. Organizations that are unable to have the same business continuity among all of their departments, regardless of physical location, would benefit from diving into this pillar.

The Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS) designed and built Maryland’s Total Human-services Integrated Network (MD THINK) to deliver integrated health and human services programs to the state’s most vulnerable residents. By building this first-in-the-nation cloud-based platform, Maryland agencies from around the state gained a holistic view of citizens receiving benefits and the ability to analyze data across agencies and design better assistance programs.

5. Constituent engagement pillar

Due to the quick growth of online services during the COVID-19 pandemic, constituents and students now expect to engage their government and educational institutions in a multitude of ways which include websites, chatbots, telephone, physical locations, and more. By transitioning more services online and increasing the engagement opportunities to access information, organizations not only improved the customer’s ability to find the information they want, when they want, and how they want, but also reduced the demand on staff to provide the information. This freed them up to perform other necessary duties.

The City of Johns Creek, Georgia, reception staff was receiving between 50 and 100 calls a day with questions that all had the same answer. This required a substantial amount of duplicated effort and a slowed response time as staff worked through the queue of callers. But the advancement of cloud functionality presented a new and simple solution.

To get started building business resiliency, IT and business leaders organizations should work together to create a seamless and actionable strategy, which will take time and effort. By using the business resiliency framework to outline IT and business resiliency opportunities, and relying on AWS and AWS Partners to fill the identified needs, government leaders can develop an actionable path forward.

To learn more about how you can apply to the business resiliency framework for your needs, watch Why Business Resiliency Matters More Now Than Ever, a new AWS Initiate State and Local Online 2021 on demand session designed for state and local organizations in the early stages of their cloud journey.

Also, check out the episode “How to build business resiliency” from The Brief by AWS Public Sector, AWS Fix This podcast “Episode #24 – Building a resilient organization,” and the business resiliency hub.

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How resilient is your organization? Watch “How to build business resiliency” from The Brief:

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Shonte’ Eldridge

Shonte’ Eldridge

Shonte’ Eldridge is an executive government advisor at AWS. Before joining AWS, she worked in the public sector for over two decades and served in various government C-suite positions including the deputy chief of operations for the city of Baltimore. During her time in government, she was known for using technology to change culture and solve complex operational challenges and was named one of the 25 women to watch by the Baltimore Sun newspaper and magazine in 2020.