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How Google Cloud is fortifying the social safety net

Denise Winkler
Strategic Business Executive, Global Public Sector at Google
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Google Cloud Next 2020
July 14, 2020, Online, San Francisco, CA, USA
Google Cloud Next 2020
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About speakers

Denise Winkler
Strategic Business Executive, Global Public Sector at Google
Jennifer Ricker
Acting Secretary / CIO at Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology (DoIT)

Accomplished business development leader and consultant with 25 years of experience supporting large complex digital transformation initiatives at local, state, and federal government organizations. Strong track record of developing new business in U.S., Canada and worldwide. Health and Human Services Subject Matter Expert (SME) adept at identifying current and future technology needs for social services agencies world-wide.

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Accomplished business development leader and consultant with 25 years of experience supporting large complex digital transformation initiatives at local, state, and federal government organizations. Strong track record of developing new business in U.S., Canada and worldwide. Health and Human Services Subject Matter Expert (SME) adept at identifying current and future technology needs for social services agencies world-wide.

View the profile

About the talk

The COVID-19 crisis is triggering both immediate and longer-term challenges for state and local governments. Learn how Google Cloud is enabling public officials to gear up to meet unprecedented demand for unemployment and social services programs, launch expanded digital services, and more.

Speakers: Denise Winkler, Jennifer Ricker

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product: Cloud AI & Industry Solutions; fullname: Denise Winkler;

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Hello, welcome everyone. My name is Denise Winkler. I'm a strategic business executive with Google cloud and I'm pleased to introduce our guest and client Jennifer Ricker, assistant secretary for the Illinois Department of innovation and Technology. Today in today's session, we're going to outlines the programs that make up the social safety. Net. The impact that covid-19 is had on citizens and the social safety, net system. The Google solutions that have been mobilized to assist these agencies and Jennifer's going

to share with us. How Google contact center AI supported the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Then we'll close with a discussion on how Google analytics can help our communities to reopen and recover. More than 54 million citizens applied for unemployment in the last 20 weeks. As we implemented stay-at-home orders, and social distancing citizens were directed to portals and call centers to apply for safety. Net services. This unprecedented volume is

citizens in need of services that has overwhelmed agency websites, call centers and staff, social safety net programs, provide critical Services unemployment, food cash, and housing, assistance Healthcare, child support, and protective services for abused children and the elderly. Leading Economist or projecting that more than 40% of the jobs, will not come back. So caseload sizes than these social safety. Net programs are going to remain at record highs and in addition

to that state and local governments are facing record Revenue, shortfalls reduced tax revenue, high unemployment and just the cost of responding to the pandemic. May Force many states to make painful spending cuts. So essentially local and state governments will need to serve these. This unprecedented number of citizens with less resources. We've all been impacted by covid-19 that as we look across the social safety, net, and the stakeholders involved in this process citizens, have lost their jobs

or become ill. They need these benefits quickly and the portals and call centers are overwhelmed and many of these individuals and families have never applied for services before. So, they need basic guidance on how to apply or even what benefits, they're eligible for and they're also facing the uncertainty of relief programs. What will be available be available? Employees of these agencies are also overwhelmed by the volume, they've had to almost immediately. Change and Implement new programs and new business processes.

Many of them are working from home for the first time ever. They may lack the appropriate equipment or training to do that well and like. Many of them have children and families at home. The agencies themselves they're struggling with their current Legacy systems. These systems were never built to manage this kind of volume. And they also can't quickly being here to support new programs like pandemic unemployment assistance. So as a result, many of these agencies and their administrators are facing significant public and political pressure. And in

addition to that, they had to again almost overnight. Develop new processes, enable their staff to work remotely, and that's a huge cultural exchange for what is predominantly done and in office culture. And then finally, these agencies have a responsibility to make sure that the benefits are being distributed to citizens were eligible and to pronounce improper payments in French. As we've worked with local and state agencies across the country. We noticed that there are actually facing for primary problems volume.

New programs and legislation, how did they engage virtually then reopening in recovery and Google has mobilized a series of solutions to address these issues. For example, we've implemented virtual waiting rooms that control traffic to publicly public-facing portals. But more importantly they provide better service and they help calm citizens. They calm them one by providing a clock, using a machine learning to tell them how long they have to wait to apply. If they also provide information by

bringing forward FAQ, so they can spend their time effectively while they're waiting. We've implemented, very sophisticated virtual agents on both portals and call centers in. These are not your first generation automated FAQ use or any mechanical voices, using artificial intelligence and a highly developed natural language conversational engines. These virtual agent answer questions and complete routine tasks, with really human-like engagement and Jennifer's going to talk about her

experiences with our intelligent agents coming up next We've also used AI machine learning, we've automated a great deal of processing of documents. Government programs, especially safety, net programs, begin and end with documents and many of these agencies given the increase in applications are drowning in a paper documents and all sorts of documents. So Google can create a train, a model that can digitize and ingest document extract data off a document. Whether

the document is handwritten or typed, it can pull the data off and put it into Scheels, it can end X the documents to a case, then validated match that document. So, for example, is a citizen has submitted an application and a verification document, like a driver's license or utility bill, it can match and verify that. And then it can automatically input that data into your court case management system. This enables agencies to redeploy. Those human agents to higher-value activities and help citizens

work through much more difficult problems. With new legislation, we've been able to rapidly develop applications and alternative data collection for new programs like the pandemic unemployment, Assistance or improper payments. And then more importantly, we can integrate that module back into the Legacy system. So, this enables agencies to quickly administer, these new programs control volume to their website and data to their portals. With virtual engagement. Our virtual collaboration and conferencing solution G Suites Google, meet enables

agencies to not only support a remote Workforce but enable virtual Service delivery to Citizens, whether it's meetings and collaboration between co-workers between government staff and Community providers, or providing virtual services to Citizens, Google meet is ideal for government to Citizen interaction, because it only requires 11 able device. I'm only come to reopen and Recovery states are going to need to look for efficiencies to manage the continued high-volume.

The solutions we already talked about such as intelligent agents automatic document processing rapid. AI those can be expanded across the government system to other programs to help. In addition. Other Solutions are going to be needed, getting people. Back to work will be critical. So virtual Career Centers that can help support a much higher volume of citizens who are seeking ran into the job market given the number of citizens and the dollars associated with these programs agencies will need solutions that identify improper payments and fraud and then finally and probably most

importantly data analytics will need will be critical and we're going to cover some data analytics options at the end of our session. But it's always nice to hear about. Outcomes from clients. So Jennifer would you share some of the issues that the Illinois Department of Employment Security, with spacing, and how Google contact center? A, I was able to help your agency. Thank you, Denise, and, and thank you again, for letting me have the opportunity here, to share the challenges that

Illinois Beckley was facing and it was the same really for Illinois shortly after the pandemic. And we began to see a large really impress volume of inquiry, is an activities on our website and an attempt to file. Unemployment request. So these changes were really the amount. The volume that we are seeing. I've never been experienced before in the states, so just say, we weren't really prepared with an understatement. So, we're talking about really orders of magnitude difference in average day, prior to the

pandemic website. Friday. Yes. And website would have been maybe forty thousand hits in a day versus what we started to see a million to the day which quickly impacted, you know, our servers and on the other end of that, then when when our residents are unable to get to the website, get their questions answered there, then they start calling the contact Centre which then overwhelmed the agents on the phones and and overwhelmed at the stem as well. It really became just The Snowball Effect for. I'll

mention to that one of the reasons. This also snowballed you have previously said obviously with the shutdown, the attack in that Avenue of connecting with the state was close to our residents so again that help to drive from the website on the phone. So really, as we started to look at what are the solutions for this thinking about, there is no way. We are going to hire and train them quick enough to handle this kind of volume. This type of Technology becoming that Force

multiplier is the, it was the only solution, the quickest solution, the best solution. So the way we handled that was really to begin to work with Google and really implement this virtual agent contact center technology. And it was much, I will say much easier than I would have expected quicker than I would have expected. And you were very successful with that. For the first phase was really deploying that what we thought impacts first, I was really on our website and then and deploying the chatbot

on to the website. Again, that was that was highly successful. I will stay within the first two, three million or more web inquiries. We were also able to verify as you talked about Google analytics in the ability to track Really, what's what's happening behind the scenes? Were able to pull the data from their end and take a look at dashboards to know that not only did it handle those that but those were successful so that the questions that were being,

we're being answered successfully intense, as you mention the legislation that changed quite frequently Federal side. So it was much easier to add those. It to Residence as their as they have. Any questions about this has changed or how do I apply for the store? It's really easy. Easily, ask the question in as you mention of a conversational manner with it with the web web. And then same thing after we got that up and running again much, very easy, although we did, and a great with,

you know, our technology is relatively easy been able to utilize again, the same type of a surprisingly previously. IDs their contact center was a during the day type of operation. So adding this agents allowed those questions that can be answered after. So again the ability for us to really quickly, Implement these are easy to scale that are easy to continue to manage and maintain has been to other agencies as well as other agencies website for really, we're really please.

Thank you. Jennifer, you know, in the midst of one of the largest surges, a citizens who needs Services, your story really demonstrates. The unique capability in value of Google Cloud technology. It can scale the petabytes of data, enabling stays to manage that extraordinary volume, the time to deliver. We were able to deliver these Solutions in days and weeks, not months. It's also service. There's no Hardware installation. And I think integration is also important. We were able to modernize critical components and then integrate

them with an existing Legacy system which provides the cost-effectiveness our approach to public sector is to be cost-effective but also to make that cost for deductible and so these are the principles that support governments in modernizing around some of these Legacy systems and dealing with this current issue. So what's been a little time talking about how we can support recovery with analytics everyone citizens and leaders want to reopen and recover but one of the key components of success is data as a 20-year veteran of Social

Services, I realized that the social safety. Net agencies could be overwhelmed but providing the data to State and local leaders to address that challenge would be difficult. So I can gauge with Google cloud value advisors are Center of To work with federal and state publicly available data sets. So that we could provide dashboards that would help estimate the potential economic impact of release of relief program and the increase. The potential increase for citizen

applications and involvement in safety. Net programs. And this type of data would help State leaders. Be able to develop, data-driven plans, to support citizens in our communities. So, initially, we thought that leaders needed insights into 40 areas, it would help to understand the vulnerable industry sectors, in their state or Community. Since Economist have estimated that 40% of the jobs won't recover how much of your State's employment basis is at risk second given the high level of unemployment, what percentage of your State's economy is coming from

temporary relief programs and from traditional safety, net programs. Thirdly, what is the impact to your State's economy? When release programs are added or expired? And then also, what is the gap when temporary release programs are gone? So this particular dashboard employment vulnerability. Our cloud value advisors developed a series of dashboards to visualize these insights, this particular shows the percentage of vulnerable industry, sectors nationally, and also by state. So

for example Leisure and Hospitality or vulnerable as well as retail. This dashboard estimates that 39.1% of the US employment is invulnerable, Industries. This type of data can also be shown by state so it wouldn't able state and local leaders to develop much more effective recovery plans. For their particular community. The contribution of benefits. There are a multitude of state federal and local relief programs that are providing benefits to Citizens. But at the same time,

those benefits for contributing to that community's economy. So, using the federal pandemic. Unemployment compensation, as an example for estimates Helm, Federal pandemic unemployment, compensation contributes to a States. Gross domestic product. So it provides Leaders with insights into the economic impact of those programs policies to address those specific issues. An economic impact and search, as a different release, press release programs. Expire citizens may be eligible for other programs. This dashboard estimates, the

potential search. For example, in food, assistance applications as the pandemic unemployment. Compensation expires this will enable leaders to be better prepared for the impact of these surges. A Google we spent a great deal of time discussing how technology can assist social safety. Net agencies in our communities and Country in reopening and Recovery. Bring closing. I think it's important to keep in mind that one systems that support social safety, net programs, slow or fail. There's a very real human

cost. Children, go hungry, rent, camping, pay laws are impacted. Keeping these systems functioning is critical to our citizens are communities in our recovery. And Google is committed to assisting wherever it can. Thank you for your time today.

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Denise Winkler
Jennifer Ricker