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Q&A: Why local government needs unified communications 

With state and local government agencies are frustrated by tight budget restrictions, outdated technology and slow processes, the answer is in a unified communication strategy.


There are dozens of facets of local government, which typically operate as their own organization, such as fire departments, parks and recreation, and police departments. While all serve completely different functions and operate separately, they all report to the same entity and share the same budget.

Such agencies are in need of a unified communication strategy to help mobile and remote staff better collaborate and share information.

To understand what local governments do to remove silos and better connect departments, Kara Korte, director of product management at TetraVX, says that state and local government agencies should look to unified communications as a service (UCaaS) to upgrade their capabilities and simplify the complexity of managing government resources.

Digital Journal: What are the biggest challenges facing local government?

Kara Korte: Local government suffers from challenges we see throughout other industries. Issues like lack of time, limited resources, data security and tight budget. The unique component of these challenges when looking specifically at local governments is just how truly challenging they are. Where in some instances a budget may be tight but flexible, local governments are limited based on the taxing entity they service. Government IT teams need to be able to fully vet and analyze platforms before ever making an investment.

They simply can’t afford to make decisions without knowing the complete impact a new technology will have. There is no room for risk. Similarly, security concerns become even more serious when governments control the IT infrastructure of their local police departments or court systems. These departments hold highly confidential information that need not only the proper encryptions but also the proper governance models to ensure privacy.

DJ: How much is outdated technology affecting service provision?

Korte: When local governments let legacy infrastructure age indefinitely, it causes two major problems. First, employees of the local government are limited by the solution in place, causing productivity hurdles and broken processes. Second, it creates a much more complex project when it does come time to upgrade.

DJ: How would a unified communications strategy help tackle these issues?

Korte: A proper unified communications strategy could help immensely when it comes to improving operations amongst the many local government departments. Whether it’s employees located in the local city hall, remote employees working for parks departments or public transit system, or even in different government buildings like the sanitation department, its important to consider all facets of how these public servants need to communicate and collaborate. With such an extensive network of individuals and teams, ensuring deployment of the proper mobility, conferencing, and collaboration solutions to satisfy a local government’s unique needs is crucial.

DJ: What is the ‘unified communications as a service’ concept?

Korte: Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) has the same core functions as its premises-based unified communications (UC) counterpart, except the solution is delivered in a cloud-based model. In fact, some UCaaS platforms are exceeding the feature sets of legacy on-premises solutions.

DJ: What are the key benefits for local agencies?

Korte: Unified Communications as a Service provides local governments the ability to turn what historically was a massive capital expense into a predictable monthly fee. Communications provided via the cloud also have other major benefits. It speeds up time to market, limits the amount of local government resources necessary to manage the solution and it allows IT departments to scale users quickly and easily as needed. It also ensures that the teams using the platform are benefiting from the latest and greatest technology without requiring local IT departments to manage regular upgrades. By selecting a UCaaS provider that has a backbone in Unified Communications services, local governments also can lean on their partner for support, guidance, and expertise, ensuring they’ve covered all the bases before launching the new tool.

DJ: What services does TetraVX provide?

Korte: TetraVX is a UCaaS provider that focuses on all aspects of the unified communications environment. Whether you’re looking for telephony, collaboration, meeting rooms, or contact center tools, TetraVX has a vast range of expertise and experience to help local governments understand the technology landscape, deploy a solution that will satisfy their operations, and train end-users to get the best ROI.