Greater Efficiencies Position Agency Well for Handling Continued Increase in Claims
TOPEKA, KS, Jan. 31, 2002 – Transformation results from a new Accenture-built unemployment insurance system are helping the Kansas Department of Human Resources process double its productivity with the same number of staff – while radically improving customer service through greater speed, access and reliability. The state and Accenture recently launched the first element of the transformation – a new self-service online filing option that has begun to shift 30 percent of claims received in the Department’s three call centers to the Internet at www.KansasJobLink.com.
That shift exceeds the original goal of moving at least 20 percent of the Department’s total claims to the Internet. The efficiencies were made possible by automating processes, reducing paper flow, increasing data sharing, allowing customers to serve themselves as much as possible and increasing reliability of call center technologies.
Although a model of efficiency today that is earning praise, the Kansas Department’s unemployment compensation program a year ago was upsetting customers, staff and legislators alike when a sudden tripling of new unemployment cases overloaded the Department’s call centers.
“We could not be more pleased with the results we’re achieving through this new automated claims system,” said Richard Beyer, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Human Resources.
“I can’t overstate how important these products are to us. We care deeply about customer service and we are struggling mightily under this incredible workload. We have more customers than we have staff to deal with them. Without Accenture, we would be dead in the water,” Beyer said. “Rather than throwing in the towel we partnered with Accenture to create a best of practice system that is already positioning us as a national model.”
In part, the Accenture team was able to deliver online benefits filing capabilities to the Department in a relatively short period of time by using the Accenture eGovernment Accelerator, in its seventh implementation. Developed in conjunction with Avanade and Microsoft, the Accenture eGovernment Accelerator uses Accelio Capture technology to replace paper documents with electronic forms and Avanade Connected Architecture. The solution, delivered with assistance from Avanade, presents a potential answer for other state unemployment insurance offices seeking ways to manage increased workloads in the face of increased unemployment.
Much of the agency’s improved work flow, particularly in the scheduling, case management and file sharing operations, was made possible with a commercially available customer relationship management software package that was customized to meet the Department’s needs.
“The improvements are particularly meaningful as the state attempts to keep pace with the fast-growing demand for unemployment services resulting from the economic slowdown,” said Dave McCurley, an Accenture partner in the Government practice. “We were pleased to make this new customer-focused automation possible only five months after we began development – enabling the state to begin experiencing the benefits when they’re needed most.”
This month, Accenture and the Department anticipate launching a new call center pilot system to improve the routing of and response to claimant calls. The program’s three call centers previously had been designed and staffed to handle an average of 2,100 new claims per week and were seriously overwhelmed by the more than 7,500 new claims that rolled into the office during one week of December 2000 – causing the program’s technology system to crash and disrupt processing for as long as four hours.
Agency can process approximately twice as many claims using the same number of staff – as many as 200,000 per year, compared with 110,000 previously. The average number of minutes required to process a claim has been reduced from a high of 47 minutes in FY 1999 to an all-time low of less than 11 minutes today – a 76 percent reduction.
Now, the Department and Accenture are working to weave additional Internet-based options into the new self-serve system, including integration of the claims and job search processes by including a direct link into KansasJobLink. The ultimate aim of the employment link is to save taxpayer dollars by more quickly matching claimants with jobs for which they are qualified and reducing the time claimants receive benefits.
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