Houston, TX

City of Houston launches new cloud-based 311 platform

Marisol Gallagher

HOUSTON, TX - An innovative 311 platform was recently launched by the City of Houston. This new system provides easier, quicker, and more convenient interaction for customers to obtain information on city services and report non-emergency issues. Obtaining roughly 2.2 million contacts, the 311 call center produces over 450,000 service requests each year.

The application delivers an advanced, self-service-based platform and it lets residents to create cases through a Virtual Agent. They can only contact call centers for most complicated cases, which enhances effectiveness as it reduces call volumes as well as wait times.

On June 26th, the new Microsoft Dynamics-powered Customer Relations Information System (CRIS) was officially launched. The Houston Information Technology Services (HITS) and the Administration and Regulatory Affairs (ARA) teams have put in the work over the past few weeks to stabilize the system as the city had to transfer over 10 years of data into the newly-developed system.

According to the press release, there are 3 ways to create a service request. First is by a smartphone app using Apple and Google, second is via a web portal through the Virtual Agent, and the third is through a call-taker in the call center.

Mayor Sylvester Turner stated that the new, innovative system is a significant accomplishment for the City of Houston. Last fiscal year, they prioritized the development of a new 311 system by funding it through the CIP process, and in nine short months, HITS and ARA were able to take that investment and develop a 311 system that modernizes 20-year-old technology. It also created a platform that equips the City to better handle increased demand.

ARA Director Tina Paez also said that not only will this reduce wait times for people who need to call 311 instead of creating a service request on their app or web portal, this investment and upgrade in their technology will prepare them for the next 20 years of demand.

In addition, HITS Director Lisa Kent also stated that by developing this new system, they are also streamlining their technology to be hosted by the same Microsoft platforms, maximizing the interoperability of those platforms and delivering a better quality service to the public.

This new 311 system is one of the most impactful technology projects in the last 10 years and will be an upgraded asset to all Houston's residents. 311 is also a crucial tool for emergency responses.

Mayor Turner added that the new system is another example of how Houston is building a Smart City of the future and it has the potential to be the platform that links all City departments and systems with each other, while ensuring a smooth and seamless experience for constituents. For more information about this new 311 platform, visit the City of Houston's website at https://www.houstontx.gov.

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