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2021 Digital Counties Survey Recognizes Montgomery County Government for Its Technology Efforts

For Immediate Release: Friday, July 23, 2021

The Montgomery County Government’s efforts in using technology to provide better service to residents and businesses were recognized as among the nation’s best among counties with populations of one million or more in the 19th Annual Digital Counties Survey. The survey is presented by the Center for Digital Government (CDG) and the National Association of Counties (NACo).

Montgomery County’s Department of Technology and Enterprise Business Solutions (TEBS) helped the County place sixth in the survey that identifies the best technology practices among U.S. counties, including initiatives that streamline delivery of government services; encourage open data, collaboration and shared service; enhance cybersecurity; and contribute to disaster response and recovery efforts. 

“Top-notch counties are utilizing the governance frameworks, investment tools, broadband implementations and more that were put in place in response to citizen needs around COVID-19  . . . then capitalizing on those going forward to support digital experience initiatives,” said Phil Bertolini, vice president of CDG. “The Center for Digital Government congratulates this year’s winners for their accomplishments and continuing efforts to use technology to make government better.”

In playing a major role in Montgomery County’s response to the COVID-19 health crisis, TEBS has moved on from immediate emergency response and is now looking at lessons learned. It is also looking at which implemented emergency functions can apply to future service needs.

"Throughout the pandemic, TEBS has been a critical asset to our response efforts. Receiving this award is evidence of how successful they are amongst our peer jurisdictions around the nation," said County Executive Marc Elrich. "Congratulations to Director Gail Roper and the TEBS staff for this honor and my sincere appreciation for their hard work during the pandemic to ensure that the Montgomery County government remained open and responsive to our residents' needs"

Maryland’s most populous county has made major strides on its core infrastructure and architecture in the past year—including completion of an estimated 90-day project to connect the County public school system in just 11 days.  

TEBS implemented a number of urgent projects at a rapid pace during the health crisis including: 

  • A cloud-based, end-to-end solution for COVID-19 testing and registration. The system was for County residents, workers or employees to register, test and be notified of test results within a 24–48-hour window. More than 25,000 tests have been conducted via this Microsoft Power Apps solution.
  • A Web-Based Chatbot for MC311. To improve the resident experience in obtaining services through the County’s MC311 call center, TEBS evaluated people, process and technology changes. Those changes, including the chatbot implementation, decreased the call abandonment rate (or hang up rate) from 25 percent in November to 11 percent in January. The average hold time decreased from approximately five minutes in November to two minutes in January.  
  • A Virtual Agent for HHS.TEBS delivered a virtual agent that resolved approximately 60 percent of incoming calls before reaching a human. 100 percent of calls were diverted to the Health and Human Services bot in the first two weeks, handling 17,000-plus successful conversations. In Week 1, the bot supported 7,850 conversations and produced an 80 percent success rate (the industry standard being 65 percent). Week 2 results grew to 1,300-plus daily conversations, totaling 9,160 conversations. In Week 2, the success rate increased to 86 percent. The success rate remained stable at 86 percent during the time the agent was needed. 

“Montgomery County is thrilled and honored to be recognized as a Digital Counties Survey Winner for 2021,” said TEBS Director Roper. “As evidenced by this technology award, we will continue to identify innovative solutions to meet the emerging needs of our organization and community.” 

For a full list of CDG and NACo winners click here.  

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Release ID: 21-578
Media Contact: Neil H. Greenberger 240-205-1915
Categories: Business