If you had to find a sector that is challenged by technology, it would be human and social services (HSS). Governments and providers have consistently responded to increasing demand by spending more on direct services, with the consequence being that they have rarely taken a comprehensive approach to technology investment.

This approach was reasonable until about five years ago, but the speed of change, increasing consumerism, coupled with COVID-19 impact, now means that HSS organisations not investing in technology likely will be left behind.

Client or customer expectations of organisations in the sector are increasing dramatically. People expect to be able to go online, get the information they need and interact with services at any time. In many jurisdictions, HSS organisations compete in markets, so those that are not able to provide access to services, good information and responses in a timely fashion will miss opportunities.

HSS organisations that get left behind will be damaged and may not survive. But those that improve their use of technology should enjoy greater efficiencies, such as by standardising processes, operating services online and assisting customers who can self-manage to use technology to access resources.

Connected support and care

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way society works, including the way it can support vulnerable and disadvantaged groups.

Human and social services organisations have been forced to transform and cope in new operating environments. Research carried out for KPMG International by Forrester Consulting in 10 countries and territories revealed that HSS organisations have faced a range of disruptions to their business operations, with roughly a third reporting reductions in salaries, increased security risks, increased need to reduce costs, losses of revenue or shifts to a remote workforce.1

KPMG International’s Connected support and care: The future of human and social services examines the factors challenging the sector and driving the need for connected, digitally enabled, and consumer-focused care systems. This thought leadership also provides global sectoral insights on customer centricity, the impact of COVID-19 and examples of where transformation is taking place.

The eight critical capabilities


1. Insight-driven strategies and actions

This capability involves using data, analytics and insights to develop a real-time, multi-dimensional view of the customer to inform strategy and allow personalisation.

2. Innovative services

This capability enables organisations to develop innovative business models and services for specific customer segments. Developing an innovative approach to HSS begins by working with the community to identify and understand current and future care needs.

3. Experience centricity by design

This capability helps organisations design and provide a seamless and personal experience for customers, employees and partners, including customer centered services.

4. Seamless interactions

This capability allows organisations to interact with customers across communication and service domains in a trusted, personalised and integrated manner. 

5. Responsive operations

This capability helps organisations carry out their customer strategy in an agile, consistent and operationally efficient manner by using advanced analytics.

6. Aligned and empowered workforce

This capability helps to create a customer-centric organisation and culture, including ongoing development of skills and a nimble, empowered workforce with aligned performance management.

7. Digitally enabled technology architecture

This capability allows organisations to design and build intelligent digital services that serve customers in an agile, cost-effective, scalable and secure manner.

8. Integrated partner and alliance ecosystem

This capability involves identifying, integrating and managing third parties to increase speed to market, reduce costs, mitigate risks and supplement gaps in an organisation’s capability in delivering services to customers.

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