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 organizations not investing in technology likely will be left behind.
Client or customer expectations of organizations 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 organizations 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 organizations 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 standardizing processes, operating services online and assisting customers who can self-manage to use technology to access resources.
COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way society works, including the way it can support vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. Human and social services organizations 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 organizations 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.
KPMG professionals work with a broad range of government agencies, private sector participants, civil society stakeholders and citizen groups to help create more efficient and effective human and social services. Their mission is to help governments carry out their core responsibilities to provide for the essential human needs of all citizens, and to ensure their basic social security.
Together with KPMG's network of firms, the Global Human and Social Services practice provides support in the following areas: information technology, business transformation, integrated service delivery, performance management and improvement, program integrity/fraud prevention and public-private partnerships.
1 A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of KPMG, May-July 2020.