The Breakaway session, “Social Media Analytics and Cloud” at The Connected Kenya Summit 2014 highlighted four ways in which the public sector can tap into the growing amount of data coming from social media in a bid to improve service delivery. The session discussion which was spearheaded by Mr. Frank Maina, CEO, Sponge, Sherif Hamza-Applications Sales Director Oracle and James Wainaina, Business Analytics Expert-SAP and moderated by Larry Madowo highlighted four main ways which the public sector can build trust between them and the general public.

1) Know How To Deal With The Connected Citizen The citizen of yester years who only had a single source of information is long gone. He has been replaced by an always connected citizen with seemingly countless sources of information and opinions around that information. Speaking at the discussion, Mr. Frank Maina, CEO, Sponge pointed out due to this reason, people no longer accept things without questioning. They will express their opinions which are in turn seen and distributed by their network and thus there is need for the public sector to appreciate this fact. One of the ways of dealing with the always connected citizens is on-demand services. While making his contribution, Sherif Hamza-Applications Sales Director Oracle said that people now want self service through different online platforms since they are fast. Such a move will not only increase efficiency but it will also hasten government processes in the eyes of the connected citizen.

2) Create A Policy Paper on Social Media Use By Government There is currently no government document giving formal guidelines on social media usage by central and county governments. In his presentation, Mr. Marvin Tumbo, the CEO of Social Light Media pointed out that there is need of a policy paper specifically for digital media. Such a Social Media policy would define personnel required, content, budget, target audience and key networks which is critical for a successful strategy. “Digital training capability to define how people engage the public to ensure there are control measures is important. Integration of social Management tools is important .. to handle different aspects of communication and manage any crisis when it happens,” He said. These policies should also be cascaded at the county level to make it easier to bridge the service gap. In his presentation, Mr. James Wainaina of SAP said that counties should focus on creating social media strategy and incorporate analytical tools to collect feedback and measure success.

3) Prioritize The Citizen Experience Social media has equipped citizens with a tool for instant feedback on service delivery. Sherif Hamza-Applications Sales Director at Oracle in his presentation expressed the need for the government to make the citizen experience a priority. He pointed out that citizen experiences shared on social media can be a key indicator of customer delivery efficiency and therefore county governments should now focus on social media networks to gather feedback from the citizen since interaction is real time. The moderator, Larry Madowo, reiterated this need citing the readiness of aggrieved people to air their grievances on social media. He gave an example of his own unpleasant experience with an airline where a complaint on social media led to the airline acting swiftly to upgrade his flight status. It is important therefore that the government and county governments strive to get proper feedback and change policy for citizens improved experience.

4) Create Structures For Collection and Collation of Social Media Data Social media produces immense information and can be utilised to collect valuable information that can assist in intelligence gathering especially for government services like provision of infrastructure and security. The discussion highlighted that for this to be achieved there needs to be proper collection and collation of data on social media. Mr. Frank Maina highlighted that there is a glaring gap in the way the public sector utilizes social media for communication, information/intelligence gathering and collation of the collected data compared to similar undertakings by the private sector. He said there is need to “collect the right data” and collate it with the right tools to ensure the social media “noise” can be translated into signals the public sector can use to improve service delivery, make service delivery decisions and measure success. Mr. James Wainaina from SAP said that counties should also focus on creating social media strategy and incorporate analytical tools to collect feedback and measure success.

04 April, 2014