Insights from the minds at Cognosante

Thought Leadership

Optimizing Customer Experience through a Modern Approach to Quality Assurance

Optimizing Customer Experience through a Modern Approach to Quality Assurance

CONTEXT

Cognosante is reimagining the customer experience (CX) through its dedicated CognoConnected business sector, which delivers technology-forward solutions to help people connect with vital services and programs.

These CX solutions are bolstered by J.Lodge, a wholly owned subsidiary that specializes in delivering actionable insights from customer interactions. J.Lodge is the first U.S.-based third-party Quality Assurance company. Implementing a unique employment model focused on providing meaningful career opportunities to U.S. Veterans and Americans with disabilities, J.Lodge improves the quality and customer care experience within contact centers using artificial intelligence (AI), data-driven speech analytics, and industry-leading software.

CHALLENGE

A Fortune 500 telecommunications company needed to transform its contact center quality monitoring program to further its customer retention, sales, and regulatory compliance goals. Quality Analysts could only monitor a small percentage of interactions across the 12,000-agent operation, limiting their ability to identify performance trends and understand the customer experience.

OUR INNOVATIVE SOLUTION

Using best practices in customer experience optimization and speech analytics, the J.Lodge team transformed the client’s quality assurance practices with a focus on people, processes, and innovative technology.

People: J. Lodge employees, who average two years of college and eight years of experience with the company, are more educated and tenured than their industry counterparts. This fostered a working relationship that facilitated greater understanding of the client’s unique business needs and customer experience objectives.

Processes: Based on a holistic assessment of operations, J.Lodge introduced a strategic, behavior-based quality assurance model, to build a culture of continuous process improvement. J.Lodge first introduced this model to a single division of the customer experience operation, then expanded over time, ultimately driving the adoption of an outcome-based mindset across the client’s entire customer experience organization.

Innovative Technology: To provide increased speed to intelligence, J.Lodge introduced industry-leading speech analytics technology, driven by artificial intelligence to maximize its value. Using speech analytics, J.Lodge developed categories/queries to identify specific occurrences (or the lack of) across 100% of the contact center interactions. This enabled Quality Analysts to spend less time ingesting and processing data and more time identifying trends and understanding their root causes.

OUR TANGIBLE RESULTS

J.Lodge automated significant aspects of this client’s customer experience operations. The deployment of advanced quality monitoring software and skilled analysts to harness the power of AI allowed the client to expand monitoring operations to 100% of their customer interactions, an increase of 97% at a fraction of the cost of manual monitoring. The introduction of speech analytics further empowered Quality Analysts to pursue targeted monitoring of interactions to improve average handle times and case resolution satisfaction.

Over the life of the project, these process improvements led to a four-minute reduction in QA audit time, and a 66% reduction in the QA resources needed to perform the work.

At the same time, targeted monitoring and speech analytics resulted in a 12% increase in sales conversion, a 30% improvement in compliance scores, and a reduction in repeat calls that saved the client over $11 million annually.

Learn more about how Cognosante is helping clients improve their customer experience operations with actionable quality assurance insights from J.Lodge.

Thought Leadership

Redefining the Customer Experience in a Post-Pandemic World

Bianca Rainwater Goldman General Manager, Military and Veterans Health

As General Manager of Cognosante’s Military and Veterans Health business unit, Philip leads the strategy development, division growth, client engagement, and program execution to ensure the successful delivery of all programs. He and his team work closely with leaders from both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the medical components of the Department of Defense to assist in solving their toughest challenges and driving innovative solutions. Philip is passionate about supporting the mission of our clients and improving the quality healthcare delivery for our active-duty service members and Veterans.

Bianca Rainwater Goldman General Manager, Military and Veterans Health

As General Manager of Cognosante’s Military and Veterans Health business unit, Philip leads the strategy development, division growth, client engagement, and program execution to ensure the successful delivery of all programs. He and his team work closely with leaders from both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the medical components of the Department of Defense to assist in solving their toughest challenges and driving innovative solutions. Philip is passionate about supporting the mission of our clients and improving the quality healthcare delivery for our active-duty service members and Veterans.

The onset of COVID-19 significantly increased our dependence on technology and changed the way people expect to connect and interact with vital government services and programs. Establishing connections and engaging through a screen transformed the customer experience (CX) for most industries – particularly healthcare.

As the leader of our CognoConnected business sector, Cognosante President James Gordon shares his thoughts on new ways to approach customer experience (CX).

The new CX landscape presents an opportunity for state leaders, industry experts, and companies to reimagine the Florida Medicaid customer experience for recipients and providers alike. By redefining how organizations approach the workforce, cyber security, technology equity, automation, and cloud infrastructure, we can advance public sector CX to better serve the needs of Floridians.

From my work with Cognosante, I’ve seen the transformative power of connection when it comes to improving the customer experience for citizens. Cognosante is a mission-driven technology company delivering innovative and transformative solutions to Federal, state, and local governments. Our dedicated customer experience business sector, CognoConnected, helps public sector organizations modernize and optimize their CX programs, enterprise systems, and business process operations. For example, our team reduced resolution time by 50% for a major healthcare agency by developing and implementing a casework process tailored to the specific needs of agents, brokers, and assisters, and re-configuring the customer relationship management (CRM) system to support new workstreams.

The past two years have fostered new thinking about how to approach CX in five critical ways.

Delivering exceptional customer experiences requires a supportive, people-first culture as the COVID-19 pandemic spurred lasting changes in workforce dynamics. Organizations must evaluate how they help their employees adapt to the workspace of the future – a combination of on-site, hybrid and fully remote – while at the same time empowering employees to deliver outstanding customer experiences. This can be achieved by developing a consistent onboarding process, designing effective training programs, focusing on employee engagement and retention, and ensuring employees feel comfortable using and applying the latest technology solutions to serve customers. Implementing people-centric strategies such as these has helped Cognosante achieve the Great Place to Work® certification two years in a row.

Hybrid or remote operations must lead with cyber security. Cognosante has developed and prototyped several remote monitoring solutions which help address security concerns stemming from a remote CX workforce. Additionally, organizations should evaluate risk postures and redefine what can be accomplished securely without in-person interactions by customers. This comes with its own challenges, particularly in the realm of implementing digital solutions and securing personal identifiable information (PII) and protected health information (PHI). Having a well-defined cyber hygiene program along with security and monitoring solutions to accommodate hybrid or fully remote operations are key components to a successful CX cyber security posture.

Consider technology equity and social determinants of those the CX solutions aim to serve. The reality is that technology is not available to everyone – there are many in Florida who lack smartphones or reside in areas with significant data limitations. When developing CX solutions for public programs, organizations cannot ignore constraints like these and must instead leverage customer journey mapping and human-centered design techniques to deliver solutions which are inclusive and available to all.

Invest in self-service and automation strategically. Organizations must look for ways to reduce pressure on existing human channel interactions by investing in self-service and automation solutions while balancing the needs of an evolving workforce. The traditional contact or call center approach is behind us. Advancements in natural language processing and speech analytics allow organizations to utilize robotic process automation (RPA) and intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs) to provide a more seamless and intuitive experience, while reducing costs. That said, automation should never replace the human element which is so critical to delivering meaningful customer experiences and connections.

Leverage the power of cloud infrastructure. Federal and state agencies have seen real benefits from the adoption of cloud technology. By transitioning from on-premise data centers to cloud-based solutions, government organizations have saved billions of dollars, improved their overall security posture, and served their constituents more efficiently. Cognosante’s cloud practice currently supports agencies across the cloud continuum. We migrate workloads from on-premise data centers to the cloud, develop brand new solutions using cloud capabilities, and refactor and enhance legacy workloads.

At Cognosante, we’ve embraced the transformative power of connection – combining people, processes, and innovation to help deliver exceptional customer experiences – ones that ultimately support the health, safety, and well-being of us all. Florida must take advantage of the new and emerging CX landscape to reimagine the state’s Medicaid customer experience and meet the needs of our increasingly technological world – for all our constituents.

Thought Leadership

Supporting Veterans’ Health: Community Care Referral and Authorization Program (CCR&A)

Supporting Veterans' care through the VA's Community Care Referral and Authorization Program (CCR&A)

CONTEXT

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) aims to provide eligible Veterans the care they need at the right time, from the right provider in the right place. The right place may mean care is provided by a member of VA’s Community Care Network (CCN).

Community care benefits Veterans by offering quicker access to quality care closer to their homes. The VA partnership with community care providers ensures Veterans receive the care they earned and deserve.

CHALLENGE

Prior to Cognosante’s CCR&A project, referring Veterans to community care was a time-consuming task for VA staff. Data gathered from multiple systems involved manual processes and once referrals were scheduled, community providers lacked information for follow-up treatment, and reimbursement procedures made it difficult to participate in the program.

OUR INNOVATIVE SOLUTION

Cognosante created a turnkey solution to streamline the referral process. CCR&A also gives community providers and VA staff access to information through a single interface. The user-friendly interface addresses VA’s intent to deliver the full spectrum of care to Veterans in the shortest time possible.

A key component of CCR&A, known as HealthShare Referral Manager (HSRM), automatically generates referrals and authorizations for Veterans receiving care in the community. This secure, cloud-based solution—developed in partnership with InterSystems—operates on Amazon Web Services (AWS) GovCloud to integrate bi-directional exchange of appointment data between community providers, VA‘s electronic health record, and other VA systems. As the first VA project to receive an Authorization to Operate (ATO) for cloud deployment, the CCR&A system is rated at FedRAMP FISMA High and optimized regularly to be as responsive as possible to requested changes.

Additionally, the solution consolidates more than 25 other VA systems into one interface to allow faster financial and clinical processing. Workflow automation simplifies the referral process, standardizes it to align with industry standards and creates a unified platform for VA and community providers. Most importantly, it decreases the administrative burden on VA staff so they can focus on the patient. CCR&A improves Veteran access to care by reducing turnaround time for appointments and streamlines care coordination. The solution is now an integral component of the VA Community Care information technology architecture.

OUR TANGIBLE RESULTS

Since its launch in 2019, one of the CCR&A system’s major milestones was its generation of more than ten million community referrals and authorizations for more than three million Veterans, and reduced wait times of 75 percent. It has since generated more than fourteen million referrals and authorizations. The automation of the overall process is also less costly for the Veteran and VA.

The success of CCR&A has Cognosante engaged with the upgrade and development of a modernized system for VA’s Emergency Care Reporting (ECR). Like the CCR&A system, ECR makes it easier and faster for Veterans to get authorizations for prior care, specifically for emergency healthcare services. This modern, web-based portal replaces an antiquated method that relied on paper, fax, email and Sharepoint.

Cognosante’s work on the CCR&A program was recognized in 2021 by FedHealthIT as an Innovation Award winner and by WashingtonExec as a Pinnacle Award winner for Government Team Project of the Year.

Learn more about how Cognosante designs, develops and delivers innovative Enterprise IT solutions that are robust functional, scalable, secure, and independently validated—so government agencies can focus on their mission.

Thought Leadership

Putting People at the Heart of Customer Service

In recognition of National Customer Service Week, Cognosante President, James Gordon, shares his perspective on the vital role Cognosante’s Customer Experience (CX) teams play in transforming the way people connect and interact with vital services and programs.

Headshot of James Gordan, President of Cognosante’s Business Process Outsourcing sector

October 4-8 marks National Customer Service Week, when we celebrate the people who create meaningful customer experiences by providing exceptional customer service throughout the year. This year’s theme, Celebrating the Heart of Service is a fitting one. Customer experience (CX) teams connect people to vital programs and services, helping agencies fulfill their core missions, and improving the overall health and wellbeing of all Americans.

The COVID pandemic introduced a new paradigm in customer service. The need for public services increased while public health demanded a shift to remote or hybrid operations. Customer experience teams – from customer service representatives to supervisors, quality analysts to technologists – adapted. We developed new ways of working that enabled greater flexibility, scalability, and security, while continuing to provide critical services to agencies and their customers.

Customer experience teams rose to tremendous challenges, adapting to new work environments and program needs with tireless agility and commitment. They served as the public face of many government agencies, often supporting constituents in difficult situations. They helped people enroll in healthcare benefits, resolve enrollment problems, and check on the status of immigration applications. They handled inquiries from people experiencing life-changing events, helping them access unemployment or funeral benefits when faced with job loss or the death of a loved one. These interactions required not only skill, but compassion and empathy, which our customer experience team is trained to deliver with every interaction.

Bridging People, Processes, and Technology

In today’s environment, providing exceptional customer service for public programs requires a sustained focus on people, processes, and technology. From customer journey mapping to human-centered design and customer satisfaction strategy, we deliver the innovative, technology-forward solutions that help our government customers fulfill their missions and serve their constituents now and into the future. Our commitment to process optimization and quality assurance ensures consistently positive experiences, regardless of program or channel. Most importantly, we invest in our people, creating an environment in which customer service employees can thrive.

Our employees display professionalism, compassion, and skill every single day. They foster a genuine connection between public programs and their constituents, improving Americans’ health and quality of life in every interaction. We thank them for being the gold standard in customer service.

Learn more about Cognosante’s Customer Experience and BPO solutions.

Thought Leadership

Designing for the Future of Government with Cloud

The journey to modernize government through technology in order to provide better, customer focused services to the public is accelerating at a rapid pace due to solutions such as cloud. We’re proud to be a partner in our customers’ digital transformations in the cloud space and beyond.

By leveraging cloud, government agencies benefit from a full-service IT operating environment that is agile, flexible, scalable, and cost-effective.  Our cloud experts have helped our Federal and state customers migrate successfully to the cloud securely, so they can focus on mission delivery and service excellence.

Our VP of Cloud Engineering, Ben Grafton, explains how Cognosante engages cloud technology as a catalyst for innovation in government.

Ben, how is Cognosante helping Federal agencies leverage best-in-breed technology solutions and what impacts are you seeing as a result?

Federal and state agencies have seen real benefits from the adoption of cloud technology. By transitioning from on-premises data centers to cloud-based solutions, government organizations have saved billions of dollars, improved their overall security posture, and served their constituents more efficiently.

Cognosante’s cloud practice currently supports agencies across the cloud continuum. We migrate workloads from on-premises data centers to the cloud, develop brand new solutions using cloud capabilities, and refactor and enhance legacy workloads. Our cloud framework–Cognosante Cloud Foundations–reflects every phase of cloud adoption, allowing us to develop effective, cost-effective solutions, no matter where a customer is on their cloud journey.

Our practice is cloud-agnostic, meaning that we don’t favor one product or platform over another. Rather, we have experience with a range of Cloud Service Providers and technologies, so we can select the platform or technology that best meets our customers’ needs. Our partnerships include major Cloud Service Providers such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, as well as smaller, innovative technologies that allow us to maximize the benefits of our solutions.

How is Cognosante leading the paradigm shift from an on-premises mindset to a “cloud native” one?

We strive to fulfill all our customers’ existing needs while simultaneously building the architecture that will serve them well into the future.  From our point of view, inputs to a successful cloud strategy includes the organizational purpose (the mission), security, workforce, cultural, and technology implications of working within a distributed computing environment. Cognosante is leading the transformation to cloud technology for both small scale state cloud initiatives with limited budgets and large government agencies that involve massive cloud operations and migration support. We have significantly reduced the need for contracted data centers, generating billions of dollars in cost savings. While large-scale migrations have a significant impact on total cost of ownership, it’s easy to let cloud costs run up unchecked. Migrating to the cloud is just the first step. Regular reviews through infrastructure rightsizing, a targeted reservation strategy, and refactoring to optimize smart usage of cloud platform services is essential to create a culture of optimizing cloud spend that leads with data security.

It’s important to note that cloud technology is about much more than running a data center. At Cognosante, we have applied cloud paradigms to develop our eSante platform, which is a modular technology solution and methodology based in serverless technology. In this case, cloud technology is allowing us to build elegant, quick, and effective solutions to a variety of healthcare and human services challenges in a short period of time, with low maintenance costs.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to that paradigm shift? 

It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has created a new paradigm for how and where we work. Companies and government agencies had to shift their workforces to remote status quickly, without disrupting operations. Cloud technology was a major contributor in facilitating a swift, smooth, and secure transition. Because cloud solutions offer a pay-as-you-go model, organizations were able to expand capacity immediately, and without having to pay for it before it was necessary. As our workforce reaches a new equilibrium between onsite and remote work, cloud infrastructure can easily be “right-sized” to meet those needs due its scalable nature.

How do you envision cloud technology helping government organizations collaborate more, and share information more in the next few years?

Although every organization is in a different place along their cloud journey, we do expect adoption to increase more and more. Right now, we’re really seeing a convergence of the technology itself, the possibilities offered by that technology, and how quickly it allowed us to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic. All these factors will push organizations to look more toward cloud technology as an enabler for distributed computing and distributed collaboration, so they can execute on their missions more effectively.

Even as government agencies embrace the benefits of cloud technology, individual security breaches can shake customer confidence. How are cloud service providers able to adapt to emerging security threats?

Security is always the first consideration for any cloud project. Across our cloud environments, we’re adopting Center for Internet Security (CIS) benchmark policies to ensure that all our environments are meeting minimum security thresholds for authentication, data access, and encryption, while also addressing security risks specific to each customer. Unfortunately, there will always be security breaches, which are most often caused by human error, not technology failures. But, the more we can automate processes and institute security standards proactively, the better we can eliminate human error and increase the safety of our cloud environments.

Learn more about how we’re helping government organizations secure sensitive data and systems in the cloud.

Thought Leadership

Securing Sensitive Data and Systems in the Cloud

Security must be the foundation of any large government cloud project. Fortunately, today’s cloud-based environments are more secure than on-premises data centers. Agencies looking to benefit from cloud technology can do so with the confidence that sensitive data will be protected, in accordance with the highest Federal standards of security and privacy.

The current challenge is not finding providers who can secure information—but selecting partners who can maximize the value of an agency’s cloud investment while putting security first. Benefits from moving to the cloud securely include:

  • Improved mission continuity by reducing and recovering from outages
  • Modernized IT service delivery
  • Enhanced security posture by consolidating infrastructure, while saving costs

Cloud Migrations Must Lead with Security 

Cognosante understands the government’s complex security and IT environment. Our cloud strategy—Cognosante Cloud Foundations—helps customers manage security risks without compromising on flexibility and innovation. Cognosante Cloud Foundations is grounded in our real-world experience developing cloud governance strategy and securing systems in the cloud.

As a FedRAMP High authorized and HITRUST CSF certified provider, we leverage partnerships with best-in-class technology partners to:

  • Help customers migrate existing solutions;
  • Advance agency capabilities using DevSecOps and Agile methodologies;
  • Adopt emerging cloud capabilities to meet future needs;
  • Operate complex workloads; and
  • Customize cloud migrations based on customer needs; always leading with security.

Our partnerships and experience with Amazon Web Services GovCloud and Microsoft Azure Government empower our government agency customers access best-in-class innovative solutions with proven track records of performance.

The shift to offsite work in 2020 due to a global pandemic underscored the importance of using cloud-based, FedRAMP-certified partners to ensure the protection of confidential and sensitive information in unanticipated situations. Agencies with this foundation could shift their non-classified mission-critical workloads to a remote workforce almost overnight, without any degradation in security or continuity of operations. Our own transition of government contact center work to fully remote status would not have been possible without it.

Even so, making effective use of the cloud requires more than choosing an authorized provider. Migrating existing applications from conventional data centers to cloud environments may require redesigns or other updates to take advantage of services and functionality available in the cloud, or to ensure that no security protections are lost. Agencies need to consider the full benefits to be gained from the cloud and choose business partners who not only meet security requirements but who can also maximize the value of the cloud investment for current and future use.

Maximize the Return on Your Cloud Investment with a Holistic Approach

Cognosante’s security and privacy operational framework is based on Federal standards and guidance from NIST, FedRAMP, and additional agency-specific security requirements. Cloud Govern – the governance and security component of our Cognosante Cloud Foundations framework – brings rigor and expertise to not only comply with these standards, but to help agencies realize their full benefits.

Our approach to designing and securely deploying solutions in the cloud begins with developing a detailed understanding of system capabilities, functional and technical requirements, and data and system sensitivity. Our experts also consider business needs and cultural components of the enterprise to ensure technology balances well with people and processes. We then align all those factors to appropriate infrastructure-, platform-, and software-as-a-service cloud solutions.

We have established partner relationships with Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, all authorized to operate at the FedRAMP Moderate and FedRAMP High baseline level for specific platform services and regions. Our approach to solution security architecture, deployment, and operations is optimized for the cloud and meets government-wide and agency-specific standards.

Our team of cloud migration experts (including certified architects) integrate leading-edge technologies, repeatable processes, best practices rooted in Agile, SAFe®, ISO 20000/ISO 9001/27001/HITRUST certifications, and other value-added tools and utilities. The result is not just the implementation of a cloud solution, but a strategy that will enhance an agency’s mission effectiveness now and into the future.

Cognosante Delivers Cloud Success So Government Can Focus on the Mission

Cognosante has a proven track record of delivery at scale for Federal and state cloud migrations. Here are a few of our results for our customers:

  • Established a unified cloud solution for the largest healthcare agency in the country, migrating more than 350 applications from on-premises data centers to the cloud, with a strong focus on governance and security.
  • Implemented organization-wide governance strategy for two of the largest Federal health organizations.
  • Built the cloud-based infrastructure that, to date, has generated more than 10 million referrals and authorizations for Veterans receiving care in the community, and allows provider to send clinical information back to their electronic health records.
  • Hosted several statewide cloud-based health information exchanges;
  • Built an eHealth Exchange Data Hub and Dashboard to facilitate tens of millions of daily transactions for the nation’s largest public-private health information network.

Learn how we help Government agencies maximize their investments in Cloud