How Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services Uses Zoom to Improve Constituent Support & Employee Experience
Learn how the Zoom platform helped Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services improve case management and service delivery.
Location: Hamilton County, Ohio, USA
Industry: State and local government
Challenges: Legacy systems creating a poor user experience for employees and constituents alike
Solutions: Zoom Meetings, Zoom Phone, Zoom Rooms, Zoom Chat, and Zoom Video Webinars
Business benefits: Increased accessibility and attendance, simplified management, better user experience
Not having my folks spend time trying to fix issues is worth its weight in gold.
Brian KnightDirector of Information Technology
Serving the public since 1968, Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services (HCDDS) supports more than 8,000 people annually by enabling opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to work, learn, and fully participate in their communities. Focused on supporting these individuals and their families throughout all stages of life, HCDDS sought a solution provider that would not only enable continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also help the organization improve case management and service delivery.
We spoke with Brian Knight, Director of Information Technology, about how the Zoom platform helped his agency achieve its mission and evolve service delivery permanently.
Ease of use goes a long way
“Prior to March 2020, I could probably count on one hand how many video meetings I’d been a part of,” said Knight. HCDDS, like so many local agencies, was used to the in-person interactions traditional for the public sector, barely using their incumbent Skype solution. But that all changed when the pandemic started.
“When March 2020 hit, we knew Skype wouldn’t meet our needs anymore,” said Knight. His team was even offered a 90-day free license of Webex, but left with the same result. “When we got [Webex] out, I started hearing complaints [from our users]. It drops, disconnects often, choppy voice and video. It was a consistent issue we were seeing.”
That’s when Knight decided to pilot Zoom, initially purchasing 10 meetings licenses for a small group to test out. The response was immediately overwhelming, as Knight remarked, “It was so much easier to use, especially for so many of the constituents we work with.”
The HCDDS executive team echoed a similar response. When Knight decided to demo the solution in the hope of spawning adoption across the entire organization, the decision came easy for leadership. “We set up demos for both Zoom and [Microsoft] Teams for our leadership group. The Teams demo fell on its face. Each person experienced a different problem, my boss couldn’t even get signed in. The Zoom demo went flawlessly — [the Zoom team] showed a lot of the features and capabilities. Executives really liked what they saw.”
The HCDDS team applied a similar process to Zoom Phone adoption, testing licenses with a smaller group, and then bringing on more from there.
For Knight, implementation was both a cost-effective and seamless experience. “Our cost of entry was zero — didn’t cost us anything other than initial phone licenses. Setting things up was a snap,” he said. “Having everything in the same spot makes it so simple.”
Uncovering new outcomes
Once Knight deployed Zoom Meetings and Chat, Zoom Rooms, and Zoom Phone across his agency, the impact was felt by employees and constituents alike. While the agency frequently leveraged Zoom Chat’s file transfer feature and is exploring Zoom Apps, Knight and team found that a few features and aspects of the platform generated some key outcomes:
“Now that you have it built-in, [Live Transcription] works flawlessly. We have some hearing-impaired individuals and employees, and having closed captioning helps them out.”
Better work/life balance
“Something as simple as setting your business hours [in Zoom Phone] is helpful. When my day is over, I don’t want my phone ringing off the hook — the people who need to get a hold of me know how to.”
“We have meetings where we bring in different parties working with someone — providers, parents, individuals themselves — and a lot of the time it was challenging to get everyone to attend that meeting. With Zoom, we had a lot better participation, especially with court-appointed guardians.”
Simplified management & ease of use
“We needed to find something that was easy to use — that any other person on the outside can easily get access to. That’s what really drove its popularity with our staff. I like it because it’s so easy to manage. Not having my folks spend time trying to fix issues is worth its weight in gold.”
Benefits for other service organizations
After seeing such success with the Zoom platform, Knight has started to spread the word to his colleagues and cohorts.
“We have a group for all IT county board directors in the State of Ohio and we meet every other month, and I have given [Zoom] nothing but glowing recommendations. People were utilizing a lot of traditional PBX systems, and I told them to call Zoom because I think the price is affordable and it works great,” said Knight.
He’s also realized how Zoom Rooms can support some of the schools that HCDDS works with, deciding to show them the product firsthand. “I did a demo of our Zoom Room capabilities to our schools, and they’re excited about it. They’re going to use COVID-19-related grant money to purchase some of the Zoom Rooms hardware,” said Knight.
Now, the progress HCDDS has made with Zoom can expand to other organizations providing critical services to the public, helping to elevate the important work of state and local agencies around Ohio.