Adopting Cloud-native UI Systems: What Labor Agencies Should Look For
State Workforce agencies must modernize legacy applications to stay current and serve their constituents effectively and efficiently. However, most states rely on outdated computer systems to administer their unemployment insurance programs, resulting in highly inefficient processes, inconvenience to constituents, and susceptibility to fraud. Additionally, these mainframe-based legacy systems are not equipped to handle unexpected circumstances and are prone to collapse, as we saw during the unemployment surge brought on by the pandemic.
In April 2020 State Workforce agencies received a record 6.2 million initial UI claim applications in a single week, overwhelming these aging systems and bringing claims processing to a grinding halt for many states. The result was desperate constituents across the country dealing with unresponsive government websites leaving them without an easy way of knowing if or when they would receive their benefits. Unemployment insurance systems need to incorporate modern strategies, platforms, and technologies, like cloud-native solutions that are easily scalable to ensure that the breakdown experienced in April 2020 is never repeated.
While many State Workforce agencies are in the process of modernizing their systems, care must be taken not to replace one legacy system with another legacy system. This is why simply moving existing unemployment insurance applications from on-premise servers to the cloud is not enough. While this approach seems simple, it is not a long-term solution and does not take full advantage of modern cloud computing capabilities. The need of the hour is a comprehensive cloud-native solution to revamp and build resilient unemployment insurance services. State Workforce agencies must learn how to transform the administration of unemployment insurance programs by leveraging new technologies.
The cloud-native approach to modernizing legacy applications and IT systems involves a ground-up overhaul of the entire associated infrastructure. Aside from ensuring that claimants receive their benefits in a timely manner, a well-executed modernization strategy can revolutionize the administration of all unemployment services across Tax, Benefits, Appeals, and Workforce. It can also broaden the scope of unemployment insurance and take it from processing claims and issuing benefits in a reactive manner, to proactively understanding individual constituent needs and attributes based on prior interactions with the agency. State Workforce agencies can use this historical information to get constituents on the path to reemployment by identifying relevant opportunities and connecting them with local and statewide workforce boards.
Customizable, Flexible, and Scalable
One of the most apparent benefits of a modern, cloud-native unemployment insurance platform, like the Infosys LaborForce, is that it allows for a level of customizability, flexibility, security, and scalability that would be unattainable with the legacy applications currently in use. Additionally, cloud-native applications and their underlying code are entirely managed by the service provider. Therefore, the agency does not need to worry about aspects like software updates and can focus on process-specific issues to serve their constituents effectively. Adopting a fully integrated cloud-native solution allows agency staff the ability to concentrate exclusively on their primary mission of administering UI services rather than worrying about technical and software issues. New rules and legislation can also be easily incorporated into the system, with minimal effort from agency staff.
Cloud-native solutions focus on constituent outcomes and offer users easy access to information while also reducing agency staff workload. Constituents contact unemployment insurance agencies with various inquiries; automated systems, like the integrated chatbot capability, can provide easy access to the relevant information for a faster, more personalized experience. For example, these intelligent, automated systems can guide claimants from filing an initial claim to their weekly certifications, uploading any necessary documentation, and accessing crucial information about their claim – all without the need for staff intervention.
Additional Read: What is Unemployment Insurance & Claims System
Resistance to Fraud
Another advantage of a modern, cloud-native UI system is its resistance to fraud. Modern security measures use advanced machine learning algorithms to analyze historical data to identify and combat fraudulent claims much earlier and more effectively than legacy systems. Fraudsters are constantly evolving their methods of infiltrating the system. Modern technology can identify these suspicious activities, automatically look for red flags, and keep the system secure by continually learning about new methods to commit fraud and taking appropriate measures to prevent scams.
Key Features to Look for in a Cloud-native Solution
- A single system (bringing together tax, benefits, appeals, workforce development, and call centers) to meet the needs of our constituents.
- Customer-centric with one update everywhere as a native capability.
- Low-code or no-code application, empowering the business user.
- Auto adjudication using a business rule engine.
- Machine learning for fraud detection and tracking trends in the labor market.
- Modular Implementation approach, which provides flexibility to meet the states’ needs.
The Way Forward
The goal of a contemporary unemployment insurance system, like the Infosys LaborForce solution, is to automate essential procedures, providing agencies access to more data. States can integrate an automated AI platform into their UI system to make sense of this data not only to address program integrity issues but also to gain insights on how to transform the state's labor force by identifying in-demand skills, identifying gaps, and making the necessary training programs available to people who need them.
A cloud-native solution is the clear way forward for State Workforce agencies in today’s digital world. Not only do solutions like Infosys LaborForce streamline the entire claims process, but they also provide a user-centric experience for constituents that guide them toward getting back to work as quickly as possible.
A modernized unemployment insurance system provides relevant information to citizens as well as agency staff as they need it and allows for the swift implementation of new features or legislative changes without unnecessary delays. A comprehensive modernization strategy is necessary to future-proof unemployment insurance and ensure that state agencies are not replacing one legacy system with another.
Stephanie Puryear, Principal Consultant – National Labor Practice, Infosys Public Services
Stephanie has 20 years of experience helping Labor and Workforce Departments administer Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs effectively. She has delivered UI solutions in 5 states and is the Manager for Business Analysis and the UI PMO for LaborForce. Stephanie has designed highly user-friend systems and is expert on helping agencies fight UI fraud.