city cloud

Denver taps into AI for 311 services

Denver 311 is getting an upgrade that will automatically classify and escalate calls for non-emergency service calls and information requests.

City 311 systems connect residents to a single phone number, website or mobile app that provides information on basic services and allows them to report common problems such as potholes or trash collection issues.

Denver uses Salesforce’s 311 system, which is built on Salesforce Service Cloud Einstein and features an integrated set of artificial intelligence technologies for the customer relationship management platform.  

The Denver 311 cloud-based platform uses intelligent workflow and automation to reduce manual processes and control costs. Because it is tightly integrated with the city and county’s work-order systems, multiple agencies can get consistent view of residents’ needs to facilitate collaboration for issue resolution. The solution is also integrated with the city and county's mapping system so officials can track response to chronic issues.

"Ensuring our employees are engaged, that loops will be closed and that issues will be resolved quickly is a top priority for our city," said Christine Binnicker, Denver’s deputy CIO.

Salesforce’s 311 solution offered Denver what it was looking for – a software-as-a-solution platform, a user-friendly interface, a mobile application and a scalable application development platform that would allow the city to modernize legacy applications, embed  analytics and reporting, build a robust knowledge base and integrate social media, Binnicker said.

Since Denver 311 launched in 2015, online case volume has grown by 68 percent, while call volume has increased by 10 percent.  The upgrade built on the Salesforce Einstein platform will help the city better manage that increased volume.

“As more data and calls come in on the new system, it can provide a greater value to Denver by providing recommended responses,” Dave Rey, Salesforce's executive vice president, told GCN.

“Governments will be getting a plethora of data to use in their decision-making processes on how to dedicate their limited number of resources,” he said. Once they get more comfortable with the 311 tool,  “they will want to provide even more intelligence into their systems.”

Salesforce provides scalable 311 solutions to over a dozen state and local governments across the country. The Philly 311 app, also developed by Salesforce, has been evolving since former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter got funding for the project in 2014.  The project won a GCN award in 2015. Philly 311 reported an average 98 percent of users were satisfied with the product one year after it launched.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

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