President’s Management Agenda Puts Federal Government on the Path to Better Integrated Digital Experiences
The focus of the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) is mission, service and data. Integrated across all of these areas is the need to improve services for the internal and external customers within government. Improving the citizens’ experience with government requires the government to transform legacy systems and processes, understand what their customers expect, identify where the pain points are to delivering the services, and create action plans to prioritize the initiatives that can have the most impact.
Since the PMA was released a little over a year ago in March 2018, the government has shown a renewed energy around improving the government’s digital services. It’s “go time,” and we are now ready to implement these game changing guidelines to improve the high priority government services! Whether you are seeking a loan, Social Security or Veterans’ benefits, or other services provided by the federal government, customers (individuals and businesses) expect government services to be easy to access via their channel of choice and conduct their transaction 24 hours a day. Government customers expect to access and deserve the same quality of service that they receive from companies in the private sector. While technology is at the heart of delivering services today, the experience is not complete with technology alone. The Administration is committed to leveraging what works from the past and setting up a framework that continues to work in the future.
The PMA was launched to establish the framework of mission, service and data and Delivering Government Solutions for the 21st Century, Reform Plan and Reorganization was subsequently released in June 2018 to provide actions and specific recommendations to realign the government to be more efficient and improve the citizen’s experience. Together, these two initiatives represent a significant step toward modernizing legacy IT, enabling departments to focus on mission-critical outcomes, driving more efficiencies for customers through improved services and saving taxpayer money.
A critical component of the PMA is the Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) goals, which are designed to tackle critical government-wide challenges that cut across agencies. These are vital because they ensure agencies are working towards realistic benchmarks and are making incremental progress.
CAP Goal #4, the key goal for improving federal services, is “Improving Customer Experience with Federal Services.” The CAP goal identifies the high priority services across government ,and with the release of Section 280 of OMB Circular A-11, agencies are now required to collect customer feedback and create action plans based on a self-assessment, directing agencies to prioritize customer experience. This new guidance applies to the high impact priority services (HISPs) and requires them to collect customer feedback across seven key areas: customer satisfaction; confidence/trust; service quality; ease; efficiency and equity of process and employee helpfulness. At this point, the first submission of customer feedback should be on agency websites and submitted to OMB. In addition, agency action plans are due in June and expected to be made public on Performance.gov in the summer of 2019. Collectively, these actions should provide agencies with the information they need to improve their digital services.
A prime example of how government can reduce paperwork and improve customer experience is the creation of citizen-facing portals, like the one the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is developing for farmers, ranchers, and producers. Farmers.gov, an important initiative led by the USDA with help from the Office of American Innovation through the Centers of Excellence initiative. It will help the department collect information electronically and share data across multiple USDA agencies, eliminating the need for customers to provide the same information multiple times. Currently, some USDA customers must travel hundreds of miles to a local service center to work with USDA employees in person and submit numerous forms to different agencies for everything from farm loans, conservation planning to crop insurance. Soon they will have access to one online portal, which serves as a central repository for submitting information via simplified, digital forms with electronic signatures. This reduces paperwork, redundant processes and government employees’ time to enter and process data, and approve applications which can ultimately improve the efficiency, effectiveness and customer experience of USDA programs.
Improving the citizen’s experience has many benefits, from increasing mission delivery to reducing cost and increasing employee engagement. When employees can deliver these mission critical services, their level of engagement and experience improves as well. Ultimately, it improves the overall trust in government. Citizen’s deserve a 21st century integrated digital experience when working with government! The question isn’t why should we invest in improving the citizen’s experience with government, it’s how can we not invest in improvements to the citizen’s experience.