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May 24, 2012

Digital Government: More Than Just A Pretty Interface

To anyone passionate about applying technology to drive transformative change and improve the way we live, this week is shaping up to be a tough one to beat in the public sector. It’s been like receiving a gift-wrapped box of energy, laser focused on government innovation and modernization.

Yesterday, President Obama issued a memorandum to the heads of all US executive departments and agencies calling on them to leverage “technological advances to fundamentally change how they serve their customers.”  

The memo, entitled "Building a 21st Century Digital Government," goes on to explain:

“For far too long, the American people have been forced to navigate a labyrinth of information across different Government programs in order to find the services they need. In addition, at a time when Americans increasingly pay bills and buy tickets on mobile devices, Government services often are not optimized for smartphones or tablets, assuming the services are even available online.”

As a follow-up to Executive Order 13571 (Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service) which he signed in April 2011, the president’s memo also announced the release of a new Government-wide strategy developed to accomplish the monumental goal of enabling “more efficient and coordinated digital service delivery” across all agencies.

Simultaneously, yesterday in New York City at TechCrunch Disrupt 2012, Steven Van Roekel (US Chief Information Officer) and Todd Park (US Chief Technology Officer), launched this landmark initiative to thousands of attendees excited to learn the details.

The comprehensive accompanying strategy, entitled “"Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People", includes a 12-month road map that emphasizes three priority actions:

  •  Encouraging agencies to deliver information in new ways that fully utilize the power and potential of mobile and web-based technologies
  •  Ensuring the safe and secure delivery and use of digital services to protect information and privacy
  •  Requiring all agencies to establish central online resources for outside developers, and to adopt new standards for making applicable Government information open and machine-readable by default

In today’s interconnected global economy, such leadership will likely provide a blueprint for similar international efforts as government enterprises worldwide mobilize to optimize efficiency and offer citizens digital experiences on par with those offered by their private sector counterparts.

To that end, we recently hosted the first annual Adobe Government Assembly (AGA) for Canada. The recent creation of Shared Services Canada, a new agency dedicated to optimizing service delivery, has brought new attention to efforts there to "improve the efficiency of IT services across the Canadian federal government and ensure value for taxpayers' dollars."

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Similar to our trademark Adobe Government Assembly in the US, the Canadian summit delved into global modernization trends and local challenges, while providing a forum for government leaders, executives, and policy makers to candidly address the processes, challenges, and benefits of building a Digital Government.

A sample of Adobe Digital Government success stories in Canada were highlighted, including the Government of New Brunswick, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Royal Canadian Mint, Canada Post, Toronto Police Service, Export Development Canada, and others.

For 30 years, Adobe has been firmly committed to empowering agencies throughout the US and around the world to transform the way they interact with citizens, commercial organizations, and even each other.  By combining existing capabilities with new technologies and reaching across traditional boundaries, forward leaning governments are undeniably changing the way they serve their constituents for the better.