Loni Stark, Director of Product and Industry Marketing

October 27, 2010

Citizen Experience: Ways to optimize your agency’s web presence

What happens behind your website is just as important as what is on your website. To maximize your agency's web presence, think about how you can make the web channel the "sole" channel for specific interactions and how you can make your agency responsive to these requests by transforming the review & approval process.

What happens behind your website is just as important as what is on your agency's website. To maximize your agency's web presence, think about how you can make the web channel the "sole" channel for specific interactions and how you can make your agency more responsive to these requests by transforming the review & approval process behind-the-scenes.

Your new government website just launched. The digital pages are visually stunning and impressive.

But is your website just a pretty facade?

Or…is it ready to turn those citizens who visit into satisfied customers quickly and without utilizing your agency’s overloaded phone, mail or in-person channels?

If citizens still need to call or visit an agency office after exploring your website, then there are still more opportunities for maximizing your agency’s web investments to reduce your agency’s operating costs and boost customer service. And, as I will note, investments in what the citizen doesn’t see, the operations behind your website, is just as important as what is on your website.

If your agency can provide required services online in a responsive and transparent manner, adoption of the digital channel will increase.

With the latest Pew research showing that more people are now connected to the internet, it’s time to think about online as a channel for completing end-to-end interactions with your agency. Not just taking a supporting role.

11:09 AM Permalink
October 10, 2010

Health 2.0: From data to meaningful use

Health 2.0 in San Francisco: Every is milling around just before the fourth annual conference kicks off.

Health 2.0 in San Francisco: Everyone is milling around just before the fourth annual conference kicks off.

The fourth annual Health 2.0 conference was held this past week appropriately in one of the nation’s innovation hotbeds, Silicon Valley. Approximately 1,000 participants spanning the spectrum of stakeholders from insurers, health care providers, public sector representatives to patients, clustered together at the Hilton in Union Square San Francisco for the two day mind meld.

Even before the opening remarks, I could feel the energy of the room that is consistent with most web 2.0 and social media events. Similar to “2.0″ gatherings I’ve attended across other industries, the conversation in the “Dueling Keynotes” between Tim O’Reilly and Jeff Goldsmith culminated on the tension between the traditional institutions of the health care industry and the new innovations that are posed to be disruptive.

7:45 PM Permalink
August 13, 2010

What is the value of your agency’s face time?

On a flight back from a child support enforcement conference (NCSEA 2010) in Chicago, I couldn’t help but notice the headlines that a city just outside Atlanta, Georgia is causing.

The newsworthy event?

Well if you haven’t heard, the city of East Point opened up their waiting list for Section 8 public housing. The agency required applicants to travel to a local shopping mall to pick up the paper forms that citizens must complete to get a chance at public housing.

What started as a great piece of news turned into chaos when 30,000 people fought traffic and heat to have a chance at being placed on a waiting list. By the end of the ordeal, there were about 13,000 applications picked up amidst police ready to break up any riots and ambulances taking care of several medical emergencies.

Are these the types of in-person interactions you value?

9:37 AM Permalink
April 30, 2010

Citizen Service: Why it’s critical to achieving your agency’s mission

(I thought I’d share this photo I took last week when I visited Meals on Wheels in San Francisco with Executive Director Ashley McCumber. This is a community-based organization that has the mission to provide care to the elderly in San Francisco, including 16,000 meals a week. I thought it was fitting as we think about how we can better achieve agency missions with the use of technology to always keep the mission in mind.)

A while back, longer than I really want to admit (for those of you responsible for your government websites and blogs, I hope you can sympathize), I posted an entry on a survey I did with a couple of hundred government folks that attended a web seminar I presented at. The topic was Customer Service in Government.

I noted I would delve deeper into the analysis behind the survey results. Better late than never, right?

Based on my experience with government agencies, customer service and experience is critical to ensuring that agencies’ achieve their mission, yet it is something often not considered at an technology procurement, design and implementation level.

10:51 AM Permalink
April 13, 2010

Healthcare IT in Practice: Notes from the field

Healthcare is a complex topic, just ask anyone about their last major surgery or visit to the doctor’s and suddenly you find yourself in a discussion where foreign-sounding words and acronyms are being thrown around. Toss into the mix the topic of information technology and it’s no wonder the current debate and discussion around Health IT becomes exponentially more confusing.

A couple of weeks ago in DC, I was part of a panel discussion on Health IT in the context of the current federal health initiatives and its desired outcomes. We had a solid panel spanning experts on Health IT standards to those that have led projects to provide more reliable health care delivery through the use of technology.

Panelists were:

- Dr. Steven Galson who was the acting surgeon general of the United States (2007-09) and is currently the operations manager for SAIC’s Civilian Health Organization

- Mr. David Walsh who currently chairs the MITA Technical Architecture committee and is president of eServices Group

- Mr. Raymond Sullivan who was the Executive Director of the Veterans Administration Office of Information Technology and is now the VP of Health IT Solution at General Dynamics

The discussion kicked off with some candid comments on the definition of “meaningful use” and the general confusion by both public and private sector on how the regulations translates into the day-to-day operations of providers and payers.

7:07 AM Permalink
April 12, 2010

DirectGouv: Social media meets Government 2.0 communications


Many government agencies are looking at ways to innovate with social media to increase transparency and participation between staff and the community. As I’ve expressed in the past through this blog and at various conferences, the real opportunity for public sector is to understand the characteristics of social media that make it so engaging and collaborative and infuse it into the core operations of government whether that is to deliver services, collect revenue or inform citizens.

One lesson from social media is the immediacy and richness of information that can be shared through digital channels. Blogs, online video sharing platforms and Twitter have demonstrated the power and desire by the public to share information quickly and easily.

8:29 AM Permalink
March 20, 2010

2010 US Census: Counting the ways it can be improved


Saturday morning and finally found some time to complete the 2010 US Census. My household, like about 120 million other homes in America received a notice early March that a survey was coming and a couple of weeks later, the same 120 million households were mailed a survey. Important decisions are based on the answers to this survey, including the distribution of about $300 billion in federal spending.

As I started to complete the survey, I couldn’t help but wonder if mailing out all of these paper surveys was the best way to gain public participation and input.

It would have been more convenient this morning to complete the survey online in much the same manner as I am writing this blog entry, sending emails to family, or checking out what my friends are doing on Facebook.

Give us the choice to opt in to receive the survey electronically. If this was not possible, even the ability like the DMV gives us to complete the survey electronically once I get the paper version would also be nice.

This is not just a matter of convenience…granted a couple of extra minutes to enjoy my coffee on a weekend instead of licking tasty glue off the back of an envelope is appreciated.

It also is about fiscal responsibility. Discussions with government agencies around the ROI and value of IT initiatives to program missions has trained me to do some quick calculations on cost savings here.

12:24 PM Permalink
March 5, 2010

Portfolio Prioritization: A lot of common sense, but are you doing it?

I was invited last week to speak on a panel at the California CIO Academy on the topic of portfolio prioritization along with Teri Bennett (CalPERS), Jerry Becker (San Joaquin County), Gregg Wyant (Intel) and moderated by Peter Doolan (Oracle).

If you were in the audience, I hope you were entertained. I was delighted at the audience participation in our session given it was on the second day and in the afternoon. It was a daunting task as that morning, Capt. Larry Brudnicki, Coast Guard Captain from “The Perfect Storm” spoke about leadership in the eye of the storm and the general session prior to ours ended with a juggling performance.

For those of you that didn’t attend, I did want to recap some of the key points I made.

I’ll first come clean and note that I don’t think any of this is rocket science, a lot is common sense. But are you really doing it? Is your agency putting in place the executive sponsorship, processes and milestones to ensure strategically critical initiatives are properly resourced and projects in jeopardy are identified quickly.

7:37 AM Permalink
February 19, 2010

Customer Service in Government: Does it matter? Survey results.

Yesterday, I spoke at a Governing eSeminar entitled, “Getting it Right: Customer Service and Citizen Engagement” with John Miri, Senior Fellow at Center for Digital Government and Gordon Thompson, section chief at Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

For those of you who ever felt passionate enough about an issue to share your views on it with others, I am sure you could relate to my curiosity.

Curious? Yes, curious.

I was curious to know who would show up, who would care, what aspects of citizen service and engagement do they care about…and most importantly, why. I have discussed this issue with agencies around the world, but each time I speak about it, it is always an opportunity to discover new perspectives and ideas.

About a couple hundred people showed up…connected virtually to participate in a discussion about a shared passion and concern.

For now, with morning coffee in hand, I will share with you the results of the intro poll that was taken at the beginning of the seminar.

What do you think about the results? What do you think about questions being asked?
I’ll share my opinions on the results in a later post, especially about the results to the question, “What is the impact of poor customer service and interactions?”

For now, have a great Friday.


P.S. As in all groups, many people were shy, so these results are only from participants that boldly clicked on radio buttons.

7:12 AM Permalink
February 6, 2010

Innovations in citizen interactions in the most unusual places

It’s Saturday so let’s start off with a relatively obvious place where we have seen tremendous innovation in user interactions, media players. Across static photos, music and videos, there have been great strides in creating intuitive experiences that engage users to search, play and comment.


Take for example this BBC iPlayer. The BBC looked to this iPlayer to help them transform the world-wide on-demand TV space. It took BBC about 10 weeks to build the iPlayer and in its first 3 weeks of launch, there were 3.5m downloads. Currently, it accounts for 5 million views a day which is aobut 5% of the UK internet traffic.

These great participation rates are because from the start, the BBC considered the user central to how the rest of the system worked to deliver content to users. The iPlayer can be used by anyone across platforms and even if they are disconnected from the internet.

Okay, I probably haven’t told you anything you didn’t know already, except perhaps the tremendous adoption rate of the iPlayer. I was pretty impressed with when I heard the figures.

Any government agency would kill for these sorts of participation rates.

8:21 AM Permalink