Posts in Category "Open Government"

September 20, 2011

Practice What You Preach: Optimizing Experiences for Your Internal Customers

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“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening my axe.”
– Abraham Lincoln

A profound quote, but what does it have to do with Customer Experience Management (CEM)? More than you may think.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with government agencies and commercial enterprises around the world that have leveraged Adobe solutions to optimize their customers’ experiences and build “brand” loyalty. From helping their citizens foster online communities and validate program objectives with our Social Brand Engagement solutions, to simplifying complex eligibility determinations with our Selection & Enrollment solutions; these organizations all share a common goal – to provide consumers with engaging digital interactions that deliver measurable results.

But how much more efficiently would an enterprise operate if it also deployed similar solutions internally to optimize experiences for their own employees? After all, don’t we all serve internal customers in our organizations, regardless of our roles? How much more effective will an agency become as it sharpens its tools by replacing cumbersome paper-based processes with streamlined electronic workflows?
As Director of the Data Services Division at Oklahoma’s Department of Human Services (OKDHS), James Randell posed those questions to his agency, and then he set out to find the answers. He led the deployment of Adobe’s suite of digital enterprise solutions at OKDHS, his state’s largest agency with over 7,200 employees and 4,000 contractors that span 77 counties. As James put it, the agency was suffering from a “Form-demic,” with almost 1100 unique paper forms that offered low accountability, fragmented tracking, and minimal security throughout the routing process.
At this year’s annual conference of IT Solutions Management for Human Services (ISM 2011 ) in Austin, Texas, James presented his experiences and shared best practices during a popular session “Advancements in Electronic Forms Technology,” which highlighted his implementation of Adobe Enterprise Solutions for a packed audience of executives from HHS agencies throughout the US.

Afterward, I spoke briefly with James and asked him to expound on the project’s impact on OKDHS, and its resulting effects on operational efficiencies.

Among the improvements that he noted were quicker response times to bottlenecks and greater transparency. These changes also empowered case managers to effortlessly identify the current status of pending cases.

6:57 PM Permalink
September 8, 2011

Open Standards and the Future of Public Sector ICT – Latest in Series of UK Gov Webinars

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As we’ve posted about several times in the recent past (including here and here), the Adobe Gov UK team has been holding a series of webinars focused on the public sector.

The importance of open standards to the future of public sector ICT was the latest topic, for an event that took place on August 31. The event covered whether open standards finally allow the public sector to join up service delivery, what standards are key, and how will they be decided.

The panel included:

  • Bill McCluggage, Deputy Government CIO and Director of ICT Strategy & Policy at the Cabinet Office
  • Mark Brett, Policy & Programme Manager at Socitm
  • Marc Straat, Adobe’s European Head of Standards
  • Helen Olsen, Managing Editor, UKauthorITy and IT in Use magazine

An on-demand version of the webinar is now available here; we encourage you to check it out. And to participate in future webinars in the series see the ITU Live registration site here.

As always, keep in touch with the AdobeGov team on Twitter @AdobeGov.

2:41 AM Permalink
July 14, 2011

Customer Experience Management (CEM) for Health & Human Service agencies. What’s in it for me?!

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Obviously the answer to that question will vary greatly depending on who asks, and his stake in delivering (or experiencing) an engaging interaction.

CEM for the enterprise is typically associated with substantial benefits, like brand loyalty and competitive differentiation, but those may initially seem like non-issues for so-called entitlement programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, and others. That’s because, unlike in the competitive private sector, consumers of these programs often don’t have the benefit of choice.

Many would argue, however, that CEM offers a matrix of far-reaching benefits to any enterprise, some of which aren’t always immediately obvious. Customer communications is a perfect example. Consider the Explanation of Benefits (EOB) form that is sent to millions of Medicaid members in any given month.

Recently, at the 2011 State Health IT Connect Summit, I presented an interactive electronic version of that familiar EOB statement as part of a Health Insurance Exchange demo. By leveraging components of the new Adobe Digital Enterprise Platform (ADEP), recipients of this interactive EOB would be able to intuitively communicate back with its sender from within the document, while maintaining privacy and security of health data.

Now, consider the added convenience for diverse populations where multi-lingual content and responses may be automatically translated by backend processes as the correspondence is exchanged. Customer experience is improved even further as members may effortlessly dispute the accuracy of a claim displayed in that EOB, again from directly within the document.

For the enterprise that sent the EOB, this presents an opportunity to realize significant savings. Overcharges and potentially fraudulent claims that may have otherwise slipped through the cracks may now be identified and investigated, simply by making it easier for members to participate in the process. There are countless other examples of ways that HHS agencies may optimize efficiencies and generate measurable ROI by deploying solutions that strive first to better serve their members.

More often than not, a win-win scenario emerges for everyone as innovative executives are learning that the byproducts of optimal customer experiences include measurable impacts to the bottom line for organizations of all types, in both private and public sectors.

What are your thoughts on this trending hot topic? Let us know in comments and on Twitter @AdobeGov and @AdobeCEM.

5:35 PM Permalink
May 20, 2011

Video: FedScoop’s Citizen Engagement and Open Gov Summit

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We were excited to sponsor and speak at last week’s FedScoop Citizen Engagement and Open Gov Summit at the Newseum in Washington, DC. The event brought together leading federal government and industry experts to discuss the state of open government and solutions to better engage citizens.

There was a lot of great discussion, including the morning keynote from Dave McClure (@drdavemcc), Associate Administrator, Office of Citizen Services & Innovative Technologies at GSA, and closing keynote from Chris Vein, US Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Government Innovation, Office of Science and Technology, Executive Office of the President (and, in his previous role with the City and County of San Francisco, the featured speaker at last year’s sf.govfresh event).

Our own Alec Chalmers, vice president of National Government Solutions, also spoke. Alec’s talk was titled “Citizen Experience at the Heart of Agency Missions”. We had a chance to catch a few minutes with Alec directly after the event. Check out the following video for Alec’s take on the event, some of the other speakers and what he covered in his speech.

If you were at the FedScoop event or watched some of the presentations online, let us know your thoughts in comments or on Twitter @AdobeGov.

12:37 AM Permalink
April 28, 2011

Adobe Government U.K.: New webinar on Delivering and Designing Intuitive Online Services

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How can we address digital exclusion and encourage the mass channel shift to low cost online service delivery that we all need?

Digital Champion, Martha Lane Fox, is calling for ‘e’ Revolution not Evolution with online becoming “the first point of contact” for public services. And the new Government ICT strategy states that the government “will work to make citizen-focused transactional services ‘digital by default’ where appropriate” – but enable a network of ‘assisted digital’ service providers for those who are unable to access this brave new world.

There is, however, much work to do in understanding the user’s needs and experience of online public services with the goal of making them simple and accessible to all.

On the panel:

  • Graham Walker, Government Director for UK Digital Champion (Martha Lane Fox)
  • Dr Lorna Peters, Connect Digitally, Department for Education and Hertfordshire
  • Gilles Polin, Adobe’s European Head of Government Solutions
  • Helen Olsen, Managing Editor, UKauthorITy and ITU magazine

An on demand version of the webcast is available from this link.

12:03 AM Permalink
April 25, 2011

With Liberty and Healthcare for All

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Chances are you’ve had at least one or two (or twenty) conversations about Health Reform in the past year.  In my experience, regardless of political affiliation, most people find common ground and agree that the traditional US healthcare system has presented multiple opportunities for improvement, to say the least.  Among daunting issues, including inefficiencies and fraud, one of the most recurring challenges highlighted has been the lack of access to affordable health insurance for many citizens.

Deemed by many as “the great compromise,” Health Insurance Exchanges are central mechanisms created by the Health Reform legislation to help individuals and small businesses purchase health insurance – for up to 32 million newly covered members.

Beginning in 2014, a Health Insurance Exchange (HIX), also called Health Benefit Exchange (HBE), will be established in each US state and territory as an online marketplace to help consumers make valid comparisons between plans that are certified to have met benchmarks for quality and affordability.  The states will manage the exchanges; and the plans offered through these exchanges will be provided by commercial payers, competing for all these new customers who don’t qualify for Medicaid.

Recently, I was invited by the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) to their annual policy conference in Washington, DC to speak on the topic “Surveying the State of the Art in Health and Human Services Technology Systems.”   APHSA is a bipartisan organization representing appointed state health and human service agency commissioners from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the US territories. Their members probably know better than anyone the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead as the states prepare to implement their exchanges throughout the country.

Since Adobe has invested considerable resources in the development of an innovative user-centric solution, I was prepared to share the following top 5 key elements to implementing a successful HIX/HBE as I see it.

1. An engaging, personalized, and secure experience for each of the primary HIX/HBE stakeholders (applicant, state administrator, payer) – regardless of platform or device

2. Ease in handling of eligibility and enrollment in the Exchange as well as premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions for benefits and services

3. Agile HIX management to easily adapt content or implement policy changes that affect rules, and analytics to measure effectiveness

4. Seamless interoperability with existing federal (HHS, IRS, DHS) and state-based (Medicaid, CHIP, MMIS, etc) programs and systems

5. Prudent measures to help address fraud and streamline payer workflows, even for atypical cases

The audience was engaged as we wrapped up the session with open discussion after a brief overview of Customer Experience Management as a platform, and the critical role it plays in the evolution of our healthcare ecosystem.

As conversations turn into collaboration and the dialogue on Health Reform continues to advance, so too does the collective innovation that will help to deliver on the promise of improved access to health benefits and services for US citizens.

7:51 PM Permalink
February 2, 2011

Health IT in Public vs. Private sectors: Blurring the Line with Consumer Engagement

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As a citizen, I am excited about Open Government initiatives and all the possibilities they offer.  Many government agencies have recently made significant advances toward promoting transparency as well as simplifying access to personalized health information. With initiatives like the Blue Button Challenge at the Department of Veterans Affairs and CMS, federal and state agencies alike have taken the lead in many cases to demonstrate the power of delivering meaningful experiences for the people they serve.

As a private consumer of insurance and other health services, I have multiple options for where I choose to do business. Therefore, I have come to expect that companies will earn my loyalty by offering intuitive and secure ways for me to interact with them and my health data, on my terms, so that I can get on with my life. Organizations like Northwestern Mutual understand that by providing me with consistent experiences regardless of my device or mode of communication, they are also simultaneously reducing their own costs and strengthening their competitive advantages.

However, I’m not the only one taking notice lately that there are valuable lessons to be learned and applied by leveraging successes in health IT between private and public sectors. Last month, I was invited to speak about those opportunities and challenges in a keynote address, along with Dr. Todd Park, Chief Technology Officer at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). We presented our perspectives from private industry as well as government, respectively, at the Board of Directors Meeting for the Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH).

PBGH, the nation’s leading non-profit business coalition focused on health care, collaborates with health payers, providers, consumer organizations, and others to improve the quality and affordability of health care. Representatives from the impressive list of PBGH member companies who attended the Board of Directors meeting were interested in providing their stakeholders with meaningful solutions to better manage their health care and make informed health decisions. So they were engaged as we delivered our keynote presentations.

Dr. Todd Park provided insight into a series of innovative health IT initiatives at HHS that he collectively refers to as “Data Liberacion” and he helped the audience appreciate what a world of greater health data utilization might look like. The goal of Data Liberacion is to unlock the value of repositories of health data and then to make it available to citizens throughout the new emerging healthcare ecosystem.

In turn, I highlighted the importance of knowledge dissemination for effectively leveraging technology solutions across the private and public sectors to securely present health data in a useable context. We all agree that at the end of the day it’s the consistent consumer experience, and the associated business results, that will continue to drive demand for the next generation of health data solutions.

2:32 PM Permalink
November 12, 2010

A Better Approach to Sharing?

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If you are responsible in any way for sharing information, whether within government or to the public, appropriately classifying information is always a challenge. There’s a full spectrum of possibilities between full, open disclosure and compartmentalized “need to know”. Especially post 9/11, most US agencies have worked hard to establish guidelines and best practices to allow access to the right information to the right people at the right time. To that end, many agencies have created what in the private sector would be called, proprietary classification schemes. Like any proprietary approach, it works very well within a certain scope, but, it breaks down quickly when confronted with a similar, but, alternative approach. The consequences of such a breakdown can vary from something as simple as an embarrassing situation to a life-threatening scenario.

So, as of November 11th, an Executive Order was signed named “Controlled Unclassified Information” (CUI) that is focused on solving this dilemma across the entire federal government. Assigned by the President, NARA will act as the Executive Agent for this Order, driving a process intended to rationalize the various approaches already in place across the agencies.

Standardization, what a good thing! Not only does this Executive Order pave the wave for a common taxonomy that can be explained, understood, used and defended by everyone, it also sets the stage for the ability to apply automation. As digital information has become the norm, replacing paper as the means to create, store and share, the need for better control mechanisms has never been greater. We see evidence of this in the news all the time. Leaks, whether intentional or not, have become more pervasive. However, without a standard approach to classifying information, leveraging technology to help mitigate the risks has been a challenge.

Imagine if you will, the ability to integrate enforceable, digital policies directly into information in a standard fashion that would be recognized government wide. Such policies would give the government the ability to dynamically control who can see information, how long the information is visible, what people can do with it, etc. Wouldn’t it be useful to have policies automatically assigned to documents to minimize the risks of information traveling to the wrong places?

I am quite encouraged to see policy standards such as CUI come about. What are your thoughts?

To learn about technology from Adobe to help, please take a moment and visit this link.

5:14 PM Permalink
November 10, 2010

Digital Signatures Made Easy

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Perhaps you are aware of the National eID cards that have been issued to the majority of Belgium’s 10 million citizens. With the genesis of the idea going back to 2001, citizen’s have been using their eID cards to help with tax filings, job searches, social services, permits, licenses and other government provided services.

More recently, the Flemish E-Government and ICT-Management Unit launched the digital signature platform of Flanders. Leveraging the existing eID infrastructure, users of the platform now have the ability to easily apply digital signatures to PDF documents. By simply sending an e-mail with a document attached (most common formats are accepted), the platform converts it and returns to the user a ready-to-sign PDF document.

It doesn’t get much easier than that! Yet another great example of eGovernment at work! To find out more, click here.

8:21 PM Permalink
November 8, 2010

Adobe Government Assembly 2010: Better Citizen Engagement

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The 2nd Adobe Government Assembly was held last week in Washington D.C. Over 500 attendees gathered to discuss innovative ways to engage with citizens more efficiently. The major topics of discussion centered on improving engagement on the web, across mobile devices, using the cloud, and using social media.

Blue Ribbon Panel: Rob Pinkerton, Tom Davis, Gwynne Kostin, Craig Kaucher, and Alan Cohn

Blue Ribbon Panel: Rob Pinkerton, Tom Davis, Gwynne Kostin, Craig Kaucher, and Alan Cohn

One recurring theme in both the keynote and the Blue Ribbon Panel was about the future of engagement as citizens shift how they access the Internet. In particular, this means preparing to engage constituents across multiple screens. In the opening keynote Shantanu Narayen, Adobe’s CEO, discussed technology trends that will affect Internet access in the future.

2:50 PM Permalink