Posts in Category "Uncategorized"

December 1, 2014

What’s Next in Digital Communications for Government?

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So what’s next for digital communications in government? First and foremost is tools. Digital cross-channel tools are increasingly important to government communicators because with them they can effectively leverage their voice in today’s crowded communications marketplace. Not surprisingly, the most widely used tools are 1) websites, followed closely by 2) press releases, a conventional, but still necessary way of making announcements for many agencies. Rounding out the top five are 3) social networks, 4) web analytics and 5) email marketing coming in last.

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The reality of contemporary communications is that citizens expect to have digital experiences that work anytime and anywhere, personalized to their specific needs. Digital government strategies have begun to heed this reality through the increased use of mobile and a multiple-platform presence. This raises citizens’ expectations for digital government and drives further prevalence for these digital tools across many government departments and agencies.

The last section of this survey demonstrates that there is clearly some room for improvement. While websites, press releases and email have all been mainstays of digital communication since the late 1990’s, new communications tools leverage those channels in a much more effective way. Effective use of websites today means personalized content throughout consumer interaction with digital government, including e-forms and highly targeted email outreach. Only 19% currently use website personalization, despite the fact that 53% rate personalization and targeting as important or very important.”

The same shortcomings are reflected in communicators’ attitudes toward mobile technology. While we know from other reports 80% of people’s time is spent in mobile apps, only 31% of those surveyed currently use mobile apps to reach citizens, and just 42% currently have a mobile-optimized website. These results mirror government communicators’ web content management decisions—while 95% of communicators believe that content management is important or very important, less than half think they are effectively utilizing their content management systems.

These content management trends are visible in commercial companies as well. Many companies, including Adobe, have dramatically transformed their content strategies in recent years to keep pace with the changing digital communications landscape. The impact of updating digital tools is about more than just increasing revenue; for government it’s about increasing employee efficiency, saving time and taxpayer money and giving citizens the best possible digital government experience.

For more information on the survey findings, or to learn how Adobe can help your office, contact our team today.

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November 16, 2014

Government Communicators: What Keeps you up at Night?

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In last week’s blog we discussed the results of our 2014 Government Communicators Survey, in particular the dramatic shifts occuring in the world of government communicators alongside similar trends in the commercial space. Another interesting angle explored in the survey is what concerns may be keeping communicators up at night. Some of our most interesting findings were around their abilities to measure performance and engage their target audiences.

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This infographic highlights our finding that only 44% of non-managers and 66% of managers feel that their communications are reaching and engaging their target audiences. Neither group is overwhelmingly certain, but it begs the question: “who is right?”

In further discussions, we found that some of the disconnect comes from the definition of “engagement.” Engagement is not exposure, but rather the measurement of a constituent’s interaction with your agency’s key message. Engagement is different for each agency and goes beyond a single tactic to focus on overall customer experience across channels. Government communicators need to be able to answer the following questions:

  • Do constituents come to your website?
  • Did they find and fill out the right form?
  • Was it a good experience?
  • Will they come back?

After a positive experience, the next step in engagement is to have your constituents amplify your mission by sharing it with others, such as through their social media channels.

 

But why should government communicators care about being able to measure how much they are engaging with, and not just reaching, their desired audience?

 

The answer is simple: it is going to save money and it will alleviate other concerns. Engagement requires being where people want you to be—on mobile, social and web. And conveniently, in today’s mobile age, those channels are less expensive and far more accessible to people than your traditional interactions through phone banks and in-person conversation.

 

Metrics give you focus and tell you if you are helping to accomplish your agency’s mission. These cannot just be any metrics, but specific insights into how people are interacting across multiple channels. Government communicators need to look beyond email open rates, Twitter followers and web analytics, striving to analyze metrics against your agency’s objectives at a macro level. Having the tools and knowing what constitutes meaningful engagement to your agency can reap valuable benefits. Your team can focus on what is effective, validate impacts against the mission and, eventually, reduce those other concerns that keep you up at night.

 

Be sure to read the next post in this series discussing what the upcoming challenges are for government communicators entitled, “What’s Next in Government Communications?”

 

For more information on the survey findings, or to learn how Adobe can help your office, contact our team today.

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November 7, 2014

The Current Communications Landscape for Government Communicators

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Adobe recently conducted the 2014 Government Communicators Survey with our partners, the National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC) and FedInsider. We surveyed communicators across various government departments and agencies and asked them about the future of digital communications so as to better understand whether government communicators are noticing the same landscape shifts that their marketing counterparts are seeing in the commercial world.

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Our results clearly show that the answer is yes. As illustrated in this first infographic of our three-part series, government communicators are noticing tremendous change that is causing uncertainty. Unsurprisingly, digital cross-channel communications are becoming increasingly important to government communicators. This trend applies not only to those in the public affairs world, but also to agency leadership that is concerned about both message content and how it is being broadcast to citizens.

The results of the 2014 Government Communicators Survey closely mirror a similar survey we conducted in the commercial market to understand how marketers are seeing things change. The two most striking similarities are:

  • When asked whether methods of communication have changed more in the last 2 years than in the last 50 years,76% of commercial respondents agreed, along with 80% of government respondents.
  • Of the commercial marketers surveyed, 61% of respondents said that their digital marketing approaches are in a constant cycle of trial and error. In a similar question, 50% of government communications managers said that they feel the same.

What else do you think is changing in digital communications? If you’re interested, view the results of the commercially-focused Digital Distress survey.

Be sure to read the next post in this series of blogs discussing the challenges for government communicators entitled, “What Keeps the Government Communicator up at Night.”

For more information on the survey findings, or to learn how Adobe can help your office, contact our team today.

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2014 Government Communicators Survey Finds Need for Government to Improve Digital Communications

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Government departments and agencies face a unique set of challenges in keeping up with cutting edge communications technologies while adhering to strict budget parameters. A recent study conducted by Adobe  offers insight into the current state of digital communications in federal (civilian and military) and state government departments and agencies. The results show that government communicators feel they’ve fallen behind their counterparts in the private sector in terms of digital tools for content creation, cross-platform optimization and project management and evaluation. Although government communicators widely rate digital media tools as extremely important for doing their jobs, two-thirds feel that they do not currently have the tools they need to be effective.

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There are government departments and agencies that have already implemented advanced digital media tools with great success. The Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC), part of U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) uses Adobe’s Creative Cloud as an integral part of their high-end collaborative media production pipeline. In particular, the Virtual Studio, which facilitates global collaboration between designers, web developers, video editors and post-production personnel from government and contractor agencies has resulted in significant cost savings and improved efficiency.

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But military personnel want more. Only 38% said that digital communications are currently very important to their department, while 65% agreed that digital communications should be very important. The military has fallen behind the federal government in this capacity, with only 47% of military communicators spending more than half of their outreach efforts on online and digital communication activities, compared to 71% of federal government employees.

Content Creation and Managment

Deloitte’s 2013 “Gov on the go”  highlighted the dramatic gap between government and private sector productivity, and the potential for implementation of cross-platform accessibility to help government agencies make up that lost ground. In fact, just a 10% increase in mobile effectiveness for federal government personnel would lead to an increase in productivity worth $2.7 billion annually.

The 2014 Government Communicators Survey echoes these results and demonstrates that military, federal, civilian and local government employees are eager to implement mobile technologies. Although only 31% currently use mobile apps, 97% say that it is important or very important to reach citizens and colleagues through mobile content. Similarly, 83% said it was important or very important to stay current in social media channels, while only 13% feel that their department is doing a very good job using social media platforms.

Importance of Digital copy

Another current setback to government efficiency is a lack of accurate means for evaluating effectiveness of communications efforts. Although 84% of government communicators feel that the value of their work can be measured, 54% are unsure about the effectiveness of their work. Without tools for identifying successful strategies, only 6% of government communicators strongly agree that their agency or department is effectively reaching its target audience, potentially resulting in a huge amount of wasted time and money.

In the coming weeks a series of blogs will look more closely at the results of this study and discuss the challenges government communicators face in today’s communications environment.

For more information on the survey findings, or to learn how Adobe can help your office, contact our team today.

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September 30, 2014

Does Creativity Drive Success In Government?

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Across Government IT leadership these days, the high-level focus has definitively shifted to address the three new basic commodities of the Information Age: Mobile, Social and Cloud. The explosive growth of connected citizens, social networking, mobile web browsing and cloud storage availability has challenged Government agencies to fundamentally redefine and re-architect services that were previously unimaginable or even nonexistent.

The Federal Government, once belabored and disrupted by this past decade’s major innovations, is now making concerted efforts to establish standards for bringing its digital services in line with the best private sector services, with its establishment of the U.S. Digital Service. In their excellent Playbook for building successful digital services in Government, the USDS stringently emphasizes the need for agencies to consider the End User as the central element of any service, and to understand that “the needs of people — not constraints of government structures or silos — should drive technical and design decisions.”

In other words: since the major innovations of the last decade — Mobile, Social and Cloud — will be the commodities of the next decade, the new frontier for Government agencies is Experience.

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In the private sector, we see disruptive technologies succeeding via a design-led experience. Startups like Über, Nest, AirBnB and Pinterest provide just a few examples of how a well-designed, user-centric experience not only add value to services — it becomes the *primary* value.

Graphic designers, imaging specialists, layout artists and multimedia personnel — once considered ancillary to the process of architecting services — have increasingly gained value as strategic decision makers, facing the front lines where user expectations and business requirements meet to determine the ultimate citizen experience.

Accordingly, Government leadership can foster successful citizen experience by adhering to another best practice from the private sector: fostering employee creativity.

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For years, business leaders have focused on things like employee productivity, process efficiency and workforce planning as the key success drivers for their companies. But over the past few years, the mindset has shifted. Leading companies recognize the importance of another key success driver – the need to infuse creativity into all aspects of business – from strategy and culture, to innovation and customer engagement.

Adobe and Forrester recently conducted a study that found that creative companies – those that encourage creative perspective, practices, and culture – outperform in both revenue growth and market share. 58% of respondents from creative companies said their revenues have strong growth (10%+ year-over-year), vs. only 20% of less-creative firms. And creative companies are 50% more likely to report a commanding market leadership position over competitors.

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For more information on the results of this study, and its impact for creating exceptional citizen experiences, check out this blog post from David Wadhwani, Adobe’s Senior Vice President of Digital Media, as well as this infographic.

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Adobe will also be highlighting this study at the Adobe MAX Conference this coming October 6-8 in Los Angeles, CA. If you’re a Government employee or contractor, and you’re attending Adobe MAX this year, please join us for the Digital Government Reception on Sunday October 5th! See you there!

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August 18, 2014

Building a Creative Framework for the U.S. Navy

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Government organizations such as the U.S. Navy know that they need to keep pace with the private sector when it comes to technology. So, when the U.S. Navy needed a new creative framework for digital media, digital agency Left of Creative guided the military branch toward Adobe Creative Cloud.

First, Left of Creative recommended the U.S. Navy establish a collaborative creative workflow that would enable individuals across the country and around the world to work together. With server and storage requirements from technology partner Splice Media, the U.S. Navy brought Creative Cloud into its highly secure environment. With Left of Creative, the U.S. Navy is now elevating its standards for media quality, delivery, and security across platforms and devices.

“I’ve been a big advocate of making sure the government strives to innovate like other media producers,” says David Bellino, founder and CEO, Left of Creative. “Investing in technology such as Adobe Creative Cloud makes connecting teams inside and outside the government a very easy process. Plus, it meets the Navy’s IT and creative needs.”

For more information, please see the detailed Customer Success Story (PDF) and a video profile of this story on Adobe’s Government Customer Showcase.

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October 28, 2013

Creative Cloud for Government: Winter 2014

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If you haven’t been following the buzz around the Adobe Creative Cloud, we recently announced our 1.4 million paid subscriber mark, with Enterprise adoption accelerating rapidly. Our customers are overwhelmingly choosing subscriptions instead of perpetual model licenses, and we’ve seen very strong adoption across Government segments.

Defense, Civilian, State and Local IT procurement specialists are looking to Adobe’s ETLA (Enterprise Term License Agreement) model to keep initial costs down, shift licensing costs into the Operations/Management budget, and realize the value of Adobe’s ongoing innovations in multiscreen design and development.

One such innovation involves a new technology called “Perspective Warp” wrapped into Photoshop CC. With this integration, digital imaging professionals can easily change the perspective of images, whether they are manipulating perspective of one image or compositing multiple images together. Here’s a video tutorial on this long-awaited breakthrough feature.

If you’re looking for Government success stories around rapid adoption of new creative technologies, be sure to register for our free Adobe Digital Government Assembly on February 6th, 2014 at The Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City. Come hear from technology leaders, senior agency officials and industry pioneers as they discuss three core themes that will serve as the foundation for government agencies moving forward: engage, transform and drive results.

One of the technical challenges many agencies face involve the rapidity of CC updates currently shipping, and keeping desktops up-to-date. Also, in many government IT environments, end users of Adobe desktop software are constrained to a thin layer of bandwidth, and users are not administrators. Many clients are completely disconnected from external networks, and if they do have connectivity, their internet access outside the firewall will be closely monitored, constrained or proxied.

For Government IT and procurement personnel seeking a comprehensive overview of Creative Cloud offerings for Government, including technical deployment tips,  we offer this new video and its associated slides. In the video, we discuss the specific policies around deployment that IT Directors will need to address from behind their network constraints. We also address how the rolling updates to our desktop products will help support your mission of keeping your networks secure, stable and uniform, and how to deploy those updates securely and efficiently behind your firewall.

 

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September 4, 2013

Best Practices for Virtual Conferences

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Today, more and more agencies are looking to migrate in person events online.  These range from one-hour events to those spanning multiple days.  Many agencies have already succeeded in transitioning events online.  In fact, both NASA and the U.S. Naval Safety & Environmental Training Center have made great strides in this area and found success in doing so.

Leveraging an online collaboration tool like Adobe Connect can make this transition smooth and successful.

  1. Adobe Connect meeting rooms are persistent.  This allows meeting hosts and presenters to prepare poll questions, load presentations and more well in advance of the go-live date.  This same room can be used for any necessary dry run session(s) to ensure everyone is comfortable with the flow and material well in advance.
  2. Adobe Connect layouts allow for a smooth transition of content throughout the live, online event whether you have a single speaker or multiple.   In fact, creating a layout for every agenda topic and transition point is a great best practice.  This reduces the need to quickly bring up and arrange a new PPT deck on the screen or draft a new poll question on the fly.  Everything is arranged well in advance and the host can smoothly transition from the welcome lobby, to the introduction PPT, to poll questions, etc.
  3. The Adobe Connect Presenter Only Area is essential during large, online events for host and presenters to communicate and prepare material backstage (without impacting the live stage seen by all participants).

Please checkout the Adobe Connect Blog and Virtual Conference landing page for additional best practices and insight on how to migrate your next in person event online successfully.

 

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May 17, 2013

Adobe Connect powered by Bell Canada

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Bell Canada’s Private Cloud
Powers Adobe Connect

- outside of the reach of the US Patriot Act

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I spent a few days working in the Bell Canada’s Private Cloud infrastructure, (Infrastructure as a Service from Bell Canada), setting up virtual machines, networks and firewalls. I setup the environment after meeting with some Canadian Government agencies where I quickly learned how important it would be to Adobe Connect available in the private cloud – all in Canada.

Now, the Canadian government will be able to test out this Adobe Connect deployment that is “all in Canada”. I’m pretty sure other governments around the world (and some individuals) will also be very interested in this new deployment option.

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May 8, 2013

Creative Cloud for Government: FAQs and Resources

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This week, Adobe made some exciting and industry-changing announcements at the MAX 2013 Conference in Los Angeles. Here is Adobe’s letter addressed to our Creative users across all markets and disciplines about these changes, and below is a quick recap of the key announcements:

1) Major Updates to the Creative Cloud: Adobe announced a significant update to Adobe Creative Cloud, our flagship offering for creatives. Available in June and packed with new features, Creative Cloud reimagines the creative process through a stunning set of “CC” desktop applications and sophisticated cross-device collaboration and publishing capabilities.  See the full press release here.

2) Accelerating our Shift to the Cloud: Adobe has seen enormous industry-wide adoption of its Creative Cloud solution, and we have decided to focus our creative software development efforts on that platform moving forward.  While Adobe Creative Suite® 6 products will continue to be supported and available for purchase, the company has no plans for future releases of Creative Suite or other CS products. Focusing development on Creative Cloud will not only accelerate the rate at which Adobe can innovate but also broaden the type of innovation the company can offer the creative community. See the full press release here.

Also released was a comprehensive description of Adobe’s Creative Cloud for Enterprise offering, as well as an Enterprise FAQ and a short, succinct Government FAQ section.

Adobe MAX Recap for Government

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For our Government customers at MAX, the Adobe Gov team hosted a Reception (pictured above) and several lecture sessions, some of which will be available shortly on the MAX website for preview. In the meantime, make sure to catch up on the Key Announcements on video replay, take a look at some of the interesting Technology Sneak Peeks presented, have a look at my photo gallery, and check out this short explainer video about the Creative Cloud vision:

Adobe Government Webinars Coming Soon

Adobe Government also has a short series of webinars planned in upcoming weeks that will address the Creative Cloud vision, value, top features and integration points specific to our Gov customers, as well as new licensing, procurement, IT security and deployment considerations specifically for Public Sector personnel. Please stay tuned to this blog for dates, times and details.

 

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