Posts tagged "Alec Chalmers"

September 6, 2011

Thoughts on FedScoop’s Lowering the Cost of Government IT Summit

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Last week I had the opportunity to hear Linda Cureton (@curetonl), NASA CIO, at FedScoop’s 3rd Annual Lowering the Cost of Government with IT Summit in Washington DC, an event at which I also spoke (see the brief video we shot below). Linda was the first speaker of the morning and her presentation really resonated with me and the way we at Adobe are trying to help agencies lower the cost of government. She grabbed my attention early on, admittedly after a tough morning at the house, with her admonition “don’t eat your young”.  She made many other great points such as: Don’t be penny-wise and pound foolish; and Measure twice, cut once. However, it was her “don’t eat your young” statement that I want to concentrate on for this post.     

Linda made the point to urge her peers to view innovation as critical for survival. I couldn’t agree more during these times of budget cuts, budget deficits, and the necessity of having to do more with less. As IT leaders, this is the time to innovate. History teaches us that we have always come out of crisis periods stronger and this will be no different.  As government IT leaders, we’ve got to change our way of thinking and Linda drove this point home for me and the audience. Innovation comes from every part of the organization, young, old or just plain-old middle aged like me. As Linda noted, we must encourage new money-saving ideas to continue to provide the services our citizens need.

There’s been much written as of late regarding the consumerization of IT, especially in regards to consolidation and virtualization of our data centers and infrastructures. As Linda noted in her presentation, the low-hanging fruit has been picked. I agree. Government agencies I speak to regularly have all standardized on commodity technologies like virtualization, storage, and networking. We’ve got to move up the stack now and focus on the application layer and how we can consumerize that and make it easier for citizens to engage with their governments on their terms (in person, on the phone, or online) and device (PC, Mac, tablet, mobile). If you’re a government IT leader and you’re looking for ways to save money, look no further. Driving citizen interactions online and off of the phone or a piece of paper will save you money. However, it does take thought and measurement.

That’s what we’re focused on at Adobe, trying to help government agencies move more and more of their interactions online. To drive that online adoption you’ve got to simplify and make that online experience engaging and intuitive. If it’s too hard to figure out online, I know what I personally do. I either skip to another site (not an option for citizens) or I hop on the phone (an expensive option for agencies). At Adobe, we help governments create rich online content with the world’s best digital editing tools. We help move this content online and streamline business processes with best of breed enterprise solutions like the Adobe Digital Enterprise Platform, which helps you leverage the current investments you’ve made in ERP and document management systems. After you’ve moved content and business processes online you need to ensure people like me aren’t abandoning your site because it’s too hard or complicated. We help ensure that doesn’t happen with our Online Marketing Suite. As Linda might say we help you measure twice and cut once, be penny wise, and also help keep your young safe and sound…

3:58 PM Permalink
June 23, 2011

Another Look: Video with Adobe Director on Citizen Experience and Government

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With Monday’s Adobe Digital Enterprise Platform and Customer Experience Solutions announcement and our related video interview with Adobe’s Rob Pinkerton in mind, we thought it timely to share another look at a recent, relevant conversation from our blog.

Last fall, we interviewed Adobe’s Steven Webster, senior director of Technology and Experience Innovation, to get his perspective on customer/citizen experience and Government. Take a look at the three-part interview below for Steven’s insights on the topic.

And if you haven’t, you might also be interested to check out two recent posts from our Alec Chalmers discussing customer and citizen experience (here and here).

As always, we’re interested in your thoughts and perspective. Let us know in comments or on Twitter @AdobeGov. And you can reach Steven on Twitter @swebsteratadobe.

In the meantime, enjoy a look back at this conversation:

12:04 AM Permalink
June 16, 2011

Citizen Experience – From Concept to Practice

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In my last post I discussed the concept of customer or citizen experience in government and focusing on how we as citizens want to engage with our government on our terms, and on the device we’re currently heads down on (unless, of course, we’re driving!). So where do you begin if you’re a government employee trying to focus on your “customer”?

While simple, you should begin by focusing on the outside in. Truly focus on that citizen first and not on the sometimes byzantine rules and stove-piped systems you may already have in place. Easier said than done, I know, but it really is how you begin to transform the way your agency deals with its customers, both internal and external.

How many times have you been to a doctor’s office, motor vehicle agency, or applied for a permit and had to write your address down more than one time? How many times have you had to read the manual of instructions on how to fill out the form or wait in line to discuss with someone the process to determine eligibility for a grant, license, or benefit? Compare this to the first time you used a social media application like Facebook or LinkedIn. How hard was that? Was there an instruction manual you had to pore over before you got online and started sharing photos and stories with all those “friends” in your network? Of course not, that’s what makes it so fun (perhaps dangerous in some cases!) but most importantly that’s what keeps people engaged and online, and coming back for more. I’m not sure we’re ever going to make renewing your driver’s license or applying for unemployment benefits “fun” but we can make the process more intuitive and keep more and more people online rather than in a line. That’s where the savings come into play.

Last year 70% of the individual tax returns in the US were filed electronically. Do you know how much money that saved the IRS? Hundreds of millions of dollars according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).  For every electronically filed return the IRS saves $3.10. “In addition to reducing costs, e-filing provides higher accuracy rates, improved convenience, and faster processing and refunds for taxpayers.” To me, that sounds like a great customer (and agency) experience. How is this happening? Most of this electronic filing is taking place with the assistance of great software from Intuit and H&R Block that takes users through a complex (sound familiar?) tax code/business process and breaks it down to a nice and easy interview. They have essentially broken down a tax code that is thousands of pages of not-too-easy-to-read instructions and have made it a breeze (for most) to complete their taxes.

Government agencies are beginning to see this kind of experience is just what they need to do in times of budget reductions. Adobe has helped many government agencies follow this same approach. We look forward to sharing some examples with you as we move forward. In the meantime, let us know if you’d like to talk with us more about it. You can reach me via comments, on Twitter @alec_chalmers, and also connect with the Adobe Gov team on Twitter @AdobeGov.

12:03 AM Permalink
June 9, 2011

A Conversation with Adobe VP of National Government Solutions (Part 3 of 3)

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Our recent conversation with Alec Chalmers, Adobe’s vice president of National Government Solutions, concludes today with the third of a three-part series. Alec is responsible for national state and local governments, and as well as select federal civilian agencies.

Today, Alec discusses:

  • 0:05 – What State & Local governments find most surprising about Adobe
  • 1:05 – How Omniture fits with Adobe’s enterprise offering and government
  • 2:10 – The future of government IT

 

If you haven’t yet, check out the first two parts of our conversation with Alec here and here.

You can keep in touch with Alec on Twitter @alec_chalmers and with the Adobe Gov team @AdobeGov.

12:30 AM Permalink
June 8, 2011

A Conversation with Adobe VP of National Government Solutions (Part 2 of 3)

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Our recent conversation with Alec Chalmers, Adobe’s vice president of National Government Solutions, continues today with the second of a three-part series. Alec is responsible for national state and local governments, as well as select federal civilian agencies.

Today, Alec discusses:

  • 0:05 – Federal and State & Local government IT – similarities and differences
  • 1:05 – Budget and technology challenges for government

If you haven’t yet, check out the first part of our conversation with Alec here. And stay tuned for the third and final part of the discussion Thursday, when we’ll cover:

  • What State & Local governments find most surprising about Adobe
  • How Omniture fits with Adobe’s enterprise offerings and helps support government
  • The future of government IT

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @AdobeGov, where we’ll highlight when the final portion of this conversation is live on the blog. And keep in touch with Alec on Twitter @alec_chalmers.

12:04 AM Permalink
June 7, 2011

A Conversation with Adobe VP of National Government Solutions

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We recently sat down with Alec Chalmers, Adobe’s vice president of National Government Solutions, to gain perspective on his area of expertise in the public sector. Alec’s work includes responsibility for national state and local governments, as well as select federal civilian agencies.

This is the first segment of a three-part interview. Today, Alec discusses:

  • 0:05 – His current role and background
  • 0:40 – A typical day
  • 1:10 – Customer and citizen experience
  • 2:02 – Examples of customer/citizen experience in practice
  • 3:00 – Key trends in public sector IT

In parts two and three, which we’ll post over the next few days, Alec discusses:

  • Similarities and differences between Federal and State & Local government IT
  • Budget and technology challenges for government
  • What State & Local governments find most surprising about Adobe
  • How Omniture fits with Adobe’s enterprise offerings and helps support government
  • The future of government IT

Keep your eyes on our blog for the next two parts of the conversation, and be sure you’re following us on Twitter @AdobeGov where we’ll communicate about it. Also, keep in touch with Alec on Twitter @alec_chalmers.

12:08 AM Permalink
June 2, 2011

The Citizen Customer

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I recently had the opportunity to speak at FedScoop’s Citizen Engagement and OpenGov Summit here in Washington DC (if you haven’t, check out this brief video we shot directly afterward) It was a great event and I followed the GSA’s Director of the Center for Customer Excellence, Sheila Campbell, and her great presentation on customer experience.

“Hold on a second”, I said to myself after Sheila began her remarks. She just used the words “customer” and “experience” together, in the same sentence, at a government-focused event. As you may know, we’ve been talking a lot about Customer Experience Management (CEM) at Adobe. And I’ll admit I’ve been a little skeptical about use of the term “customer” in terms of government (ie, governments don’t have customers, they have citizens). Not so fast! I was now being corrected by Sheila and she wasn’t even 30 seconds into her discussion. I was sitting up straighter in my chair, paying very close attention now, and I was positive Mrs. Gregg, my favorite teacher of all time, would have been very proud of me and amazed at how far I have advanced since the 10th grade.

Luckily I had the opportunity to adapt some of my presentation after Sheila’s and it was good to really talk about CEM from the customer’s point of view. For governments it really doesn’t matter whether you call it Citizen or Customer Experience Management, the important part is that you focus on that experience.

But who really has the budget right now to worry about experience when you have so many other pressing issues in front of you: Budget deficits, do more with less, mission accomplishment, and the list goes on. Oh yeah, and while you’re doing all that ensure your citizens, employees, and soldiers are fully engaged in the process and make sure that “they’ll tell two friends, and so on, and so on.”  Well, here’s what I think: You can and should focus on that citizen and customer experience now more than ever because it truly can ensure you do more with less while delivering on those ever-rising expectations.

Today’s citizens (just like every dot com customer, and really, aren’t they the same person?) have the expectation their experience with their government will be (or should be) similar to the experience they just had where they learned about a cool book online and then purchased it on their smartphone on the way to work. They want to interact with their government on their terms, when they want and need to, and on the devices (desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, TV) to which they have access.

Great, but how does all of this save governments money? Maybe I’m being simple, but if you can educate your citizens on the services they’re entitled to while they’ve stumbled upon your website, then begin them on the path to an eligibility process on a smartphone (all while enabling them to avoid a call center or brick and mortar government office) you’ve saved money in at least a few places right there.

You also just made your process a heck of a lot more efficient while delighting your customer…oops, I meant citizen. ;-)

How can you start down this path? That’ll be for my next post…

12:13 AM 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