Adobe Digital Dialogue

Digital experiences matter in the public sector too

Australia’s long elec­tion cam­paign presents an oppor­tu­ni­ty for the major par­ties to out­line their dig­i­tal strate­gies for cit­i­zen engage­ment.

Dig­i­tal has dis­rupt­ed almost every aspect of our lives and organ­i­sa­tions around the world are under­go­ing the tec­ton­ic shift that is dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion. Gov­ern­ments are not immune. As more of us choose to access infor­ma­tion online, on any device, and wher­ev­er we are, gov­ern­ments need to trans­form their way of deliv­er­ing ser­vices too. But sim­ply putting gov­ern­ment forms and infor­ma­tion online won’t be enough. Gov­ern­ments need to put cit­i­zen expe­ri­ence at the cen­tre of their dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion, mak­ing online inter­ac­tions so com­pelling that peo­ple want to use them.

As Prime Min­is­ter Turn­bull has acknowl­edged, gov­ern­ments can learn from cus­tomer engage­ment in the cor­po­rate sec­tor, and the estab­lish­ment of the Dig­i­tal Trans­for­ma­tion Office is a step in the right direc­tion. For every busi­ness, the rela­tion­ship with the cus­tomer is defined by the cul­mi­na­tion of inter­ac­tions that add up to the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence. We all rec­og­nize a bad expe­ri­ence when we see it; we don’t want to be treat­ed like an anony­mous num­ber, we don’t want to browse an out­dat­ed web­site, we don’t want the PC, mobile and tablet expe­ri­ence to be the same, and we don’t want to be offered a spe­cial on some­thing we just bought. For all of us as cus­tomers, our tol­er­ance for bad expe­ri­ence is low, and our expec­ta­tions are incred­i­bly high. For gov­ern­ments, the chal­lenge is to deliv­er a cit­i­zen expe­ri­ence which mir­rors what peo­ple are used to and expect from the cor­po­rate sec­tor.

In Aus­tralia, parts of the cor­po­rate sec­tor are well advanced in their jour­neys of dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion. The bank­ing and finance sec­tor has been a leader, along with the major telco’s and the media and enter­tain­ment sec­tor. These busi­ness­es under­stand the val­ue of deliv­er­ing amaz­ing cus­tomer expe­ri­ences, and are lever­ag­ing the data they have access to. Deliv­er­ing these com­pelling, per­son­alised expe­ri­ences is pos­si­ble from gov­ern­ment agen­cies too, and cost sav­ings and effi­cien­cies will fol­low.

Lever­ag­ing data will be the key to gov­ern­ments trans­form­ing large depart­ments into nim­ble agen­cies with the abil­i­ty to adjust ser­vices to meet indi­vid­ual needs. This will require gov­ern­ments to move beyond dig­i­ti­za­tion. With access to deep­er cit­i­zen insights, gov­ern­ments will be able to offer tai­lored ser­vices, which can be adjust­ed in real-time depend­ing on a citizen’s needs. Imag­ine the con­ve­nience of pre-filled forms that can be signed and sub­mit­ted from your tablet wher­ev­er you are; if you expe­ri­ence a prob­lem mak­ing a claim, imag­ine per­son­alised assis­tance being offered imme­di­ate­ly; imag­ine proac­tive engage­ment when it’s time for your child’s next vac­ci­na­tion. All of this is pos­si­ble with the right tech­nol­o­gy and strat­e­gy.

Digital Transformation

Dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion will require sig­nif­i­cant changes with­in depart­ments and agen­cies and there will be chal­lenges. There are three key com­po­nents of dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion: peo­ple, process and prod­uct.

When it comes to peo­ple, dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion will require the inter­nal cul­ture of depart­ments and agen­cies to change dra­mat­i­cal­ly. Teams will need to accept and embrace the con­cept of ‘always-on’ ser­vice deliv­ery in a 24/7 world. For exam­ple, instead of devel­op­ing a pub­lic infor­ma­tion cam­paign, deliv­er­ing it and wait­ing to see if it has any impact, dig­i­tal will allow for con­tin­u­al mod­er­a­tion, test­ing and iter­a­tion. Real-time test­ing will pro­vide the abil­i­ty to under­stand dif­fer­ent audi­ences, tar­get con­tent at the cit­i­zen lev­el and see what mes­sages are res­onat­ing. Impor­tant­ly, cam­paigns can be adjust­ed based on hard data, not just gut feel­ing. Lever­ag­ing data and deliv­er­ing ser­vices across devices and plat­forms will require new skillsets. Depart­ments and agen­cies will need peo­ple with data and ana­lyt­ics skills, as well as new media and social media skills.

Chang­ing process­es is key to suc­cess­ful dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion. Depart­ments and agen­cies have access to vast amounts of data and with cit­i­zens able to touch many parts of gov­ern­ment, bring­ing this data togeth­er will be cru­cial. Break­ing down silos and shift­ing to an ‘always-on’ men­tal­i­ty will require new, more stream-lined process­es across gov­ern­ment.

Invest­ing in the most suit­able prod­ucts or tech­nol­o­gy will also be impor­tant and will form the back­bone to trans­for­ma­tion.

As peo­ple become more focused and reliant on dig­i­tal, those depart­ments and agen­cies which embrace dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion and invest in the right tech­nol­o­gy and peo­ple will see the ben­e­fits. Cit­i­zens will be inspired by engag­ing, per­son­alised expe­ri­ences and gov­ern­ments will reap the ben­e­fits of cost sav­ings and effi­cien­cies. I look for­ward to see­ing the dig­i­tal strate­gies of the major par­ties in the lead up to the elec­tion on 2 July.

Digital Government

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