February 26, 2024

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U.S: Adopting a Design-Driven Strategy for Digital Modernisation

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In the U.S. when there are problems with modernising an agency, its leaders send in “triage teams” to make improvements and then leave. But these interventions are often only on the surface and don’t have the support of institutions. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), on the other hand, has built a major digital modernisation effort using the talent and data it already has. It did this by taking a design-led approach.

GSA strives to provide the government and the American people with the best customer experience and value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services. Service, accountability, and innovation are among its values, and its strategic goals are real estate solutions, acquisition, digital government, and government operations.

In 2021, GSA’s Office of Customer Experience set up an internal Enterprise Digital Experience team in response to requests from the Executive Board and Digital Council for a team to catalogue, evaluate, and push customer-centred changes to all of GSA’s digital products.

Using a design-led strategy meant aiming for a team of experts in a few key areas, such as service design, policy, human capital, and engineering, as well as a collaborative mindset. The agency drew from its current talent pool and cross-trained each other by working on projects together, while also attempting to bring in more talented individuals.

This new approach is in line with Priority 1 of the President’s Management Agenda (PMA), which is to “attract, hire, develop, and empower talented people who are well-suited and well-prepared” to face government challenges.

The experts on the GSA team work well together because they respect each other’s skills and use them to improve the digital experience, which is their shared goal. The results give them hope. After less than a year and with a small team, they made a rubric so that the internal web teams could better figure out what their digital assets were worth.

It covers six areas: putting the customer first, accessibility, performance, user behaviour, putting links in place that are required by policy and law, and putting the U.S. web design system into place.

In their first year, they looked at more than a third of GSA’s inventory and told each website team what they learned from 50 different data points. They talked to the teams to help them understand how their site works for customers and how it compares to federal and agency requirements.

This may sound easy, since data is everywhere, especially in an agency like GSA, which oversees a wide range of tasks across the government. But if they take a design-led approach, they can’t just give teams data and suggestions; they must understand the problems teams face in trying to understand and act on data.

So, they wrote short (about 200 words), easy-to-understand narratives in which they explain the data, put it in context, and suggest what should be done. The best part is that the teams they’ve helped have been very grateful and have often acted quickly on their suggestions so they can improve their websites and better serve their real customers.

It’s been hard to build an interdisciplinary team and build on what’s already there. It’s even harder to work on modernisation projects in the federal government. But it is possible if all agencies are understanding and work together. It’s called “design-led,” and every agency can do it.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

PARTNER

Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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