CIOs and the 21st Century IDEA: Empowering Customers with Technology

Technology challenges should not consume a majority of a federal leader’s daily agenda. Even for Chief Information Officers (CIOs). Probably not the sentiment you expected in a blog directed at CIOs about the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (IDEA), but hear me out.

The agency’s ultimate value and service provided to customers should be the primary focus of all leaders in an organization. Technology is a means to achieve that end.

CIOs may already be familiar with public affairs or outreach offices, program divisions, and other offices in support of discrete facets of the mission. The 21st Century IDEA calls for even closer collaboration and partnership to integrate customer experience among internal and external partners.

Technology and mission delivery teams can agree on several tenets:

  • Digital platforms must be accessible and easy to navigate for citizens and customers of every ability.
  • Customer experience should be optimized no matter the agency of office they engage, through whichever technology or platform they choose.
  • Systems must be secure.

Mission delivery is a team effort

To align customer expectations and agency mission objectives, CIOs must engage colleagues within their department or agency and, as appropriate, across the government to achieve greater efficiencies and a common experience for users. This depth of engagement for digital strategy is a significant undertaking, and one that CIOs needn’t face alone. 

U.Group sits at this intersection of technology and experience, with decades of expertise and past performance creating powerful platforms that deliver essential digital services. Our team brings together diverse stakeholders and requirements to shape a unified digital strategy built on a deep understanding of user needs, technical and experiential delivery, as well as stakeholder engagement and reporting.       

As the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s former Director of Web Communication, I regularly collaborated with the Office of the Chief Information Officer for similar efforts including the Open Data Initiative and Digital Strategy.

U.Group is partnering with the National Archives (NARA) to modernize and streamline a vast digital platform—including migrating several entities to Drupal 8, and deploying a consistent Google Tag Manager implementation to better understand website performance and user behavior across the agency. Through more modern and consistent digital strategy, NARA is creating valuable customer experiences that bring our nation’s treasured historic records to audiences around the world.

Optimizing user experiences is an ongoing process

The 21st Century IDEA requires agencies to continually evaluate, enhance, and report on digital service strategy for optimal customer experience. Qualitative and quantitative insights provide important context as both technology and mission programs evolve, especially to identify areas for optimization and where knowledge or service delivery gaps may exist. Data tells one side of the story, though contextual insights from customer-facing teams—especially public affairs or program delivery—ensure that strategic decisions are directly connected with customer needs that may not be seen in a dashboard or spreadsheet.

Adopting a 21st Century IDEA mindset requires a permanent shift in digital strategy approach, coupled with change management and capacity building efforts to better partner with internal and external customer experience stakeholders. 

At U.Group, we’re excited by the challenge of balancing advanced technology with the human element for strategies that empower your teams to focus on the work that only they can do.

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