Written by Dave Nikzeber
General Services Administration leaders are discussing how best to assign multidisciplinary teams to support the agencies’ most critical general services, according to chief client officer Edward Walters.
GSA formed the Enterprise Digital Experience Team Initially consisting of multiple small details, but now a full-time unit reporting to Walters – as the backbone of a cross-functional capability to assist High Impact Service Providers (HISPs).
The December Customer Experience (CX) Executive Order directed the GSA to support HISPs like USA.gov, which official Robin Carnahan wants to redesign as a “digital federal front door” to government benefits, services, and programs.
“We plan to intuitively organize the homepage based on life events,” Walters said during an ACT-IAC virtual event on Thursday.
He added that shared services will be organized around major experiences such as natural disasters or job loss while trying to avoid people who search for them via Google.
Walters said that multidisciplinary teams will do this work with other HISPs, not just integrating agency websites but inventorying them and working with senior leaders at agencies to improve them.
“The scale of our digital ecosystem is definitely frustrating people,” he said.
GSA stripped its website administrators alone for the first time and found it had 238 sites, 128 of which were for information; 56 top-level domains such as GSA.gov and CIO.gov; and 29 distinct login experiences.
For this reason, the agency also formed an interagency digital board and a digital customer experience executive board last year in order to handle a similar issuance at the government level.
Princess Boland, federal customer experience lead at the Office of Management and Budget, said an employer organization that has promoted customer experience as an important part of government is “my dream EO” because it hasn’t cut any major orders from customer experience experts.
“We have of course Section 4 which contains all of these concrete near-term commitments around specific services and accomplishments,” Poland said. “And the fact is that the core of all of this EO is a lot of bureaucratic, behind-the-scenes, non-exciting stuff, and that’s clearly backed up and included and recognized for being important — making clearer decisions when interagency power is unclear.”
Instead of asking for 80% confidence in government across all services, five-minute call waiting times across the board or consolidated account updates across all government sites — all long-term goals — the Ethics Office simply asks agencies to identify their customers, services and whether they are us . Answering those questions, Poland said, will leave the agencies in a “better place.”
It added that moving forward would require legal and legislative measures such as the passage of the Public Service Trust Act (TIPs). The TIPS Act includes language that gives an OMB office manager flexibility to move funds between agencies when, for example, a HISP that serves multiple client groups across agencies is doing well.
Boland said that while there is fear in government about increasing central budgets, there is also a need to bolster central capabilities and talent who do good design work for clients.
“It’s something that I think Congress can support as well,” she said.