By Cortney Steiner, VP Citizen Experience Solutions, Carahsoft
The recently passed 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (IDEA), in conjunction with last year’s Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act, clearly demonstrates that the federal government has made a firm, tangible, and bipartisan commitment to improving digital service delivery to the public.
The legislation directs agencies to improve the usability and reliability of our Federal government’s digital services by closing the technology gap between government and the private sector to improve citizen experience across five core areas: website modernization, digitization of government services and forms, electronic signatures, customer experience, and standardization.
Over time, the public can expect to see dramatic improvements in the way they interact with the government. As agencies implement the mandates laid out in the 21st Century IDEA legislation, the gap between their experience with private-sector companies and public institutions should narrow. Here are just a few ways the 21st Century IDEA will have an impact.
Transforming the Customer Experience
The 21st Century IDEA asks agencies to look holistically at their public-facing digital assets. In effect, they’re being directed to conduct an audit of existing websites and digital services. Specifically, they have a year from the legislation’s enactment to report back to Congress on which sites and services are most-used and/or critical for public engagement. Moreover, they’re required to prioritize the sites most in need of modernization, along with the costs necessary to accomplish modernization and, notably, a timeline for achieving modernization.
These are the first steps to a complete and total transformation of the customer experience. The 21st Century IDEA establishes a starting point and makes clear the emphasis on citizen-satisfaction. Moving forward, agencies will encounter tremendous opportunities to study and improve on private sector models. Ultimately, citizens will enjoy the benefits of their creative solutions.
Focusing on Accessibility
With its focus on the customer experience, the 21st Century IDEA is a benefit for agencies eager to make services more accessible. Within two years from the legislation’s enactment, agencies must ensure that any form or process used to serve the public also be available as a digital option. This doesn’t signal the end of paper; it means that constituents will have more control over how and when they interact with agencies.
Creating Accountability and Transparency
Built into the 21st Century IDEA are several mandates designed to create accountability and transparency. For instance, it calls on the Chief Information Officer of each executive agency to ensure the funding and implementation of the Act. Yet, the details are left to individual agencies.
The 21st Century IDEA is a truly aspirational and transformative piece of legislation. It gives agencies a firm statutory basis for putting the customer front-and-center, with an aim to transform digital experiences and positively impact the relationship between government and citizens.
Carahsoft Technology Corp., The Trusted Government IT Solutions Provider®, and its ecosystem of reseller partners and integrators, offer a large portfolio of software, services and expertise to enable the transformation outlined in the IDEA, from cloud computing, electronic signatures, to digitized services and forms plus many more, providing opportunities for true innovation that didn’t exist before.