The Digital Agency: How CIOs are Marrying Analytics and Applications

Agencies are moving toward agile or dev/ops and the cloud to help address the technology side of citizen services. Both technologies offer agencies the ability ...

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Over the last 15 years, both the Bush and Obama administrations have aggressively sought to change the way agencies interact with citizens.

In the mid-2000s, we learned the phrase three clicks to service, meaning it shouldn’t take a citizen more than three clicks of the mouse to find what they are looking for on a government website.

In April 2011 President Obama issued an Executive Order requiring each agency to develop a customer service plan that identified implementation steps for their customer service activities, including a “signature initiative” that uses technology to improve the customer experience.

One such initiative is, which is led by the General Services Administration and includes the State Department, the Social Security Administration and the Transportation Security Administration. The goal of the site is let citizens provide feedback on passport processing or social security card centers and eventually about airport security through a single tap of a kiosk button.

Agencies can then use that data to make improvements to their processes to better serve citizens.

GSA’s Office of Citizen Services developed the digital analytics program to provide real-time feedback on websites citizens are visiting The portal lets agencies collect, analyze, and report on a minimum baseline set of performance and customer satisfaction measures, including web performance, usability and social media.

But the federal effort to improve citizen services is more than just portals and tools, it’s using the data to make better decisions.

A recent report from the Partnership for Public Service and Accenture found many agency leaders have incomplete or outdated data that were not useful in identifying the cause of customer problems. And even when agencies have the right data, many struggle to analyze it in a way that’s valuable because the tools are not good enough.

On top of the data and tools, the approaches for developing software to connect with citizens or understand their needs are changing as well.

Agencies are moving toward agile or dev/ops and the cloud to help address the technology side of citizen services. Both technologies offer agencies the ability to improve services in near real time based on that feedback.



Mark Schwartz photoMark Schwartz, Chief Information Officer, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Mark Schwartz is the chief information officer of USCIS. One of his key goals is to increase the organization’s responsiveness to mission needs by reducing time from concept to deployment for new capabilities. To support this goal, Schwartz has introduced such practices as Agile and Lean Development, Continuous Delivery and DevOps. He also leads efforts across DHS to introduce Agile information technology approaches.

In 2015, Schwartz received the AFFIRM award for Leadership in Technology Innovation and an Amazon Elite 100 award. Before this position, Schwartz was the CIO of Intrax Cultural Exchange, where his innovative Family Room application drove dramatic market share, revenue and profit growth. In 2006, CIO Magazine recognized this accomplishment with a CIO 100 award. In 2010, he was named one of the Premier 100 IT Leaders by Computerworld Magazine.

Schwartz holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from Yale University, a Master of Arts in Philosophy from Yale University, and an Master of Business Administration from Wharton.


Joe Welsh photoJoe Welsh, Director, Public Sector Sales, New Relic

Joe Welsh joined New Relic as the Director of Public Sector Sales in November 2015 to oversee all state, local and federal sales. Prior to New Relic, Joe led Adobe in 75% revenue growth as the Vice President of Federal Sales including Public Sector Inside sales. In his nearly eleven-year tenure at Adobe, Joe led double-digit growth in various positions including Director of Public Sector Partners and Director of Enterprise Civilian Sales. Prior to Adobe, Joe Welsh was a Regional Manager at Oracle for nine years. He’s a graduate of Towson University with a degree in Sports Communications.

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