Insight by Docusign

Workplace Reimagined: DocuSign’s Michael “MJ” Jackson on digital transformation

A recent survey found 69% of workers say it’s important for them to be able to choose whether they work in person, remotely or hybrid. At the same time, 60% of senior leaders say they want employees to work remotely and 40% should split time in the office and at home.

But no matter where government employees work today or in the future, the hybrid workplace must be as secure as it is flexible.

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A recent survey found 69% of workers say it’s important for them to be able to choose whether they work in person, remotely or hybrid. At the same time, 60% of senior leaders say they want employees to work remotely and 40% should split time in the office and at home.

But no matter where government employees work today or in the future, the hybrid workplace must be as secure as it is flexible.

Michael “MJ” Jackson, vice president and global head of industries at DocuSign, said federal agencies, in particular, must maintain the highest levels of confidentiality, privacy and security — perhaps even higher than private sector organizations.

“There needs to be trust in the data itself, that it has not been modified or changed in any way. But then individuals need their credentials to be verified and continuously validated,” Jackson told Federal News Network during Workplace Reimagined. “That gets back to the zero trust architecture and the security of the data itself. Then there’s managing access to that data and ensuring that we don’t have bad actors accessing the data through nefarious means.”

Having all data encrypted and secured is a foundational requirement, he said.

Connecting data, processes

To create this foundation, agencies need to move toward zero trust architectures and take advantage of platforms that rely on application programming interfaces (APIs) to connect data and processes.

“You’re not going to find the solution in a single platform or a single solution,” said Jackson, reiterating this common zero trust principle.

Ultimately, the need for collaboration often becomes the central focus of the aspirational goals that agencies have for improving both the workplace for their employees and services for the nation’s citizens, Jackson said.

“Bringing parties together, whether it’s sharing data, sharing a desired outcome or coordinating care around the patient, it all comes back to enabling multiple stakeholders to establish these partnerships, to establish trust along the way, because a partnership is nothing without trust,” he said. “To enable them to enact, you have to leverage artificial intelligence to accurately assess risk before they sign a document as well as manage obligations of the multiple parties downstream after they sign it. So understanding the processes in the workflow, understanding how that uniquely applies to our federal government agencies is paramount.”

Jackson said that although federal employees want to provide improved experiences and optimize their services to constituents, there’s also a need to quantify the value to be realized by streamlining processes and optimizing workflows.

That need coupled with the need for collaboration adds another layer of complexity. “When you look at collaboration, it could lead to the secure automation as you establish partnerships — interagency, intra-agency, private-public partnerships — but also things as simple as version control, ensuring that multiple stakeholders have access to the same data that is encrypted in motion and at rest.”

Breaking the status quo in government workflows

One way to create that collaboration is to look for simple and quick wins as agencies rethink and reform their internal and external processes.

Jackson cited the use of digital signatures, which many agencies began using more widely during the pandemic, is a good example.

“The biggest competitor to change is the status quo. Along with that status quo comes a cost — a cost to doing nothing, just doing business as usual. There is a sunken cost and opportunity costs,” he said. “If we are able to tangibly quantify that cost, both in terms of lost hours and experience for the constituent as well as costs to the agency, we’re able to gain executive level sponsorship for these types of initiatives. That’s when we really see the magic start to happen.”

Jackson highlighted work DocuSign has done with the Health Resources and Services Administration to improve human resources processes and how HRSA onboards new employees.

“Suddenly, the world came to a crashing halt with the pandemic a couple of years ago. But because they already had an authority to operate for those HR processes, they were able to quickly pivot and distribute billions of dollars in funds as it relates to the Provider Relief Fund,” he said. “HRSA, because they already had their toe in that digital transformation process, they were able to leverage a lot of the technologies, a lot of the back-end processes and quickly pivot.”

The lessoned learn? The use of no-code and low-code platforms let agencies be responsive without impacting the entire back-end infrastructure, he said.

Jackson said technology, of course, is the tool to digitally transform process, workflows and, in the end, customer experience.

“The way we define experience, it’s really a two-sided coin. There’s obviously the need to improve engagement, whether it’s through accessibility or just by providing an intuitive, immersive, engaging experience,” Jackson said. “But on the flipside of that coin, there’s also an opportunity to deliver value propositions for agencies as well. The value proposition of an improved experience is a win-win. What I mean by that is, agencies are often able to streamline processes, automate workflows and reduce errors that are related to manual data entry. Those are all byproducts of an improved experience.”

Listen to and watch other sessions from Federal News Network’s Workplace Reimagined event.