Greg Reeder, the head of government industry strategy at Adobe, said data analytics holds the key to improve the citizen experience with government.
The public’s satisfaction with the federal government is growing. Just look at the 2016 report by the American Customer Service Index (ACSI). It says citizen were happier with federal websites and the services they provide more last year than at any other time since 2012.
Survey respondents credited the improvements around things like the timeliness and efficiency of processes as well as the clarity and accessibility of the information received from agencies.
The biggest increase came in the quality of federal websites. ACSI says the increased importance of e-government to the delivery of services across the federal government helps explain citizens’ greater satisfaction with government in 2016.
The departments of Interior and State scored the highest on ASCI’s index while the Treasury Department was by far the lowest scoring cabinet agency.
But customer service is more than just getting good scores on surveys. It’s also about streamlining data and transactions, developing metrics and tracking them and improving online services by making them mobile friendly and taking advantage of new and emerging technology like artificial intelligence.
The technology and data are central to understanding the customer journey. So how do all of these things fit together?
Greg Reeder, the head of government industry strategy at Adobe, said the “law of expectations” means customer expectations change annually, and agencies must adjust to that new paradigm.
“Now, what we call the experience wave is what’s most important, finding a better way to connect, personalize and understand who we are talking to and make the government or the business transparent to the citizen, so they have a better experience,” Reeder said on the Innovation in Government show. “With the addition of new technology, speed of transactions, as well as the ability to use analytics and predictive algorithms to understand people better, raises the bar on what people expect. It also raises the opportunity for savings in the case of the government. If you can make an experience more interactive; more responsive, with more advocates and loyal citizens, then you will have better outcomes, better data and better responses.”
Reeder said data analytics holds the key to improving the citizen experience with government. He said the old thinking about impact around metrics such as website hits or visitors is all about ego instead of action.
“To be able to understand those analytics now, you have to know what the end goal is,” he said. “You don’t know about data and analytics until you dig into them. Still today, there is a lot of emphasis placed on vanity metrics instead of action metrics.”
Action metrics depend on the problem the agency wants to solve.
“Analytics can go in so many different ways. Most people think about it as Web analytics, hits and what kind of mobile devices are requesting it, what region or state are they coming from, how long do they spend on a page, but it can go even deeper. It can go into the actual object itself, into the image itself,” Reeder said. “It’s not only understanding, but being able to deliver that experience at scale. It has a lot to do with relying on the analytics decide what the best experience is for the user based on predictive analytics; understanding the algorithms behind human behavior.”
Reeder said a good example of this is how companies let customers personalize their experiences when they come to a website.
He said most government websites are a group of links and the most used object on the site is probably the search bar, because information isn’t easy to find.
“Analytics play a big role in making sure they [government web managers] understand what type of person is visiting and where visitors are coming from,” Reeder said. “Did they just search ‘how do I get a job in Tennessee?’ Maybe we should present a page with job posting right up front and change the information dynamically, at the last millisecond, like commercial sites do today.”
Reeder said machine learning and artificial intelligence will play a big role in helping agencies move toward predictive analytics and building a better form.
He said Adobe has put millions of forms in a machine learning environment to help better understand converting paper and flat forms into a dynamic one.
“We can understand the logic, the structure, the font, the paragraphs and even the back-end logic the form connects to — and it can do it at scale,” Reeder said.
Reeder said the final piece to improving customer experience is around content security. He said organizations are applying digital rights management software to protect against data leaks, continuous monitoring of data to ensure it’s not changed or stolen and identity-based access controls to limit who has the ability to read and write against the database.
A new generation of government services is now in session. As the world becomes more digital, citizens expect to have engaging interactions on every device. That’s why Adobe helps governments create amazing experiences. We help you build great content faster and deliver it across every channel – all while keeping your data secure.
Jason Miller is a reporter whose work focuses mainly on technology and procurement issues, including cybersecurity, e-government and acquisition policies and programs.
Greg Reeder, Head of Government Industry, Adobe
Greg Reeder heads Government Industry Strategy at Adobe. His role involves helping government identify solutions and ideas that address technology challenges — ranging from digital transformation to outreach & engagement, analytics to mobile development, and operational efficiency to content personalization.
Greg has led teams as a U.S. Marine, as well as teams within commercial enterprises. He’s served as a Federal government executive, an advisor to non-profits, and as a digital technology leader in government and commercial industries.
For more than two decades he has been directly responsible for information technology management, digital strategy, quality engineering, mobile apps, and web development. He has led the charge to institute organization-wide changes for: Web standards, content management, social media innovation and creative production inside organizations, across government and for the Department of Defense.