Three imperatives for federal agencies to capitalize on digital trends

A new study of federal employees reveals significant hurdles to digital transformation – as well as real opportunities for improved user experience and employee engagement.
digital trends

While government can use new technology in transformational ways, a new report suggests agencies should focus on user experience, stakeholder engagement and deep analytics. Current digital trends focus more on addressing the needs of citizens and achieving more productive outcomes.

The report explored ways agencies might achieve more effective results, based on findings from a new survey of 500 federal employees. Among other conclusions, the study suggests agencies face three imperatives:

  • Create a culture of innovation that supports iterative, ongoing progress.
  • Prioritize the citizen experience.
  • Implement an integrated approach to digital transformation.

The report, “2018 Federal Digital Trends: Landing the Next Moonshot,” released by ICF, points to a number of challenges federal employees face trying to find new or better ways to serve the public.

Nearly 90 percent of respondents said security and privacy requirements significantly delay technological innovation, with over half reporting that they or their agency had experienced a cybersecurity incident after implementing a new digital initiative.

An equal proportion of respondents felt that the federal IT procurement process should be completely overhauled.

Virtually all respondents (97 percent) agreed government agencies “have a greater responsibility than ever to provide the digital tools and services that will make a positive difference in citizens’ lives.”

A majority of federal employees, however, also voiced strong concerns that agencies are prioritizing back-end technology ahead of citizen experience.

Nine in 10 respondents believe their agency “needs to spend more time on improving the usability of technology, as opposed to the development of the technology itself.”

The report urges agencies to develop an integrated approach to digital transformation, involving every department — including human resources — to “understand the needs of the entire organization, internalize new solutions, and train employees on both hard and soft skills.” Empowering and hiring individuals with soft skills, not just technical ones, can help agencies deliver more usable and effective digital technology solutions.

Read the report, “2018 Federal Digital Trends: Landing the Next Moonshot” to dig deeper into the challenges of stakeholder engagement.

This article was produced by FedScoop for, and sponsored by, ICF.

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