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5 Lessons From a Former Agency Customer Experience Leader

By Stephanie Thum // February 10, 2017

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Stephanie Thum is the former vice president of customer experience at the Export-Import Bank of the United States. She is currently practice director, customer experience and analytics, at Capitol Management Consulting Services. Follow her on Twitter: @stephaniethum.

"I understand what you did, but how did you do that?"

I hear this question occasionally when people ask about my past life as the head of customer experience for a federal government agency. For four years, I was the vice president of customer experience at the EXIM Bank, an agency that finances and insures U.S. exports toward the creation of U.S. jobs.

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During my time at EXIM, the bank managed a $107 billion portfolio of transactions. My role was new, and I was part of the agency's senior leadership team. At one point, the bank was, in effect, shut down for several months, causing a stoppage of service to the agency's customers. Interesting times, for sure!

"How?" is a question I really appreciate because, specifically in government, we now have a portfolio of case studies outlining the who, what, why, when and...

Why Don’t We See More Automation in Federal Networks?

By John Breeden II // February 8, 2017

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John Breeden II is an award-winning journalist and reviewer with over 20 years of experience covering technology and government. He is currently the CEO of the Tech Writers Bureau, a group that creates technological thought leadership content for organizations of all sizes. Twitter: @LabGuys

Over the past few months, I was fortunate enough to be asked to evaluate several cutting-edge technologies designed to make government networks more secure. Some of these were more advanced than others, and a few were hindered by newer technologies like cloud computing. But they all showed a great deal of promise for the federal government if deployed correctly.

One of the most interesting possibilities is creating an event-driven architecture to add automation to the federal defensive arsenal. Given a single router can generate over 100,000 data points every few seconds, any network of any size quickly grows beyond the ability for even teams of humans to protect 100 percent effectively. There is just too much data and not enough analysts.

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Attackers know this, and use all that data as cover to remain undetected once they breach a network...

How Digital Services Engagement Centers Play a Crucial Role in Customer Experience

By Martha Dorris // February 7, 2017

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Martha Dorris is the founder of Dorris Consulting International, focused on delivering an outstanding experience to the public when interacting with or accessing government services. She provides strategic advice to both governments worldwide and private-sector companies on customer experience.

As federal agencies transform digital services, they must ensure customers are satisfied with the entire journey, not just individual touch points. It’s possible to provide a good experience channel by channel but not deliver great a customer experience. That’s where digital services engagement centers come in.

DSECS serve as the connective tissue between all channels. They are at the center of engaging customers, understanding their needs and solving citizens’ problems using many available channels. DSECs maintain the knowledge base that provides answers through the website, the phone, emails, texts and chats.

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DSECs monitor the pulse of customers. They are the key source of information about what is driving customer demand, such as hot topics and customer feedback. This data is—or should be—fed real time to web content teams so websites and frequently asked questions can be updated continuously to meet changing...

Modernizing Government IT—By Looking to the Private Sector

By Orion Hindawi // February 3, 2017

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Orion Hindawi is CEO of Tanium, which he founded in 2007.

From making our vehicles safer to accelerating disease research and allowing our businesses to operate more efficiently, new technology is revolutionizing nearly every aspect of our lives. Yet, while we are living in the world of the iPhone 7, federal procurement rules mean that government agencies we rely on often are forced to operate in the world of the Apple II.

Despite being the largest purchase of IT in the world (at approximately $78 billion a year), the federal government uses technology that remains outdated and inefficient. No private-sector business could compete trying to use the IT systems we’re relying on for vital government operations.

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As the country looks to a new president and Congress, it’s time to modernize the technology they—and the millions of federal employees—are using. That begins with a simple change in mindset: We need to stop pretending the federal government is different from the commercial space.

Because of this misguided thinking, we are wasting millions of dollars maintaining and purchasing outdated and inadequate technology that...

Make 2017 the Year of a Digital-First Federal Government

By Dan Helfrich // February 2, 2017

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Dan Helfrich is a principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP and federal government services leader.

When a new administration begins, the only constant is change. While incoming agency leaders and policy details continue to be confirmed and ironed out, one thing that’s clear is the need for a digital-first government in order to create more efficiency, enable mission delivery and connect with citizens.

According to John Breeden II, a Nextgov columnist and CEO of the Tech Writers Bureau, federal technology trends in 2017 will run the gamut of topics, ranging from artificial intelligence to internet of things to blockchain to endpoint security. How can the federal government take advantage of these tech trends? The first step is by fulling embracing a digital-first mindset.

We Live in a Digital-First World

The importance of a digital-first government struck me recently when I came across this quote from Apple’s Angela Ahrendts: “I grew up in a physical world, and I speak English. The next generation is growing up in a digital world, and they speak social.”

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The youngest generation is growing up in a digital world...

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