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How Government Can Improve the Customer Experience

By Karen Terrell // October 31, 2016

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Karen Terrell is vice president of federal at SAS.

Unlike hotels and restaurants, government agencies do not depend on the satisfaction of their “clients” to stay in business. As it turns out, government is lucky that’s the case.

According to Forrester Research’s Customer Experience Index, the federal government finished last among 21 major industries when it came to customer experience. Government even fell behind industry segments notorious for poor customer service, such as airlines and cable providers.

Given the Obama administration made improving customer service a priority, it is a bit puzzling agency efforts have yet to yield widespread results. Of the 319 brands Forrester ranked, five of the bottom eight came from the federal government.

While some agencies have made notable strides in improving their customer experience, the government as a whole clearly has not. So what can be done to tip the scales on customer satisfaction?

Look to Commercial Best Practices

Rating the government on customer experience is difficult given the wide-ranging missions and areas of support to the citizen. And quite frankly, agencies probably lack the tools, budget or expertise to make this a priority. The industries with the best customer service rely heavily on...

Makeup of Region’s Cyber Ecosystem Offers Clues to Where More Investments are Needed

By Michael Hoffman // October 28, 2016

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Michael Hoffman is executive editor and director of marketing at Tandem National Security Innovations.

The federal government’s effort to protect its digital networks depends on the greater Washington’s cybersecurity industry for support, but a recent census shows that ecosystem could be at risk because of a preponderance of services and solutions companies versus products companies operating near the nation’s capital.

A census of the cybersecurity industry done by Tandem National Security Innovations found nearly 1,000 cybersecurity companies operating in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. However, only 5 percent of those companies focused solely on building cybersecurity products. The majority of the companies on the TandemNSI Cybersecurity Industry List provide consulting services and solutions.

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This is important because the U.S. government admittedly needs help protecting the nation’s digital infrastructure. Last week’s distributed denial-of-service attack that shut down a wide range of popular websites like Twitter, Etsy and Spotify is the latest large-scale cyberattack to hit the nation.

The government is not geographically restricted to local cybersecurity firms. But federal procurement data shows at least half of the cybersecurity...

4 Key Areas to Consider When Solving the Cybersecurity Talent Gap

By Steve Kirk // October 26, 2016

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Steve Kirk is vice president of federal at Fortinet. He is a cybersecurity professional with 17 years of experience, 11 of them with Fortinet. Prior to Fortinet, he worked for network security company Secure Computing, 3Com and Foundry. Kirk has 26 years of experience supporting the U.S. federal sector. He is a graduate of Radford University.

Findings from the “2015 PwC US State of Cybercrime Survey” revealed that only 26 percent of those surveyed feel they have the expertise to address cyber risks associated with implementation of new technologies. This means 74 percent of organizations—essentially three-quarters—don’t have the cybersecurity talent they need.

This is the known quantity of the security talent gap. The unknown quantity is the solution to this gap. Why? Because the scope of the challenge is broad and growing, it requires a broadening range of skill sets that are known but also unknown.

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This is a significant challenge for the public sector. At one point, and not just in the cybersecurity arena, but in multiple other areas of expertise such as law, medicine, engineering etc., the public...

7 Tips to Best Secure Your Agency’s Digital Transformation Efforts

By Chris Borneman // October 21, 2016

Maksim Kabakou/Shutterstock.com

Chris Borneman is vice president of Software AG Government Solutions. With over 20 years in technology and having held CTO, CIO and COO roles for multiple organizations, Chris has focused his career on delivering value to business through technology and building strong relationships.

As citizens and businesses increasingly prefer to interact with the government online, the need for digital change at federal agencies is imminent. With that said, any digital transformation effort needs to ensure the security and integrity of the underlying systems and their integration interfaces must be solidly intact and scalable.  

One needs look no further than the 2015 Office of Personnel Management data breach for an example of how poor data integration led to massive security vulnerabilities. In addition to the risk of data escaping, new unauthorized data coming in must be protected as well. Even with so many advances, for many agencies, data manipulation through network intrusion is a top concern.

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The availability of our systems should be treated with the same level of care as we invest in our security. As we transition to mobile digital approaches, our capacity...

Automating the Citizen Experience in Government

By Teresa A. Weipert // October 20, 2016

Mathias Rosenthal/Shutterstock.com

Teresa A. Weipert is senior vice president, Sutherland Government Solutions, a unit of Sutherland Global Services.

Last year at the annual World Economic Forum meeting in DAVOS, a pronouncement was made that the value of digital transformation—for society and the IT industry combined—could be greater than $100 trillion by 2025. That’s a staggering number!

Included in that transformation are digital technologies and cloud-based platforms, as well as analytics, sensors, mobile solutions and a new wave of automation that affects all industries and vertical markets, including financial, energy, security, communications and health.

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While they may be early in their life cycles, all of these technologies already are making their mark on societies, economies and people’s lives.

But with the emergence of the digital era come expectations of accountability, transparency and service. Because industry has been the original catalyst for this transformation, companies have come to recognize the importance of customer experiences in the digital marketplace. Customers want to be informed, and they seek real-time interaction, real-time results.

Delivering excellent customer service requires using newer technologies, integrating existing tools and platforms, and...

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