Federal Push for Omnichannel Experiences to Deliver Modern Public Service


An omnichannel experience is more than plugging texts, email or video communications into a program.

As the Biden administration sets its sights on the next phase of customer experience enhancement across public services and workforces, the government is taking action to embrace the omnichannel secret sauce fueling the most innovative companies and making them easier for agencies to buy and build. 

First, the new federal chief information officer, Clare Martorana, recently said in an interview with Nextgov that, along with a new IT modernization plan for agencies, guidance will push agencies to provide a more “360-degree, omnichannel experience” for users. 

Next, the General Services Administration released a request for information for industry feedback on Government-wide Cloud Acquisition Strategy. For the first time, this strategy will include the consumption-based cloud services model common to omnichannel communications that will make these new capabilities easier and more efficient to procure.  

Now, a new White House executive order on diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in the federal workforce mandates the need for all federal workplaces and communication technologies to be fully accessible. This is a heightened and long-needed standard that only omnichannel experiences can help provide. 

A groundshift is occurring in IT modernization right in front of us, and it raises the questions: what are these omnichannel experiences, and why do they matter so much to the future of public service delivery and workforce development?

When you think about the best customer services available from the most innovative companies—hailing a rideshare, shopping online, booking a vacation rental, browsing online media or all the other frictionless experiences we compare public services to every day—omnichannel communications are what empowers those experiences. 

It’s not just individually plugging in SMS, email or video communications into a program. Be it for a national contact center to access benefits straight-from-the-source amidst a growing tide of misinformation; an in-house self-help desk to empower the new hybrid government workforce with seamless, secure collaboration; or extending the new digital government into the physical space itself with unmatched internet-of-things connectivity for resource management—the omnichannel approach empowers the user to choose which means of communication is best for them. 

As a result, there are more options and opportunities for all individuals regarding better access, equity, responsiveness and an overall better experience.

So now, the push to make omnichannel communications easier to understand, buy and deploy amongst public services becomes clear: it’s a renewed pursuit of the "anytime, anywhere, and on any device" approach to digital government, now with the addition of "for anyone."

With omnichannel communications, our public services can finally stand side-by-side with the most innovative companies providing the best customer experiences and know they are providing the same. 

Justin Herman is global head of public sector for Twilio.