Two Keys to Delivering Exceptional Citizen Experiences

da-kuk/iStock.com

The infrastructures many government agencies had in 2019 weren’t built to handle the amount of traffic organizations experienced during the pandemic.

The events of 2020 made it clear that delivering a good customer experience to citizens isn’t just preferable, but necessary if federal, state, and local agencies are to achieve their public service objectives. The pandemic caused disruption among many services, particularly at the state and local levels, requiring agencies to scramble to modernize and ramp up their digital transformation efforts in a short period of time. 

Now, the federal government is accelerating efforts to make information about vaccinations and payment protection loans easily available, and state agencies are striving to streamline access to unemployment benefits and other services. All of this is being done while many people are still working and living remotely, without easy access to in-person services. 

As these efforts ramp up, agencies must implement strategies that allow them to deliver a fast and reliable user experience. Let’s take a look at two key strategies agencies should embrace as they seek to deliver exceptional citizen experiences in 2021 and beyond. 

Augment IT infrastructures to meet fluctuating demands

The infrastructures many government agencies had in 2019 weren’t built to handle the amount of traffic organizations experienced during the pandemic. Consider how visits to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and IRS sites increased dramatically last year. While this level of activity is unlikely to continue as we emerge from the pandemic, citizens have certainly become accustomed to interacting with agencies online, and organizations need to be prepared.

Migrating infrastructure to the cloud is a good and necessary first step. The cloud provides significant scalability, flexibility, and security advantages over traditional network infrastructures. Many agencies were already on that path prior to the pandemic and accelerated their efforts in 2020. Those efforts must continue in the months and years ahead.

As those efforts continue, agencies should also carefully monitor network traffic and performance, including application response times and availability. This will allow IT managers to identify potential bandwidth concerns and bottlenecks as they occur, or even make adjustments to address predictable traffic spikes (such as around Tax Day, after the issuance of new COVID-19 guidance, or during the health care open enrollment period). They can then proactively tackle these issues to ensure their services continue to run smoothly and deliver the experiences citizens expect. 

Implement modern application development methods and embrace emerging technologies

When agencies think about emerging technologies they tend to focus on things like artificial intelligence and machine learning. And while those technologies are certainly important and will become increasingly prevalent in the months and years ahead, there are other options, including software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WANs) and containers, that agencies should consider as they accelerate the pace at which they introduce new services to their constituents.

SD-WANs are abstracted from traditional network hardware. They provide administrators with great visibility into application performance and the ability to easily prioritize data traffic for certain types of applications (for example, bandwidth-heavy services involving video can receive more resources as needed). 

Containers are open-source technologies that allow developers to abstract applications from their runtime environments while packaging applications with all of their necessary components, including storage and data elements. Containers are highly portable and can be easily moved between environments, which allows their applications to be developed and deployed very quickly. Indeed, agencies that are interested in expediting the delivery of new applications and services should certainly consider container technology.

Of course, as government agencies begin to implement these technologies, they’ll need employees to manage them. That hasn’t always been easy in the public sector, which still tends to lose out on talent to the private sector due to concerns over compensation. But recent studies have indicated that employees are being driven more by a desire for flexibility or better workplace benefits. There may be opportunities here for government agencies to compete in these areas and attract the talent required to take their citizen services to the next level.

Moving to that next level will become increasingly important in our technology-savvy society. Everyday citizens use iPhones, shop on Amazon, and watch Netflix. They expect all of these things to just work. Now, they expect the same from their government agencies. No one wants to sign onto a federal or state and local website and have their request time out after 20 minutes. 

To keep this from happening, agencies must invest in modern infrastructures, technologies and methodologies. This investment will allow them to deliver reliable, fast, and exceptional citizen experiences. 

Brandon Shopp is vice president of product strategy at SolarWinds.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.