No one wants to fall behind the times, and governments are no exception. Unfortunately, many agencies are finding they cannot provide the same quality as today’s top companies. Unlike the private-sector’s best businesses, much of the public sector is neither modern nor provides an enjoyable customer experience (CX).
Cloud computing may be the answer. The cloud offers computer system resources like data storage on-demand; gradually, the result is faster, more flexible agencies. Using cloud to modernize their products and services, agencies can deliver a more pleasing CX to their employees and constituents more quickly.
So, why are some agencies struggling to adopt the cloud? Although beneficial, embracing the cloud is not as simple as flicking a switch. Cloud adoption is not only about modernizing technology – it’s also about training employees and modernizing processes.
On Wednesday, three government thought leaders spoke during GovLoop’s latest virtual event, which was sponsored by Citrix, a cloud computing software provider. They were:
- Robert Leahy, Chief Information Officer (CIO) and the Director of the Information Technology and Communications Division (ITCD) at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC).
- Robert Dorr, Executive Director of the Homeland Security Department’s (DHS) Business Management Directorate in the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO).
- Margaret Brisbane, CIO and Director of the Information Technology Department, Miami-Dade County, Florida.
The group detailed three ways agencies can successfully modernize their operations using cloud and recent federal funding prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic:
Standardize the User Experience
Modernization may require agencies to provide the same user experience (UX) to both their employees and their constituents. Nowadays, both parties may use the same public-sector offerings either in-person or digitally.
“It is not one size fits all,” Brisbane said of UX. “We need to ensure all their experiences are similar and they can be productive.”
Standardizing UX with the cloud provides more consistent, satisfying encounters between agencies’ products and services and the people using them.
Agencies cannot forget security during modernization, or they may jeopardize their sensitive citizen data. Security is thus the cornerstone of any successful cloud adoption.
“It’s on the top of everybody’s list,” Leahy said. “A big part of modernization is making sure what we do is safe and secure.”
Agencies that do not consider security during modernization may suffer costly disruptions that damage public trust in their work.
Make Modernization Relatable
People sometimes resist change if they do not understand its benefits. As a result, explaining why modernization efforts such as cloud adoption are valuable can make these ventures successful.
“We can sometimes get bogged down in IT speak,” Leahy said. “How does this impact the organization’s mission and its customers?”
Addressing that question for an agency’s leaders can generate the goodwill needed to get modernization efforts like cloud migration off the ground.
The Last Word
According to Brisbane, change management can become a major barrier to modernization. For example, she cited how Miami-Dade County recently helped its workforce adjust to a new cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform.
“There is quite a lot of education we do here on any change in technology,” she said. “Having people very engaged in the change is essential.”
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